OK, I can’t wait any longer. I’ve tried to get through Pat Conroy’s latest novel South of Broad (2010) for months now to write a review and can’t get past the first chapter. It’s too good. Might as well leave it alone and enjoy it piecemeal.
Conroy’s use of language is so delicious, that I keep devouring the same lines over and over again. Each paragraph is a masterpiece of description, dialogue, nuance and narration. Every time I have a little time to sit down and read, I get caught up in the first course and don’t seem to proceed to the next entree.
The story takes place in Charleston, South Carolina, which in many ways is like another character in and of its self. It’s about a the boy Leopold Bloom King, how he becomes a man, the community that surrounds him and how he and his family react to and live with the suicide of his older idolized brother Steve.
Here is but one example of the languid language that stops me in my tracks. The narrator, Leopold, says, “I carry the delicate porcelain beauty of Charleston like the hinged shell of some soft-tissue mollusk. My soul is peninsula-shaped and sun-hardened and river-swollen.”
Other than taking one quote after another from the novel, there isn’t much more I can say. Pat Conroy’s Beach Music has always been one of my favorite novels of all time and if I can ever get through South of Broad, I’m sure it will have my equal appreciation and praise.