©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)
This is my all-time favorite book. Coupled with my all-time favorite narrater, how could it be anything but a five-star experience.
From the very first sentence I was captivated by the cadence and rhythm of the narrator's voice. This was performance and poetry far beyond anything I have heard before in my extensive audible library. I do not post reviews as a habit but I dare you not to be moved by some of the passages read in the book.
I don't know how I came to read this book. Like many men, I associated "Prince of Tides" with the chick flick my mom watched some years back. It must have been on an audible sale and that's why I even gave it two shakes. The first chapter was a bit too chaotic and I had trouble knowing or caring what this book was about. I nearly gave up on it, but then it opened into a very captivating novel about a slew of things. Family. The South Vs. North beef. Terror. As someone who has ambulated back and forth between north and south, I found great riches in this book about the terrain and attitudes of both parts of the world. This book is long, but its so riveting that you start crying when you see there are only a few hours left in the book. It reminds me a lot in the feeling, not really the contents, of East of Eden by John Steinbeck with bits of Faulkner shining through. They made it into a chick flick, but I think any man can enjoy this book and I'm surprised someone had the idea to turn it into a chick flick at all. But I guess women can probably enjoy it just as well.
Frank Muller was one of if not the best reader I've ever experienced. It makes me so sad to think that he's gone (died of complications to a head injury). He ruins me for listening to other readers. After I finish a book that he has read, I have to wait for a while before I listen to another book.
Prince of Tides is deep. I listened to it 20 years ago and then again this last week. Even though I'm in a different part of my life now, I'm still so affected by the story, the insights, the beauty of South Carolina. One moment? Tens of moments!
My favorite scene is where Jack threatens to through the stradivarius over the balcony. It's what we all wish we had the nerve to do – stand up to a bully and have the last word!
Most of the book moved me. "Do it again mama!" at the end of the book. That made me cry.
Oh I do wish there was another reader like Frank. It saddens me to think I have to listen to other people read Pat Conroy or Stephen King. Stephen King once said that when he writes a character, it's Frank's voice he hears. Wow!
Say something about yourself!
I'm a Pat Conroy fan. I've read three of his other books, but I frequently confuse them because their setting and characters are very similar. I like Prince of Tides more because it was different. His first "breakout" book is definitely the best, in my opinion. I loved listening to it.
Everyone in the book talks about how crazy the family is. That kind of scares me because they didn't seem very crazy at all... eek. I've heard so much about the book and the movie over the years, so I'm glad no one had spoiled some of the "big" reveals.
Driving over 100,000 mile a year since 1983, I got hooked on audible books on tape 30 years back. I now listen from my bicycle 2 hours a day
Written and performed with the lyrical grace of the coastal south
A crew of damaged characters who suffered a sorry childhood with a crazy violent father and a crazy misguided mother.
But laugh out loud sections and great scenes.
a wonderful book well worth the credit that can be heard again and again like great music.
This novel is quite long, and has some interesting parts. However it is marred by several things. First of all the author gives a long, rambling, unnecessary and very poorly spoken introduction. One wonders whether English is his native language. Then comes a long, incomprehensible prologue. The book itself is entirely about highly dysfunctional persons; it is hard to sympathize with any of them, including the first person protagonist. Above all, the writing tries and tries and tries to by like poetry. At first, it's a little amusing. After a while it becomes tedious, and in the end (for me) highly irritating. Perhaps readers who enjoy poetry as such will enjoy it.
I read "The Prince of Tides" years ago. I took it with me as my companion for flight when I went to Europe for the first time. I remember pausing after sentences and holding the book to my chest, after reading lines that were so poetic and thoughtful that I had to stop and feel my own soul intermingle with them. I have always considered it to be one of my favorite books. When I joined Audible I thought to myself, what book do you want to start with? It was an easy choice as I sifted through books that have made a spiritual impact on me. "Prince of Tides" must begin my library, I thought. And so it was. I am an artist; a painter and sculptor and I am deeply affected by the music I listen to while creating new things. Normally music is my muse but I decided to depart from that a couple days ago...a trial you see. I loaded Pat Conroy's words, spoken so eloquently by the late Frank Muller, into my iPod and worked on my sculpture. Such elegance flowing through me, causing me to blend them into the clay that met my fingers and onto the figure before me. I remembered again being on the airplane headed toward a new adventure, and holding the book close to me, relishing the poetry of it. Once again I felt its magic. What a lovely way to create. Another muse has been discovered, and so today I will listen to part two. How lovely.
A well written book is a gem.
This book is dated by its sensibilities. When it was released in 1986 the themes of racism, women, (then called feminism), homosexuality, the South, New York, family violence, all were viewed through different lenses. So this story as it revealed, somewhat too slowly by todays standards, does not come off quite as poignantly as may have some 25 years ago. In that intervening time, these themes have been thoroughly examined in American fiction and as plot propellants don't entice or titillate quite as much as they could have. So the story lags a bit.
Additionally, the author's infatuation with poetry was not shared by me. There are whole paragraphs of exposition that are purely ornamental. They paint a very pretty picture of words but don't add anything constructive to the story. I found myself completely drawn out of the story and talking to the author, "Come on, come on. Lets get on with it!"
Frank Muller's narration is flawless.
This is a powerful story of family dysfunction and the damage done when we attempt to bury the past. Whether it's madness, detachment, alcohol or an inability to give and/or receive love...unacknowledged past trauma will manifest somewhere--some way. Moral= Deal with your stuff or it WILL deal with you, sooner or later.
Complaints first: I found the love story clunky, awkward and hard to swallow. Maybe it was the narrator's "woman" voice--which I thought was pretty lousy, but the female characters really suffered for me. Particularly annoying was the narrator's habit of trailing off as if moving away from the mic whenever he voiced the females. Drove me nuts!
Conroy's flashbacks paint a lush and lyrical picture of a childhood spent close to the land on a South Carolina sea island, in a time before over-scheduling and play dates, when the world outside a kid's backdoor was his (or her) kingdom to explore. The descriptions of the plant and animal life made me nostalgic for my own Southern childhood, spent in rivers and woods, blissfully unstructured.
The Wingo family characters are vivid and alive for me, without exception. The disconnect comes when Tom goes to NYC.The Lowenstein character comes off wooden and inauthentic and the constant harping on her physical beauty is just short of nauseating. Logically, it follows that Tom's final utterance very nearly ruined the book for me.
Despite gorgeous imagery and compelling characterizations, there were times I found some of Conroy's language overly flowery and heaped on too thick. While I'm not advocating for the Hemingway code here, sometimes, less IS more.
Definitely worth the time invested, even with the warts. Due to my issues with the narrator, I think I might have actually liked it better in print. That wasn't an option this time, as I chose it for listening during a long two-day car trip across NM and the badlands of West Texas.
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