Friday, July 18, 2008

The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron

The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron is the fictional biography of a slave that led a revolt in the southern US in 1834. I read this for the Southern Reading Challenge. I could rail against Canada Post for a couple of paragraphs but instead I'll get to the review.

Turner narrates his story during his trial through a series of flashbacks. They show how he became radicalized and decided to carry out his racial genocide against the whites. Wrapped up in this is the curious fact that he only committed one murder personally. Styron gave himself an interesting challenge, to portray a religious zealot who wants to kill all white people including women and children but at the same time make him sympathetic. He actually succeeds at least for me.

This was rather controversial when first published I'm not sure how it's considered today. Styron freely admits that there are no good contemporary sources for Turner's life so he takes liberties. Turner also has a homosexual experience which seems to come somewhat out of left field.

This book was a little unusual considering what I usually read that being said I will probably pick up more by Styron.

Recommended.

Is available through Abebooks.

1 comment:

____Maggie said...

Thanks Jmnlman! I haven't read Styron yet and when I do this will be the first! Hope your summer is going well! Almost over for us, since I have to go back to work in August. :(