Friday, March 5, 2010

Pat Conroy Blog Tour in April

TLC Book Tours will be sponsoring a blog tour next month.

Meanderings and Muses is going to play.

And guess who the guest is going to be?!

Pat Conroy.


My literary hero.  

Author of The Boo, The Water is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, The Prince of Tides, Beach Music, My Losing Season, and The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes of My Life.

Most of you already know what a huge Pat Conroy fan I am and have read my earlier blogs squealing about him, and about his work, so I am quite naturally tickled pink about Meanderings and Muses being one of the tour hosts.  Tickled pink?!  Hell Honeys, I am over the moon. 

And if you'll bear with me, please, I'm going to repeat my Pat Conroy story.

When Donald and I were still living in Atlanta, Mr. Conroy did a signing of "Beach Music," and we, of course, went to Mr. Conroy's signing. My first edition personally inscribed and autographed copy of this marvelous book is one of my life's treasures. As is remembering the conversation we had regarding Fripp Island. While we waited in line, Donald kept saying things like "now you need to talk to him - don't freeze up, tell him how much you admire his work, tell him you love Fripp Island - say something!!" So, when it came time to hand this great man my book, I spurted out "I love Fripp Island. Wish I lived there." (brilliant, huh?! pfft). Mr. Conroy stood up, left his chair, came around the table, asked our names, shook our hands, leaned against the table and said "You know Fripp Island? Tell me how you know Fripp." I could have died. But I rambled on at some length about how a group of very close friends would go to Fripp every year for Memorial Day weekend. How we would always rent the same big old house at the very tippy end of the island and how we did that for several years and how those weekends were some of the loveliest of my life. Without missing a beat, he said - "I've heard of you! Weren't you and your friends told to leave the island and never return?!" And threw his head back and laughed a big booming, from the soul, laugh. And so did I. That, of course, never happened, but that he could even just say such an outrageous thing, made me just want to laugh with him, and kneel at his feet. He then proceeded to chat with us at length about Fripp, and his love for the island, acting as though we were the only people in the room with him at the time. I was honored by his attentiveness, and completely in awe of his graciousness. If I had not been a huge fan before, that did it. He's funny, ever so personable, I love him and he is one of my heroes. We all need heroes.

Cool that we'll be a part  of this blog tour? VERY cool!

Even though -

Unfortunately, Mr. Conroy is too busy to really participate in the tour by writing guest posts. And that makes me kinda sad.  But.  There is a very slight possibility that he might be available to answer questions. I'm not sure I'd count on this, but it's lovely to think it "might" happen.  So drop by on Wednesday, April 7th and leave a comment, then cross your fingers and click your heels and wish on a star and who knows, maybe Mr. Conroy will pop in and respond.  Well, it COULD happen!  Right?!

GOOD NEWS is that I'm able to offer a give-away to those of you who stop by and leave a comment at Meanderings and Muses on the day of our event. So, if you'd like your name entered in a drawing for a trade/paperback copy of the book to be sent to you by the publisher, please stop back on Wednesday, April 7th. Remember, please, to include your email address with your comment. (Random House will ship to US/Canadian addresses only). 


A little about SOUTH OF BROAD.   

From TLC Book Tours:  "Leopold Bloom King has been raised in a family shattered—and shadowed—by tragedy. Lonely and adrift, he searches for something to sustain him and finds it among a tightly knit group of high school outsiders. Surviving marriages happy and troubled, unrequited loves and unspoken longings, hard-won successes and devastating breakdowns, as well as Charleston, South Carolina’s dark legacy of racism and class divisions, these friends will endure until a final test forces them to face something none of them are prepared for.

Spanning two turbulent decades, South of Broad is Pat Conroy at his finest: a masterpiece from a great American writer whose passion for life and language knows no bounds."

From Kirkus (starred review):  "[The] first novel in 14 years from the gifted spinner of Southern tales (Beach Music, 1995, etc.) – a tail-wagging shaggy dog at turns mock-epic and gothic, beautifully written throughout. The title refers, meaningfully, to a section of Charleston, S.C., and, as with so many Southern tales, one great story begets another and another. This one starts promisingly: ‘Nothing happens by accident.' Indeed. The Greeks knew that, and so does young Leopold Bloom King. It is on Bloomsday 1969 that 18-year-old Leo learns his mother had once been a nun. Along the way, new neighbors appear, drugs make their way into the idyllic landscape and two new orphans turn up ‘behind the cathedral on Broad Street.' The combination of all these disparate elements bears the unmistakable makings of a spirit-shaping saga. The year 1969 is a heady one, of course, with the Summer of Love still fresh in memory, but Altamont on the way and Vietnam all around. Working a paper route along the banks of the Ashley River and discovering the poetry of place, Leo gets himself in a heap of trouble, commemorated years later by the tsk-tsking of the locals. But he also finds out something about how things work and who makes them work right – or not. Leo's classic coming-of-age tale sports, in the bargain, a king-hell hurricane. Conroy is a natural at weaving great skeins of narrative and this one will prove a great pleasure to his many fans."

From Booklist:  "An unlikely group of Charlestonian teens forms a friendship in 1969, just as the certainties and verities of southern society are quaked by the social and political forces unleashed earlier in the decade. They come from all walks of life, from the privileged homes of the aristocracy, from an orphanage, from a broken home where an alcoholic mother and her twins live in fear of a murderous father, from the home of public high school's first black football coach, and from the home of the same school's principal. The group's fulcrum, Leopold Bloom King, is just climbing out of childhood mental illness after having discovered his handsome, popular, athletic, scholarly older brother dead from suicide. Over the next two decades, these friends find success in journalism, the bar, law enforcement, music, and Hollywood. Echoing some themes from his earlier novels, Conroy fleshes out the almost impossibly dramatic details of each of the friends' lives in this vast, intricate story, and he reveals truths about love, lust, class, racism, religion, and what it means to be shaped by a particular place, be it Charleston, South Carolina, or anywhere else in the U.S."

From Publisher's Weekly:  "Leopold Bloom King narrates a paean to his hometown and friends in Conroy's first novel in 14 years. In the late '60s and after his brother commits suicide, then 18-year-old Leo befriends a cross-section of the city's inhabitants: scions of Charleston aristocracy; Appalachian orphans; a black football coach's son; and an astonishingly beautiful pair of twins, Sheba and Trevor Poe, who are evading their psychotic father. The story alternates between 1969, the glorious year Leo's coterie stormed Charleston's social, sexual and racial barricades, and 1989, when Sheba, now a movie star, enlists them to find her missing gay brother in AIDS-ravaged San Francisco. Some characters are tragically lost to the riptides of love and obsession, while others emerge from the frothy waters of sentimentality and nostalgia. Fans of Conroy's florid prose and earnest melodramas are in for a treat." 

My own paltry attempt at reviewing SOUTH OF BROAD will be here on April 7th.  In the meantime, visit Mr. Conroy's website - there are a couple of very interesting video interviews, descriptions of all his books, and other fun things to be found there; including a guest book you can sign.

FTC Disclosure Notice:
Pat Conroy
Nan A. Talese/Doubleday
Publication date: August 11, 2009
Price: $29.95
ISBN: 978-0-385-41305-3
I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher.
No payment of any kind has been made for my stated opinion.


Vicki Lane said...

Well isn't that cool! Good for you, Kaye!

Mason Canyon said...

Congratulations on participating in the tour. Sounds great. Love the story of you meeting Mr. Conroy.

Sounds like an interesting book. I'll be sure to check out your review of it.