Review: Darkness Visible


Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness

 TitleDarkness Visible: a memoir of madness  Author: William Styron
 PublisherRandom House  
 Publication Date1990  Genre: Non Fiction, Autobiography, Mental Health 

Why Picked

It has been on my TBR list for a while now and helps with a number of my challenges.


A work of great personal courage and a literary tour de force, this bestseller is Styron’s true account of his descent into a crippling and almost suicidal depression. Styron is perhaps the first writer to convey the full terror of depression’s psychic landscape, as well as the illuminating path to recovery. [1]


This short book basically is a literary look at depression.  I am not sure what I was expecting from the author of such works as Lie Down in Darkness, The Confessions of Nat Turner, and Sophie’s Choice, but it was more depth then this.  Styron writes beautifully about the indescribable pain of depression, about the horrible dangers of poorly administered anti-depression medications and about how for him stopping alcohol was the trigger to serious depression.  What he does not talk about is how hospitalization made him well.  What was it about that place which leads to his recovery? Was it merely the recognition of mis-medication or was it truly the hospital setting? I guess I was looking for more details in how he overcame his depression.