Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Prince Of Tides

I didn't know Pat Conroy.. never heard of him or his books and then i saw his review on the cover of Shantaram and friend commented that he was her favorite author.. that made me pick up "The Prince of Tides".now i can't wait to read his other famous book - Beach Music.
Prince of Tides is about Tom Wingo (who is as southern as southern can be)..from South Carolina.. He comes from a highly dysfunctional family with parents who don't understand each other and a brother,luke, and a sister,savannah. The story line shifts easily between past and present. the present is pretty unhappy - savannah is in the hospital after one more of her numerous suicide attempts and tom goes to new york to meet with her psychiatrist, susan lowenstein. savannah has lost large parts of her memory and susan is trying to help savannah by making tom re-create her past.
if you are looking for a happy book, this is definitely not your pick...i don't think even one character in the book is happy. everyone is plagued by their own worries. Each one deals with their issues in a different way..savannah goes crazy, tom shuts it all in, his wife has an extra marital affair, etc etc. i kept waiting for something happy to happen till the end and i didnt get it. but that of course didnt stop me from liking this deep and emotional book.
the book is very well written and characters are very well defined. by the end of the book, it was as though i had known the wingos all my life.
the book is definitely not dry.. every incident is deeply imprinted in your brain . one of the most unforgettable scene is where tom discovers savannah with her still-born sister in bed one night when they were kids. i guess this is where you start knowing that she's very deeply disturbed..
i dont think any amount of describing will bring the essence of the book out. you have to read it to feel it.
i think that this novel is brilliant and very powerful. the book is like a collection of various short stories.. there is the story of the white porpoise, the story of their grandfather's religious parade, the story of the giant and the black widow spiders,etc.
finding out who the 'prince of tides' of tides is half the suspense in the novel..and the author enthralls you with teasers as he narrates the past and those teasers make you want to complete the novel to find out what actually happens.
i totally loved this book and i truly dont know why.. this is not the kind of book i would typically like.. but i loved it. if you ever get to read this book..let me know what you thought of it!

1 comment:

email said...

Read it. Loved it! I just wrote a post about Beach Music, which is my favorite of his novels. If you liked Prince of Tides, you'll LOVE Beach Music.

I'm from the Lowcountry area in SC where Conroy bases his novels, and I can tell you he perfectly captures the visceral connection those of us who grew up there have to the area and the people. His language is captivating. I think you'll find Beach Music to be the best of his novels so far. He just gets better and better.