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Charleston, S.C., gossip columnist Leopold Bloom King narrates a paean to his hometown and friends in Conroy's first novel in 14 years. In the late '60s and after his brother commits suicide, then 18-year-old Leo befriends a cross-section of the city's inhabitants: scions of Charleston aristocracy; Appalachian orphans; a black football coach's son; and an astonishingly beautiful pair of twins, Sheba and Trevor Poe, who are evading their psychotic father. The story alternates between 1969, the glorious year Leo's coterie stormed Charleston's social, sexual and racial barricades, and 1989, when Sheba, now a movie star, enlists them to find her missing gay brother in AIDS-ravaged San Francisco. Too often the not-so-witty repartee and the narrator's awed voice (he is very fond of superlatives) overwhelm the stories surrounding the group's love affairs and their struggles to protect one another from dangerous pasts. Some characters are tragically lost to the riptides of love and obsession, while others emerge from the frothy waters of sentimentality and nostalgia as exhausted as most readers are likely to be. Fans of Conroy's florid prose and earnest melodramas are in for a treat. (Aug.)
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Pat Conroy's highly anticipated work earned a decidedly lackluster response from critics, who cited overblown prose, cardboard characters, and implausible plot twists among the novel's key sins. The Dallas Morning News quite candidly noted: "[H]e goes on and on—and on—about the glories of Charleston, S.C., to the point that many readers will be tempted to hurl the book into the nearest vessel of water." But the news wasn't all bad. The Chicago Sun-Times hailed the novel as "a gripping saga," and even disappointed critics, many of them longtime Conroy fans, admitted the 500-plus page novel contained moments of glorious storytelling. Overall, however, readers may find their time better spent rereading Conroy's beloved The Prince of Tides.See all Editorial Reviews
Great character development. Really enjoyed it. Highly recommended.Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
I was unimpressed from the first page, but kept reading the first third of the book until I was totally disgusted with the subject matter, as well as bored. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Dianne F.
As always the language is just beautiful and the story was greatPublished 15 days ago by Carol Goldklang
This is a book worth reading. It took me more than half way through to decide I could recommend it. Going into part two, I thought it was frivolous, or little value. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Elizabeth E. Kugel
This is not Pat Conroy's best. Totally uneven, like several episodes put together. Although he worships Charleston, the book as a whole is a sad, sometimes shocking, tale about the... Read morePublished 17 days ago by EMB