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.
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?