©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've gone through over 200 books since signing up with Audible in 2003. Carefully chosen, many of the books I listen to deserve high honors, as they tell a good story, well orchestrated with excellent dialogue and believable characters, and narrated with panache. Of all those, Prince of Tides ranks in the rarified top ten percent. The story woven by Mr. Conroy is magnificently told, and I especially like the way the reader is carefully teased with mysteries long before being rewarded with an explanatory chapter. Frank Muller, as narrator, is incredible. The telling of this story could not be done any better by anyone else. It is a shame we have lost his talents. To those who have not yet enjoyed this novel, I promise you will not be dissapointed.
Conroy's masterful use of language places him with the world's great authors. I found myself marveling at the beauty of his words, even when dealing with difficult content. This book is not for those looking for a Disney experience. That said, it should be in everyone's library, and on every required reading list.
The narrator was superb. Parts of the story were superb. But, more than once, I felt continuity errors: for example, Tom goes to dinner several times with the therapist, paints his sister's apartment, visits and then gets banned from visiting his sister, complains about the length of the ban, and then says he's on his second week in NYC. Huh? Savannah supposedly has no recollection of major childhood events, but she spent over a week with Tom detailing these events in her journal just a few years ago. Huh? Also, the incredibility of the psychiatrist allowing Tom to take Savannah for an outing as his first reunion meeting after the ban and without supervision and without any joint therapeutic sessions was completely incredible.
I also felt, especially at the beginning, that some of the writing was just too dramatic: felt too sorry for itself in an unconvincing way. It didn't help that Tom's character as the jock and coach who somehow hid behind his brother rather than fight his own fights and also somehow was a gourmet cook, well-read intellectual, and emotionally stunted abused child just didn't fit together well.
The story was interesting and is a good hero myth (as told, not as far as truthfulness, I can't comment on how truthful its southern depiction is).
The story also brings out important themes:
- denial as a ineffective means to handle tragedy
- abuse as a devastating life-foundation. Actually, I found Tom too healed for his life story.
- greed and manipulation as unforgivable relationship destroyer.
- the desire of the abused to seek restoration with their abusers when the rest of us think they should flee and get restraining orders.
Counselor with eclectic taste, I enjoy all types of fiction, dark, strange and twisted things, humor and explicitly.
What a great narration and story. Very well written with fabulous character development. Did I mention the narration absolutely one of the best narrators ever.
Oh, this is just a wonderful book. I've read it at least a few times and have listened twice. Frank Muller is fantastic in combination with Pat Conroy and I can't recommend The Prince of Tides highly enough for a great, satisfying listen.
The good: Language is poetic and beautiful. The setting is charming and romantic. The narrator is artful and great to listen to. Considered to be a modern "classic" and it is clear why; the storyline is very telling of the time in America (1986) when this book was written.
The bad: Overall, book is inappropriate for religious, younger or emotionally sensitive readers. Suspense is formulaic. Plot does not ring true. Dialogue tends to drone on without developing character or advancing plot. Characters are not sympathetic and remain undeveloped; without being told who is speaking, reader cannot tell them apart just by their personalities, even by the end of the book. Main character is whiny and one-dimensional, and waxes on about irrelevant details for minutes at a time. Melodrama abounds. The last third of the book is botched and about 1/3 too long.
My personal verdict: Can't recommend this one unless you appreciate soap operas, as referenced in my review title. I'm glad I read it since it is considered a modern classic, but the CliffsNotes would have substituted just fine, and with less of a time waste. But especially, don't give it to your religious friend or your kids. There are some wildly racy scenes, and themes, in this book.
Absolutely awesome!!! I would have never enjoyed this book as fully if it had not been read to me in the most wonderful voice of Frank Muller. Author, Pat Conroy, holds your attention at every moment.
Having listened to Beach Music by the same author, which I found too lengthy, I started listening to this book with some apprehension. It took me less than one hour of listening to realize it was more of the same. Pat Conroy writes Beach Music all over again. So I stopped listening. My husband had more stamina than I and listened to the entire book. He concurs with my opinion.
I love to read books set in interesting places or historical settings. I especially love mysteries and thrillers.
As a Southerner, Pat Conroy has been a favorite author since the 80's. If you have read many of his wonderful books, you will soon realize when reading "The Prince of Tides" that this is definitely a special book. The storytelling is like no other book you have read. The narrator of this audiobook did a very good job. I enjoyed this book immensely.
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