BOOKS: Riddle of a Violent Century

SOPHIE'S CHOICE by William Styron; Random House; 515 pages; $12.95

When The Confessions of Nat Turner was published twelve years ago, William Styron was pilloried by some blacks and liberals. How, their attack ran, dare a white Southerner appropriate the mind and soul of a black slave? Sophie's Choice, Styron's first novel since then, may prompt a similar ambush. What business has an American Wasp writing about the European, chiefly Jewish, victims of the Holocaust? If taken seriously, such questions are dangerous. Areas of the imagination can be fenced off for certain groups alone only at everyone's peril. The question is...

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