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Beach Music | [Pat Conroy]

Beach Music

Pat Conroy is without doubt America's favorite storyteller, a writer who portrays the anguished truth of the human heart and the painful secrets of families in richly lyrical prose and unforgettable narratives. Now, in Beach Music, he tells of the dark memories that haunt generations, in a story that spans South Carolina and Rome and reaches back into the unutterable terrors of the Holocaust.
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Publisher's Summary

Pat Conroy is without doubt America's favorite storyteller, a writer who portrays the anguished truth of the human heart and the painful secrets of families in richly lyrical prose and unforgettable narratives.

Now, in Beach Music, he tells of the dark memories that haunt generations, in a story that spans South Carolina and Rome and reaches back into the unutterable terrors of the Holocaust.

Beach Music is about Jack McCall, an American living in Rome with his young daughter, trying to find peace after the recent trauma of his wife's suicide. But his solitude is disturbed by the appearance of his sister-in-law, who begs him to return home, and of two school friends asking for his help in tracking down another classmate who went underground as a Vietnam protester and never resurfaced. These requests launch Jack on a journey that encompasses the past and the present in both Europe and the American South, and that leads him to shocking--and ultimately liberating--truths.

Told with deep feeling and trademark Conroy humor, Beach Music is powerful and compulsively readable. It is another masterpiece in the legendary list of classics that his body of work has already become.

©2009 Pat Conroy; (P)2009 Random House

What the Critics Say

"Astonishing...stunning...the range of passions and subjects that brings life to every page is almost endless." (The Washington Post Book World)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (460 )
5 star
 (247)
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Overall
4.3 (284 )
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Story
4.2 (283 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Ella toronto,, Ontario, Canada 03-14-10
    Ella toronto,, Ontario, Canada 03-14-10 Member Since 2005

    Knowledge is knowing the way. Wisdom is looking for an alternative, more interesting road to get there. Audiobooks are that road.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Memorable"

    Patrick Conroy hurls words and ideas at you and they all land in a perfectly harmonized formation of drama, humor and outrageously engaging characters. His gift for creating characters from words on a page to larger than life people is magnificent. Beach Music incorporates some very difficult topics and weaves together a number of complex story lines, which intertwine in this multi generational epic. In all his books he is excellent at depicting dysfunction in families and this book is no exception.
    Beach Music is essentially about Jack McCall; a single dad trying to raise his little girl Leah in Rome after his wife Shyla commits suicide. He wants to get far away from the dysfunction of the families and demons he leaves behind in South Carolina. But your roots are your roots, and circumstance brings Jack back home like a slingshot to the epicenter of drama. He is catapulted in to the lives of his 4 brothers, the most interesting of which is John Hardin his paranoid schizophrenic sibling, his mother who is battling cancer, his holocaust survivor in-laws who tried to take Leah in a dirty custody battle and old school friends who are not without major drama which peaked during the time of the Vietnam war. Beach Music had me laughing, thinking and sobbing. It's one of those books you need time to savor. I hate saying goodbye to these people who have become part of my life, albeit for a short time. So sorry to see it end.
    As for the narrator Jonathan Marosz, he neither helped nor hindered this book. His narration was a bit flat, but once I got used to him, it blended well.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sara 12-27-09
    Sara 12-27-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beach Music"

    Pat Conroy has an almost lyrical way of expressing himself and that is all the more evident in the audio production of this book. The beauty of his words holds true even when the event is painful or horrific. It is a captivating tale filled with sarcasitc wit, family secrets, and tragedy on an epic scale. The South is always a character in itself in his novels and this one is no exception. This is one of my favorite Conroy novels, and I frequently give it as a gift to friends unfamiliar with his work. Take a trip to Pat Conroy's South and you will never quite look at it the same again - but it will seduce you just the same.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith 03-03-10
    Judith 03-03-10
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    "Enjoyable but"

    I enjoy Pat Conroy books, but... I had some issues with this one. The constant "wise cracks" got annoying, the subtle, or not too subtle, political stereotyping was also annoying. Mike's mock "town trial" was unbelievable. Other than that, it was very good.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane Cape Town South AfrucaSouth Africa 01-03-10
    Diane Cape Town South AfrucaSouth Africa 01-03-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Beach Music"

    Fabulous, read it twice, beautiful story and well readfantastic

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Huntsville, AL USA 01-20-13
    Elizabeth Huntsville, AL USA 01-20-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Read it instead: Great book, terrible narrator"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Someone with a convincing SC accent, or no accent at all.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Jonathan Marosz’s performances?

    Absolutely not.


    Any additional comments?

    I adore this novel. I've read it several times, and since I enjoy long audio books, and this one had such a high rating, I thought I'd give it a try. I gave up after the first hour of listening. I don't know where the narrator is originally from or where he learned his accent from, but it was unlike any South Carolinian accent I've ever heard. It sounded more like a Bostonian attempting a Texan accent. It was jarring, clipped, entirely too fast, and inconsistent. Moreover, his reading of the story was flat and uninspiring. I felt like I was listening to a news report from someone who didn't much care for what he was reporting on.

    I adore Pat Conroy, and Beach Music holds a special spot in my heart as the first novel of his I ever read, but this rendition does it absolutely no justice. I've never given up on an audio book before because of a narrator, but I just couldn't stand to keep going with this one.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sue Oklahoma City, OK, United States 11-26-09
    Sue Oklahoma City, OK, United States 11-26-09 Member Since 2009
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    "Great Listen"

    Pat Conroy is just the best storyteller. This book as with most his books is just wonderful. The characters are very interesting and the book is totally engrossing.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KELLY DAYTON, OH, United States 12-17-12
    KELLY DAYTON, OH, United States 12-17-12 Member Since 2007
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    "story great! Narrator awful!"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    The story is wonderful, I have read it in print years ago....but the narrator was terrible.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I love Pat Conroy novels and this one is not an exception...


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    He is horribly monotoned and I was not able to follow the change in characters at all! The story became one blob of monologue!


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Frustration because I knew the story to be a great one, I just could not make myself stick with it with this narrator! I wasted my money on this one.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Amesbury, MA, United States 08-25-12
    Michael Amesbury, MA, United States 08-25-12 Member Since 2009
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    "A multidimensional masterpiece"
    Would you listen to Beach Music again? Why?

    I will listen to it again, because it grabs you and won't let go. If it were just the dialog itself it would be enough, but there is so much more!


    What other book might you compare Beach Music to and why?

    Forest Gump comes to mind as a piece of comparable work and not just because of obvious subject matter, but because of its powerful story telling, and smart dialog.


    Who was the most memorable character of Beach Music and why?

    Jack, because he has an unapologetic way of honestly speaking the truth and what's on his mind.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is thought provoking and intelligent. Brings South Carolina to life in so many ways. Makes you long for that "Beach Music"

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justina Rochester, NY, United States 01-12-10
    Justina Rochester, NY, United States 01-12-10 Member Since 2004
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    "Loved it!"

    very dramatic and heart felt! I read it because it relates to my favorite vacation spot but I have been looking for additional titles from the same author..I highly recommend it!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorri New Albany, IN, United States 04-20-10
    Lorri New Albany, IN, United States 04-20-10 Member Since 2007

    Photowine

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    "Hilarious and enjoyable"

    Jack McCall comes to terms with his dysfunctional family after a time spent in Rome. He returns to South Carolina to a dying mother. While in SC he confronts his demons from his young adult years and his brothers. The smart a$$ dialogue between Jack and his brothers is hysterical. The only drawback for me is that this novel is intensely liberal. I - as a conservative - found this objectionable. The center line has been moved so far to the left that I appear radical. All of that aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the humour.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
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  • Sarah
    GLASGOW, United Kingdom
    10/8/09
    Overall
    "You won't want it to end"

    This is such a treat, over 20 hours of Southern love, loyalty and friendship interwoven with harrowing descriptions of the Holocaust and mental illness. The descriptions are seamless and you can imagine yourself walking through the decades with the brothers as they grow. Please listen to this one, it's great!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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