South of Broad, Pat Conroy

Pat Conroy invites readers into his life.

August 2009

No need to rehash all the plot points already covered here and in other places. Instead, I want to underscore the power of Conroy’s insights. The depth of  characterization and the beauty of each unique person is the foundation of this remarkable book. For a writer, it is a model of near perfection, on par with any classic or modern fiction I’ve ever read. The ending perfectly balances and ties up all the filaments of this finely spun tale and left me satisfied, not needing or wanting more answers to any questions. To me, that is the test… that it is a completely realized rendering of an incident or a period in a life. The narrator is honest, fearless and human. His observations of himself and his friends are keen. Underscoring the humor and sadness of the various characteris is the understanding that this book was a healing in its writing. They may all be fictional compilations, but the author/narrator, the metaphysical spirit of the book feels authentic and honest. In the dramatic as well as the capricious adventures of this band of friends, whose responses to life and their destinies took shape in the 1960s, the writer’s mastery is delicate yet firm, driving the plot to its inevitable end. The story goes between 1969 and 1989, but it is about all the space in between as well. There is a lot of a loss in this story. The losses are not not neatly sewn together with platitudes and coincidences, they are felt losses emotionally dran. The joys are a somewhat muted.. the successes modest, the fates established. Wonderful, powerful, resonant long
after finishing it.

FICTION WRITERS: This is what we strive for.

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