William Styron is one of the best writers of the 20th century. Every word is parsed. Every sentence passes the test of strategy. This is a great work, but over the years I have found that the alcoholism of Cass Kinsolving becomes tiresome way before the end. Francesca wears out her credibility. Nevertheless, if you want a classic great novel that is highly readable, pick this.
Immediately impressive...the sense of the striking scene...the fine ear for dialogue, the sharp observation of cities and scenery and interiors."
-- The New York Times Book Review
Three Americans converge in an Italian village shortly after World War II. One is a naive Southern lawyer. One is a rough-edged artist with a fatal penchant for alcohol. And one is a charming and priapic aristocrat who may be the closest thing possible to pure wickedness in an age that has banished the devil along with God. Out of their collective alchemy William Styron has crafted an electrifying and deeply unsettling novel of rape, murder, and suicide -- a work with a Dostoevskian insight into the dreadful persuasiveness of evil.