In Time and Tide, Conroy recounts the island's history from the glory days of the whaling boom to the present, when tourism dominates. He vividly evokes the clash of cultures between the working class and the super-rich, with the fragile ecology of the island always in the balance. But most fascinating of all, he tells his own story: of playing jazz piano in the island's bars; of raising a barn in the early '60s with the help of a bunch of hippie carpenters; of leasing an old, failed bar with two island pals and turning it into the Roadhouse, a club "that was to be ours, the year-rounders, and to hell with the summer people." There's a marvelous story of his first golf game, played on an ancient nine-hole course with two friends, a part-time sommelier and a builder from the South who invented the one-handed pepper mill.
This is a book that revels in friendship, music, history, and the gorgeous landscape of a unique American place, and is a wonderful work by one of our greatest contemporary writers.