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The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

The Prince of Tides (1986)

by Pat Conroy, Pat Conroy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (77)  French (3)  Polish (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All (83)
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Conroy paints a rich, deep family drama here with plenty of memorable characters and authentic stories of the South. The main characters are deeply flawed, but most have many redemptive qualities, and one can't help getting involved emotionally as their lives are laid bare with the injustices of growing up in an abusive family.

I do think Conroy can get carried away with some of his descriptions and stories - some even stretch the bounds of believability, but the writing is so rich, so charming and enveloping, that it far makes up for some of Mr. Conroy's grandiose story lines that are found throughout this tome.

This is one that leaves in an indelible mark on me. You will be moved. You will be entertained. I think that may be another strength of Mr. Conroy. He will beat you over the head with raw, painful sections, but what makes this epic is there are joyful, moving and transformative sections too, both weaved gracefully throughout. ( )
  Mitchell_Bergeson_Jr | Aug 6, 2017 |

This was without a doubt one of best books I have ever read and will remain an all time favorite for years to come I am certain. I was expecting an old fashioned love story but this was nothing at all what I had expected. I was enthralled and completely captivated both by the story and by the way it was written. Pat Conroy is a genius, with a poetic grace that made this story flow like a song. I'm going to read every single one of his books consecutively and can only hope they're even half as good as this one was. If you have not read this book you are truly missing out. I recommend it to anyone and would rate it ten stars if I could, it is that good! ( )
  JordanAshleyPerkins | Jan 26, 2017 |
Amazing. Much better than the very good movie. ( )
  Laura_Drake | Aug 19, 2016 |
The south holds its share of stories and secrets. Prince of Tides is as much about those secrets as it is about the cultural cut off and mental lines dividing the city-life in the north from the small town mentality in certain areas of the south.

The movie encouraged me to seek out the written version, but above that, I’ve always heard good things about it. My enthusiasm was further bolstered because it got a minimum of six recommendations in Nancy Pearl’s ‘Book Lust,’ a guidebook which lists hundreds of books under of a smorgasbord of varied categories. Only two books are mentioned more than once out of the hundreds, this one being one of the rarities. It took that as a good sign.

It’s like reading a fictional memoir, told through the introspective
first-person POV of the main character Tom. Scattered memories, important life events, constant inner reflections. He’s a married adult with a few girls for children, a suicidal sister he hasn’t seen in years, a mother he has issues with, a failed football coaching career, and a dead brother, he admits freely that his life isn’t going anywhere soon and that he’s stuck. Not just by life’s unfortunate circumstances, but by his own lacking motivations.

Tom, the tragic yet simpatico hero, is a worthy head to be in. Although at times his almost continuous verbal self-pity grates, his humor and oddness wins him points. Lowenstein is weaker. Her lack of realism may seem stem from inconsistent personality. Their relationship, instead of seeming like ‘a match made in heaven’, seems to result more from ‘right time, right place.’ They’re both needy when they begin trekking down past roads.

The mother is wonderfully written, downright fascinating, and is the rock which supports much of the story’s movement.

Conroy pens beautiful passages and poetic descriptions. He has a knack for capturing the atmosphere of the deep south. He works hard – and successfully – at stringing together a troubled family unit. His dialogue, especially when delivering humor, is spot on, yet he harms his writing with the awkward, distracting overuse of names in almost every conversation. Strange as this is usually a writing crime only committed in romance.

Pacing is slow as it reveals bits at a time and voyages between the present day and the past life. Some of the backstories were riveting, while others I held little interest in. There is a strong cut class issue in the family tales as they were in the poorer part of the community.

Conroy illustrates strength of survival with the family, but in a different way for each person. The mother stands as a strong, determined woman who rises above her station in life no matter who or what she sacrifices. Her ability to shrug off people, even her own children, to drive herself ahead shows how little of herself has remained or even ever existed. Perhaps that absence of self is what makes her get so far ahead, but that strength may be more of a weakness since she is missing so many pieces it’s depressing.

Savannah could come across as a weaker character, yet she attempts to rise above her struggles by being the only one to escape the town, the state, to become a writer who medicates herself with words. Her brain works against her with its protective ability to forget. Luke the brother is one of the best characters in the book, born with a simple but iron-clad inner strength, holding strong convictions he’s willing to die for. Tom is the one left, that dependable shoulder to lean on.

Overall it’s a haunting story and in no way celebrates the bonding and sweetness of family. There is a unifying innocence among the siblings as they cling to each other to make it through, but in the end the bond is rather frail. With Tom a little too angst filled some of the time, some awkward dialogue here and there, and dragging the story on a bit too long, I’ve settled for a four rating. It’s not a book that’s perfect, and I think the movie did some of it better (not often to say that!), but it's completely worth a read.

( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
Will Patton
  jmail | Mar 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
In ''The Prince of Tides,'' the smart man and serious writer in Pat Conroy have been temporarily waylaid by the bullying monster of heavy-handed, inflated plot and the siren voice of Mother South at her treacherous worst - embroidered, sentimental, inexact, telling it over and over again as it never was.
added by stephmo | editNew York Times, Gail Godwin (Oct 12, 1986)

» Add other authors (38 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pat Conroyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Conroy, Patmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Hazenberg, AnneliesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Häilä, ArtoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kandinsky, WolframNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated with love and gratitude: to my wife, Lenore Gurewitz Conroy, who hung the moon; to my children, Jessica, Melissa, Megan, and Susannah, Conroys all; to Gregory and Emily Fleischer; to my brothers and sisters, Carol, Michael, Kathleen, James, Timothy, and Thomas; to my father, Colonel Donald Conroy, USMC (Ret.), still great, still Santini; and to the memory of my mother, Peg, the extraordinary woman who built and inspired this house.
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My wound is geography.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553381547, Paperback)

PAT CONROY has created a huge, brash thunderstorm of a novel, stinging with honesty and resounding with drama. Spanning forty years, this is the story of turbulent Tom Wingo, his gifted and troubled twin sister Savannah, and their struggle to triumph over the dark and tragic legacy of the extraordinary family into which they were born.

Filled with the vanishing beauty of the South Carolina low country as well as the dusty glitter of New York City, The Prince of Tides is PAT CONROY at his very best.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:23 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Interweaves the events of Tom Wingo's summer in New York and his relationship to Susan Lowenstein, his sister Savannah's beautiful psychiatrist, and the complex history of the South Carolinian Wingo family, from World War II through Vietnam.

» see all 8 descriptions

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