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South of Broad (Hardcover)

Another Gift to the South, June 16, 2009
By W Ray "W Ray" (Bay County)

I read an advanced reader's copy of this new Conroy novel and must
say that it is simply beautiful from the first line. The story, set in
the late sixties till the nineties, mostly in Charleston, is centered on
the life of Leo King. Born into a devout Catholic family, Leo is haunted
by his brother's suicide, and trying to salvage a ruined adolescence with
the help of a handful of best friends, who have their own histories and
ghosts to deal with. Conroy often writes of salvation through friendship,
and this is his strongest novel yet on the subject. It is also an
unexpectedly Catholic novel, and at base, a very devout one. The South,
and the Low Country in particular, are exalted, beloved, and cherished in
prose so fine it breaks your heart. I don't want to spoil the story in
any way, but have to say that the last pages did that thing that modern
novels seem incapable of doing these days: it lifted my heart, ending on
just the loveliest, most affirming word (won't say what.)

Read the first line and you'll understand.

I would give this SIX or more stars if possible!, July 11, 2009
By BeachReader (Delaware)

I was lucky to have a fairy godmother loan me an ARC of this book. But I will be buying my own copy and re-reading it on August 11....I loved it that much.

SOUTH OF BROAD was simply A M A Z I N G and well worth the many years of waiting. I am looking forward to re-reading this so I can savor even more the language, the story, the atmosphere. WOW!

Conroy uses the most beautiful language -- it just made me want to read some sentences over and over. I found myself reading some parts aloud, just to hear the way the words resonated.

Not only is the writing beautiful, but Conroy's storytelling is so compelling and just captivated me. The characters are so well-developed....I even liked the ones that were supposed to be unlikable. These characters' unbreakable ties continue for years, though distance and circumstances separate some at different times.

One of the main characters was the city of Charleston, with all of its glory and all of its problems. Conroy's obvious love of Charleston shows in his luminous writing about it.

Some reviewers have described SOUTH OF BROAD as lyrical, poetic, compelling, breathtaking, passionate. I agree with all they say...I just loved this book.

I have been a Conroy fan since reading THE WATER IS WIDE in 1972 (based on Conroy's work as a teacher on Daufuskie Island, South Carolina). It was made into a movie, entitled CONRACK, a couple of years later. I have since read everything he has written, including his cookbook and THE BOO (hard to find, but I managed to do so). He wrote it just after his graduation from The Citadel in 1970. It is about Lt. Colonel Thomas "The Boo" Courvoise, the Commandant of Cadets at the Citadel.

Highly recommended.