This is a post in my 50 Nifty series, in which I’m reading through 50 books that embody each of the 50 United States. Find out why I’m doing this and which books I’m reading when (so you can read along) by checking out my first 50Nifty post, or else browse all 50Nifty posts by clicking here!
The Confessions of Nat Turner, William Styron
I just finished this book, and while difficult to read at times, I very much appreciated the historical novel. It is told from the perspective of Nat Turner, a black man in Virginia who led a slave uprising in 1831. Aside from the controversy of a white man being the one to write the best-known account of such a famous black man, I felt Styron treated Nat Turner favorably and attempted to make the character as round as he could given the information at his disposal. The account drew my sympathies (and my tears, even) and while at the beginning I was tempted to skim through it, I’m glad I didn’t. This is another Pulitzer winner (1968), and the writing does so much to make the characters and places come to life.
Speaking of places coming to life, this was a perfect book for the 50nifty list. This story encompassed so much of the confusion surrounding the issue of slavery that was playing out in Virginia around the time of the uprising. The descriptions of the land—and especially the weather—were so vivid I felt I could accurately picture it in my mind. This book could not have been about a different place or time, and I wish I felt so strongly about all the books on the list.
Speaking of the list,* although this one took me a few days longer than planned, I’ve already finished the next three books, so I’ll be back on schedule next week. Can you believe it’s only six weeks until the end of the year? I have to admit I’m looking forward to being finished with this project. I’ve enjoyed the reading but have not always looked forward to the writing about the books. Just a few more, though!
*Yes, I realize I just used this transition, but I’m already late with this post so decided to note it here and leave it in. 🙂