The Suicide Run by William Styron, Random House, 2009.
The Suicide Run is a posthumous release as Pulitzer Prize winner William Styron passed away in 2006. It is a collection of five different short stories, all inspired by Styron's own experiences as a U.S. Marine.
The collection opens with 'Blankenship' which takes place in a military prison during WWII. It is perhaps the best of the five stories, and is certainly the one that feels most complete.
The next two stories, 'Marriott, the Marine' and 'The Suicide Run' feature the same main character and are segments of what Styron intended to develop into a novel. However, instead he wrote Sophie's Choice, a brilliant and engaging work. These stories are much less powerful, perhaps they would have become something great in time. Instead they feel unfinished and lack depth.
"My Father's House' is the fourth and longest segment of the collection. It too feels as if it should be part of something larger. In fact, the publisher's note at the end of the volume states that it is the first part of a novel that will remain unfinished. The last story, 'Elobey, Annobon, and Corisco' is less than four pages long and seems to be a segment of the same attempt. Unfortunately, as stand alone pieces they are both unsatisfying.
These are not Stryon's best work. Avid readers of his previous writing may find these stories interesting as they do shed some light on his own experiences in the Marine Corps. They do feel very personal, and the reader is left to wonder to what extent they are autobiographical accounts and how much is pure fiction.