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
"Astonishing...stunning...the range of passions and subjects that brings life to every page is almost endless." (The Washington Post Book World)
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!
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.
Jack, because he has an unapologetic way of honestly speaking the truth and what's on his mind.
This book is thought provoking and intelligent. Brings South Carolina to life in so many ways. Makes you long for that "Beach Music"
I absolutely loved this book. The author had me from the first chapter and the relationships in the book were at times so touching and others completely hilirous. I had never read any of Pat Conroy's books. I am now a huge fanl.
Pat pulled me right into the story and made me feel like I was right there in it. I felt like I knew well each of the important people that brought the story to life.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves beautiful writing, characters you fall in love with and story that is hard and heartbreaking but resolves in a way that leaves you smiling with your heart full.
I have read his books but really appreciate what an excellent writer and poet he is when i hear it read out loud.
This is a rich beautiful novel that you won't want to be over.
A Book and a Cat: Nothing more
I am a Pat Conroy fan. His novels are complex, and there's always someone quite deranged in the plot somewhere. This venture is set once again in SC low country, steeped in Southern culture (with all its virtues and vices), and oozing with messy family relationships. There is romance, tragedy, and hard-won dignity.
Spend some hours contemplating how the characters got to this point, and how they will go forward.
A worthwhile read.
Say something about yourself!
Pat Conroy is one of the great American storytellers. Conroy's best novels weave together stories of the past to support a grand, almost archetypal story of the here and now. Beach Music felt quite the opposite, as though Conroy had several sweeping stories of the past that he really wanted to use and cobbled together a larger story of two simultaneous gatherings in the life of a Hero only to give the short stories context. The makeshift feeling context holds several superb and divergent short stories of Polish Ghettos under the Nazis, the Vietnam anti war movement, castaway boys on a little boat and many others.
While listening to Beach Music, I kept thinking that if I were reading the book, I probably would not have finished it- but at the same time, lamented the pairing of Jonathan Marosz's very fine, almost urbane narration with Conroy's laid back storytelling style. I wanted a smoother, slower voice that dripped with the honey of the Carolina coast.
Although I think Beach Music would have better been presented as a compilation of short stories, I recommend it: but not for two credits.
Vintage Conroy...read Conroy to taste grits and shrimp, smell salt water, hear the drawl of Charleston. I love the southern flavor, but always lament Conroy's minimum requirements for enlistment as a Southern Belle... mysterious females born with Barbie doll figures, Mensa level IQ's, flawless skin, adorned by family diamonds (gifts from Sherman to grandmothers who saved homes...no towns... from being burned), mistress of all domestic arts, fluent in 6 languages (learned Italian and German while singing with the Met) ....and have at least one secret, illegitimate child by a brutal politician. I fall so short...but inspired to keep trying.
I don't quite know what to make of this book. I thought the first part was interesting, but then the author tried to write too long a book, in my opinion. The characterization of the protagonist and his life is quite good, but the other persons become mere sketches, which is probably OK in a book that deals a lot with the protagonist. It always irritates me when authors set their rather ordinary (invented) people up against real events, and Pat Conroy cannot resist that either in this book. I felt that the story was in essence told after the first part, and then you have three more parts, where very little development occurs. I actually thought the book ended after three parts, and to my astonishment discovered there was a fourth part. It could well have ended after the third part, because the fourth brings about a "Hollywood-type Happy End". I think the author and the readers would have benefitted from the author exerting more self discipline in embroidering the story, and Pat Conroy should have restrained herself more in outflow of mere words. Pat Conroy should have listened to the old rule: If you are unsure about what to write - don't!
I simply adore this book! Beautifully rich plot with gorgeous imagery. I feel in love with the family and wanted the book to never end. Must read!
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