©2002 Pat Conroy; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"Conroy has achieved a penetrating vision of the Southern psyche in this enormous novel of power and emotion." (Library Journal)
I bought this on the daily deal and I'm sure glad I did! I had high doubts about it. I couldn't quit listening to it! It is by far the best book I have heard all year
Southern gothic, with picturesque writing, and great narration ... vaguely remembered movie as a romance, but much more than that...full of southern eccentrics, gothis tragedy, severely dysfunctional family dynamics, and the bonds between siblings who survived their childhoods together, and became damaged adults tied tightly to one another, and ultimately their parents, by their love
I want to say right up front that I have always loved reading Conroy...but now I must specify only MUCH of Conroy. This book just goes on & on & on, written as if the author was so in love with his words he forgot how to make a point in less than 17 chapters. We get it, already! It was an awful childhood - so awful you can only leak it out little by little over 70,000 (it seems) pages. Conroy beats tens of dead horses (even) more than usual, & I just got worn out listening to this. When I read this, years ago, I didn't notice this quite as much, as when reading one can skim boring [lots of it - but especially the so-called "children's" book (you'd be an awful parent if you let your young children read THAT book)] or repetitive (much of it) points, but that's not possible when listening. If ONLY! With only one other book have I had to do what I did with this - listen to other books in-between slogging through these affected writings - as a way to keep from throwing myself off the deck into the ocean in desperation.
This book is really just another rendition of any of his books where the father & mother are so awful they scar their children for life. The mother & father in this book are copies of the mother & father in most of his tales, & the protagonist is, as always, a very thinly-disguised Pat Conroy. The protagonist always loves & forgives these horrid excuses for parents, & even apologizes to people who did him very wrong, just to please a parent. I'm very, very sorry Mr. Conroy had such an abusive childhood, I really am, but we've heard it before a number of times. It's time to move on with your stories, Mr. Conroy. Pick a different subject. "The Water Is Wide" was your purest & best. Reread it yourself, Author, & copy from that.
Then the NARRATOR! O. M. G. Every SINGLE sentence is spoken as if there are dastardly deeds around the corner or some unspeakable, eerie, SOMETHING is waiting. Say, aloud, the sentence, "he decided to make an omelette" as if doom and gloom were ahead, & you'll know what I mean. I first heard this narrator w/a Stephen King novel, & there the narrator's style fit. Not with this book. Conroy's words are already rococo, so they would have more significance, would stand on their own to greater effect, if someone with a "cleaner", more straight-forward style read this. Conroy said the narration showed him things in this book & can't imagine a better reader. Yeah, I guess so, if it feeds his ego to hear every sentence spoken as if it had the most import in the story. And then the next sentence is read as if IT'S the most important sentence in the story. And then the NEXT! It never ends.
I need a nap. Or perhaps a glass of wine. Yes - a glass of wine and then a nap...
This was my first book by Pat Conroy. It will not be the last. This was a great book to listen to. I look forward to more like it.
The story line was very interesting. Didn't want to stop for anything.
I loved the natural way the story is told... So conversational and easy to listen to. There were many details and events that were expertly woven together going back and forth in time that a lesser writer would have produced a confusing tale, but that was not the case with this work. Flawlessly read, I was engrossed in the lives of the characters. A must listen and/or read!
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