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“Prince of Tides” Timeless

th-3I picked up the audio version for free; downloaded it ages ago, thinking one day I’d give it a listen, but was hesitant.   I knew a movie had been made of Pat Conroy’s novel, but I hadn’t seen that either.

Then I visited South Carolina, and it’s peculiar landscape intrigued me, and when a friend mentioned that this was the setting for The Prince of Tides, I became interested, and remembered that book that had been sitting in my collection, yet the 22 + hours of listening time seemed daunting to me.

I can’t explain any of it, except to suggest that maybe books find us when we are ready – like teachers that have been waiting in the wings and emerge just at the right moment.

The Prince of Tides is an epic tale of family dysfunction:  the struggle to survive violence, madness, and an oppressive social standing.  I saw my own father in Henry Wingo, a shrimper and dreamer, whose failure to connect with his children creates long lasting chasms.  I shared Tom’s anger for a mother who insisted they pretend nothing happened, just as my own mother tried to cover up our family’s secrets.  And my heart wept for a sister driven to madness by the insanity of it all, just as my sister had been.

Conroy writing is lyrical – he is an artist, whose words, like intricate brush strokes, paint a masterpiece depicting the wonder of a South Carolinian landscape and the angst of the family who knew it as home.

Conroy himself attributes the novel’s success to Frank Muller’s narration, who reads the piece convincingly, as if he is the voice of Tom Wingo.

Prince of Tides is timeless, and merits a read, or even better, a listen.  You might just find an echo of yourself, as I did.

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Categories: Book review fiction

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V.J. Knutson

Writer, avid reader, former educator, and proud grandmother, currently experiencing life through the lens of ME/CFS. Words are, and always have been, a lifeline. Some of the best adventures, I'm discovering, take place in the imagination.

3 replies

  1. I love Pat Conroy’s writing. “The Prince of Tides,” takes on a detailed journey of dysfunction throughout the family. The movie was good, but it could not approach the book because of the breadth of unusual characters. My favorite part is the grandfather who used to drag a cross around town to honor Jesus during Easter. When he got too hold to drag the cross, they put it on roller skates. What an inventive idea! And, the Esso Tiger…

    His other novels are excellent. This is my favorite one, but I enjoyed greatly “The Lords of Discipline,” “The Water is Wide,”and “South of Broad Street.” Thanks for the memories. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

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