I’ll miss new words from the great Pat Conroy

Pat Conroy, crafter of characters. RIP. (From Getty Images)

Pat Conroy, crafter of characters. RIP. (From Getty Images)

Thank you, Pat Conroy, for all the hours of wonder you gave me. Through all these decades, you shared precious chunks of time in my life. In my 30s, 40s and 50s, I’ve spent stolen moments gripping your novels, wordlessly turning the pages, my mind transported to your beautifully crafted, realistically flawed, undeniably entertaining people and places and problems.

Too late with my praises, I know.

Our southern gem of a novelist passed away at the age of 70 at his home in Beaufort, S.C., earlier this month, falling to pancreatic cancer.

Fortunately, his novels remain stocked on the shelves of my mind, and the libraries of the nation and world, and digital corridors of gadgets and stores. The Great Santini, my introduction to his south, with the military father terrorizing his wife and son, unrelenting at home and admired so much at base for those very ways. The Lords of Discipline found next, young people suffering and growing at a military academy. The Prince of Tides, a family tortured by so much and the most mainstream popular of the movies made from his work, what with Barbra Streisand at a peak playing the psychiatrist. Beach Music about aging and growth. And all of his list, every word, sentence, paragraph, chapter.

His life was not easy, they say. That’s why he wrote the way he did. Write what you know, after all.

So, yes, thank you, Pat Conroy. It must have been quite a process, getting these masterpieces from your soul to your fingertips to my eyes.

That’s it.

Unless …

Perhaps there’s a manuscript squirreled away, to be unearthed by suffering, loving survivors.

Here’s the link to the photo and an obituatary for Pat Conroy.

What’s your favorite Pat Conroy novel, and why? Who’s your favorite southern American novelist, and why? Have you enjoyed a posthumously discovered book, and why?


11 thoughts on “I’ll miss new words from the great Pat Conroy

  1. My favorite Pat Conroy novel was The Prince of Tides. It will be sad to see him go. My favorite southern fictional authors are John Grisham, Charlaine Harris, Patricia Cornwell.


  2. the water is wide and my reading life are both my favs. ‘water’ was the story of him as a new teacher and ‘reading’ was about how he came to love reading and writing, both things i can identify with. )


  3. I loved all his books but South of Broad was my favorite. I visited Charleston, SC last year and anxiously awaited a Pat Conroy sighting. While touring The Citadel I couldn’t help but think of him (and Frank Underwood of House of Cards fame). I was just telling my husband that I’m still sad over his passing, I guess I’m mourning the thought of no more books. I recently discovered the works of Carol Shields who passed away over a decade ago. The Stone Diaries was a great read & I’ve recommended it to many friends.


    • That must have been exciting, hoping for a Conroy sighting in Charlston, Judy. And thinking of Frank Underwood and not only Pat, but his characters from ‘The Lords of Discipline’ while at The Citadel, for sure! I’ll now have to check out Carol Shields. Thank you. ❤


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