The Suicide Run: Five Tales of the Marine Corps - William Styron

Written at various times in his illustrious literary career, the five stories in William Styron’s The Suicide Run (Random House, $24) are wrought from Styron’s experience as a Marine lieutenant at the end of World War II.  The title story refers to a young soldier recalled to service for the conflict in Korea, and the weekend trips he made from Camp Lejeune to Manhattan to visit his mistress.  The fullest and most satisfying piece is “My Father’s House,” which pairs a young Marine’s reminiscences of his father’s home in Virginia, his hope of returning to it, and his trouble re-assimilating to life in the South, with his more recent memories, some idyllic and some gut-wrenching, of time in Saipan awaiting orders for the invasion of Japan before the war was ended by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.