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South of Broad | [Pat Conroy]

South of Broad

Against the sumptuous backdrop of Charleston, South Carolina, South of Broad gathers a unique cast of sinners and saints. Leopold Bloom King, our narrator, is the son of an amiable, loving father who teaches science at the local high school. His mother, an ex-nun, is the high school principal and a well-known Joyce scholar. After Leo's older brother commits suicide at the age of 13, the family struggles with the shattering effects of his death, and Leo, lonely and isolated, searches for something to sustain him
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Publisher's Summary

Against the sumptuous backdrop of Charleston, South Carolina, South of Broad gathers a unique cast of sinners and saints. Leopold Bloom King, our narrator, is the son of an amiable, loving father who teaches science at the local high school. His mother, an ex-nun, is the high school principal and a well-known Joyce scholar. After Leo's older brother commits suicide at the age of 13, the family struggles with the shattering effects of his death, and Leo, lonely and isolated, searches for something to sustain him.

Eventually, he finds his answer when he becomes part of a tightly knit group of high school seniors that includes friends Sheba and Trevor Poe, glamorous twins with an alcoholic mother and a prison-escapee father; hardscrabble mountain runaways Niles and Starla Whitehead; socialite Molly Huger and her boyfriend, Chadworth Rutledge X; and an ever-widening circle whose liaisons will ripple across two decades-from 1960s counterculture through the dawn of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.

The ties among them endure for years, surviving marriages happy and troubled, unrequited loves and unspoken longings, hard-won successes and devastating breakdowns, and Charleston's dark legacy of racism and class divisions. But the final test of friendship that brings them to San Francisco is something no one is prepared for South of Broad is Pat Conroy at his finest; a long-awaited work from a great American writer whose passion for life and language knows no bounds.

©2009 Pat Conroy; (P)2009 Random House

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (1147 )
5 star
 (498)
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 (351)
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 (159)
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4.1 (355 )
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Story
4.4 (355 )
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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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  •  
    02-10-10
    02-10-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    7
    4
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    "Book review"

    Very disappointed in this book. Conroy tried to add every dysfunctional story line every imagined into one book. Don't waste your time on this disappointment!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bonnie 10-23-09
    bonnie 10-23-09

    DaWomz

    HELPFUL VOTES
    155
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    "Disappointing Entry from Great Writer"

    Because Pat Conroy is my all-time favorite writer, I set aside quality listening time to regale in his latest novel. Now I have spent the equivalent listening hours to determine why South of Broad was such a great disappointment.
    1) The reader was aweful. He did southern accent okay .. it's just that all the southern accents were so similar that I couldn't tell which character was speaking without a "he said" or "she said" to indicate.
    2) The characters were stereotypical and predictable. No surprises, even at the end when we were, I think, supposed to be shocked.
    3) There was no subletly ... every nuance was clearly elucidated like Conroy didn't trust his own writing to deliver underlying thoughts, feelings or motives without explanation.
    4) Attempts to make each of the characters memorable failed. I kept waiting to care about what happened to them, and just couldn't muster the empathy.
    5) Despite its length, there was a sense of abridgement ... like the story was maintained but not the Conroy essence of it. When I fell asleep during part 2 I didn't bother to backup and listen to the hour I had missed, and predictably important plot parts of the missed scene were rehashed a few times

    This novel is not representative of the man who brought us The Great Santini, Prince of Tides, Lords of Discipline, etc...

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William 09-21-09
    William 09-21-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    140
    2
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    "Where have South Carolina's manners gone?"

    The few pages devoted to descriptions of Charleston are very nice. The rest is told with outhouse language; profanity, obscenity and unnecessary gutter prose. The message, once said is maudlin and repetitive. I expected much better.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lajuan Idabel, OK, United States 09-14-09
    Lajuan Idabel, OK, United States 09-14-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    258
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    91
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    Overall
    "Conroy fan"

    I love Pat Conroy's books but I just couldn't get through this one. Maybe it was the narrator, not sure.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherry Bothell, WA, United States 09-04-09
    Sherry Bothell, WA, United States 09-04-09 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    42
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    52
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    "Stereotypes and cliches"

    My expectations were low but I thought I could at least rely on Conroy's lush language. Not even that can salvage a book with such a collection of stereotyped characters and dialogue so bad that it reads like something I wrote in high school. If you're new to Conroy, listen to another of his books!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David INDIAN LAND, SC, United States 09-01-09
    David INDIAN LAND, SC, United States 09-01-09 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
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    "A Swing...and a miss!"

    I adore Pat Conroy, and that is why I was so disappointed in this novel. It seemed as if he was trying to rewrite Beach Music but assigning the characters different identities. It was way too forced, and just didn't work for me. Sigh... I gave it 2 stars because, even with a bad story line, Mr. Conroy manages to weave such beautiful patterns with the english language. 2 stars for the prose!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Danny D. Southern US 08-24-09
    Danny D. Southern US 08-24-09 Listener Since 2007

    Danny

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "self indulgent nonsense"

    First of all, the narration is hideoous. How long are people going to keep forgetting that maybe one in 10 people can pull off a southern accent? Poor "Mole-ly". Peter McNicol narrated a gorgeous version of Beach Music without having to drawl through it and that is what should have been done with this book. Now, as for the prose, readers have always had to indulge little Pat his ideosyncracies to get through his better fiction, but it sees that we have now become enablers. This is self indulgent nonsense. Conroy has never been as good at writing dialog as in describing scenes and action but this latest effort is really just juvenile. Waste of time, his and ours.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Idaho Falls, ID, USA 01-08-10
    David Idaho Falls, ID, USA 01-08-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    4
    1
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    "Long Overdue"

    It has been at least 10 years since Pat Conroy had written a sweeping passionate great American novel. South of Broad left me wishing there was another page another chapter. Write about anything but most importantly what happens next even if it means that they changed a diaper and went to the grocery store. Mr. Conroy's love of the English language gives the reader that rare joy of both enjoying the plot as well as enjoying the way the sentences float onto the pages as if delivered by an Angel and not a bic pen. A Conroy novel will never disappoint you and this installment takes it to an entirely new level. Treat yourself, spoil yourself today, and take your time with this one. Savor every word. Take your time and sip in each sentence allowing you to enjoy the romantic poetry of his language and develop the passions for his deeply created characters. You will not regret it!!

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Greenbrae, CA, USA 09-24-09
    Bruce Greenbrae, CA, USA 09-24-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    75
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    "The rent was due and the baby was hungry"

    I like Pat Conroy's books usually, but this catastrophe should have never seen the light of day. The characters were cartoonish (to borrow from an earlier review.) The timelines were all over the place. The subplot with the evil antagonist made little sense and added nothing to the novel. And the ending...left me feeling sickened that I had stuck it out to that point. God!
    I haven't wanted to read a fiction piece in a while and this book will probably kill it for me for a while more.
    This book is not a good use of your money or credits.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Aguanno 02-13-10 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Boring"

    I didn't care about any of these characters. I expected much more from Pat Conroy

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
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