Hello again, I wanted to share this with you. Have you heard of the American writer Pat Conroy? If I told you he wrote the more popular book called The Prince of Tides which became a movie starring Barbra Streisand and Nick Nolte, it would probably jog your memory better.
Okay, I know the movie The Prince of Tides is 25 years old, but it’s still a good film and the book in my opinion is even better! Give it a read and tell me what you think.
Anyway, back to my main point, Beach Music was published in 1995 but I have just only got around to reading it. It was on my shelf so I dusted it off and got stuck in. And am I glad I did! The first thing to say is, as usual for the late Pat Conroy, it is a long read. I hope you are not rushing off anywhere! Reading Beach Music took a considerable chunk out of my summer, but it was well worth it!
Background to Beach Music
It is an interesting book to say the least. It is essentially about the main character Jack McCall who is shocked and heart-broken by the suicide of his wife Shyla. She leaves behind a young daughter Leah who Jack now has to bring up on his own.
In his quest to start a new life Jack travels to Italy with his daughter and is healing slowly until he is made to return to South Carolina upon hearing some sad news about his mother Lucy.
Thus begins a journey of discovery into the lives of the local characters Jack McCall grew up with including his own mother Lucy. This unravelling of the past will take him into the horrors of the Holocaust as told by some of the local people, eventually leading him into a greater understanding of why his beloved wife jumped to her death.
Despite the novel being shocking and brutal in places it is also intriguing and extremely well-written. It is also about the bonds made by the main character Jack and his boyhood friends that are life affirming and in a large part, help with his healing process. Finally, it is a love affair between Jack and his young daughter Leah which adds more depth to an already complex and absorbing read.
I think the book is beautifully written, stylish and unique. Each character is memorable in their own right. It is so poignant that at times I felt I there in South Carolina even though I was sitting miles away in north London.
Okay, I am a huge Pat Conroy fan. Once you are reading one of his novels you know you are in for a roller coaster ride that will leave you reaching for his next book.
Until next time, happy reading and writing, S