Like a lot of readers, I’m a huge Pat Conroy fan. If I had to pick a favorite book, it would be The Prince of Tides, and I devoured Beach Music and The Great Santini, too. I was thrilled when I heard Conroy would be back with a new novel this fall – his first in 14 years!
At BookPage we’re lucky enough to get advanced copies of books a few months ahead of publication, but I wasn’t expecting to see the new Conroy, called South of Broad, until May or June. So imagine my delight when it arrived in our piles of mail yesterday! The on sale date has moved up from September 15th to August 11th and I can hardly wait to dig in this weekend.
Conroy’s latest narrator is Leopold (Leo) Bloom King, and South of Broad tracks his life in Charleston, South Carolina after the suicide of his older brother. His family shattered, Leo eventually finds his place with a tightly knit group of high school friends, and the novel follows the intersections and complications of their lives through adulthood. I can’t wait to meet these characters, and I couldn’t resist taking a sneak peek at the Prologue this morning. Conroy begins: “It was my father who called the city the Mansion on the River. He was talking about Charleston, South Carolina, and he was a native son, peacock proud of a town so pretty it makes your eyes ache with pleasure just to walk down its spellbinding, narrow streets. Charleston was my father’s ministry, his hobbyhorse, his quiet obsession, and the great love of his life. His bloodstream lit up my own wit a passion for the city that I’ve never lost nor ever will. I’m Charleston-born, and bred. The city’s two rivers, the Ashley and the Cooper, have flooded and shaped all the days of my life on this storied peninsula.”
If the first paragraph is any indication, we are in for another treat, courtesy of the great Pat Conroy.