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Publisher's Summary

Pat Conroy is without doubt America's favorite storyteller, a writer who portrays the anguished truth of the human heart and the painful secrets of families in richly lyrical prose and unforgettable narratives.

Now, in Beach Music, he tells of the dark memories that haunt generations, in a story that spans South Carolina and Rome and reaches back into the unutterable terrors of the Holocaust.

Beach Music is about Jack McCall, an American living in Rome with his young daughter, trying to find peace after the recent trauma of his wife's suicide. But his solitude is disturbed by the appearance of his sister-in-law, who begs him to return home, and of two school friends asking for his help in tracking down another classmate who went underground as a Vietnam protester and never resurfaced. These requests launch Jack on a journey that encompasses the past and the present in both Europe and the American South, and that leads him to shocking--and ultimately liberating--truths.

Told with deep feeling and trademark Conroy humor, Beach Music is powerful and compulsively readable. It is another masterpiece in the legendary list of classics that his body of work has already become.

©2009 Pat Conroy; (P)2009 Random House

Critic Reviews

"Astonishing...stunning...the range of passions and subjects that brings life to every page is almost endless." (The Washington Post Book World)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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    28

Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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    81
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    28
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    34

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Roger
  • ROCKLAND, MA, United States
  • 09-04-17

Torn

This book had a lot of intense content and for the most part I came to appreciate it, it can however be a little laborious. Although I liked the narrator's voice the reading could be very flat. I'm not sure if this was done purposely due to the content or just his style. Writing of course here is key and although by far not the worst I had a hard time getting by the "I said" "he said" "she said" so much of that was totally distracting and completely unnecessary. I came into this book with high hopes hearing for many years what a great book it was. Maybe if I visually read it instead of listening it might have delivered differently. I have come to appreciate the combination of writing style, content and delivery as a total package and have gotten pretty discerning of what I can listen to. This time I was left less than enthusiastic.

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Best book I've ever read.

Best book I've ever read. All time favorite. The only book ever to make me both cry and laugh.

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Beach Music

I usually like novels by Pat Conroy, and might have enjoyed this one if it were narrated by someone else. I tried to listen, but the narration was so awful I had to stop.

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Terrible narration

I have read this book twice. I got this audiobook to enjoy it once again, and I cannot get past how terrible this narrator is. He tries to move between accents, and he is so ineffective it is distracting. His South Carolina accent is very inconsistent and he reads much too quickly. If you have never read the book, I recommend doing so instead of listening to this audiobook. It is a wonderful story with rich and humorous characters, but it all gets lost in this terrible performance.

  • Overall
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Most excellent

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely. It's a story you live in, and wish it not to end.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Beach Music?

Many memorable moments, but I don't want to give them away.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

There are many scenes in this story that will bring on tears, or laughter.

Any additional comments?

The excellent narration made this book so memorable. I imagine it was read just as Pat Conroy would have told it, sitting out on the veranda late into the evening.

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absolutely beautiful

what a wonderful story and narrator. probably the best or top 3 books I've ever read. so moved, i think I'll start it over.

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Best Book Ever!

This is the third time I have read this book and every time I cry and laugh all the way through it. If you want to wonderful deep meaningful read try this book!

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Beach Music: A Sound Read

Conroy swims in florid prose too often, but the story is captivating, and some metaphors and similes he uses are simply amazing. Jack's development as the protagonist is solid, though his and his friends' perspectives on the Vietnam War are a bit too weakly developed.

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Beautifully written

The kind of book that you already look forward to reading again before you've ever finished it.

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  • Rosemarie
  • Fishkill, NY, United States
  • 01-27-17

Disappointed with writing and characters

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I can't recommend it.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narration was mediocre. It did not add to the book. All the characters sounded similar.

Any additional comments?

Beach Music is not well written and the plot is ludicrous. This novel is full of cliche language and characters. I have liked Pat Conroy's other novels (e.g., Prince of Tides) but this ones is substandard due to poor writing and a melodramatic plot. It comes across as overblown, arrogant, and fake. Beach Music is like a silly soap opera where the main characters undergo a string of tragedies (e.g., suicide, terrorism, being lost at sea, the holocaust, rapes, murders, incest, mental illness, etc.) but in the end all is well. This novel is absurd and moreover, the the writing is terrible (i.e., mixed metaphors, poorly constructed sentences, bad grammar, rampent tense errors, etc).