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Extended Audio Sample South of Broad: A Novel Audiobook, by Pat Conroy Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (19,351 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Pat Conroy Narrator: Mark Deakins Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2009 ISBN: 9780739382943
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The publishing event of the season: The one and only Pat Conroy returns, with a big, sprawling novel that is at once a love letter to Charleston and to lifelong friendship.

Against the sumptuous backdrop of Charleston, South Carolina, South of Broad gathers a unique cast of sinners and saints. Leopold Bloom King, our narrator, is the son of an amiable, loving father who teaches science at the local high school. His mother, an ex-nun, is the high school principal and a well-known Joyce scholar. After Leo's older brother commits suicide at the age of thirteen, the family struggles with the shattering effects of his death, and Leo, lonely and isolated, searches for something to sustain him. Eventually, he finds his answer when he becomes part of a tightly knit group of high school seniors that includes friends Sheba and Trevor Poe, glamorous twins with an alcoholic mother and a prison-escapee father; hardscrabble mountain runaways Niles and Starla Whitehead; socialite Molly Huger and her boyfriend, Chadworth Rutledge X; and an ever-widening circle whose liaisons will ripple across two decades-from 1960s counterculture through the dawn of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. 

The ties among them endure for years, surviving marriages happy and troubled, unrequited loves and unspoken longings, hard-won successes and devastating breakdowns, and Charleston's dark legacy of racism and class divisions. But the final test of friendship that brings them to San Francisco is something no one is prepared for. South of Broad is Pat Conroy at his finest; a long-awaited work from a great American writer whose passion for life and language knows no bounds.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Conroy is a master of American fiction and he has proved it once again in this magnificent love letter to his beloved Charleston, and to friendships that will stand the test of time.”

    BookPage

  • “Beautifully written throughout…Conroy is a natural at weaving great skeins of narrative, and this one will prove a great pleasure to his many fans.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Conroy writes with a momentum that’s impossible to resist.”

    People

  • “Conroy is an immensely gifted stylist…No one can describe a tide or a sunset with his lyricism and exactitude.”

    Washington Post

  • Selected for the August 2009 Indie Next List
  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Becky Blake | 2/4/2014

    " i want to pack up and visit Charleston right now! I could not put it down, 480 pages but I read it in 3 days. If I say much else, I will tread on spoiler territory...one plot device I didn't buy, but otherwise solid. Movie? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marla | 1/28/2014

    " This book was so enjoyable! I couldn't put it down. You really get sucked into the storyline. I recommend this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nanci | 1/28/2014

    " A great story with an interesting and unexpected twist! Colorful characters with a lot of depth. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 1/27/2014

    " I really enjoyed how the story kept moving. There were a lot of characters so I had to remind myself early on how they were connected to one another, but eventually I knew them. It is a good book to take to the beach or on vacation. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Grace Kerrigan | 1/26/2014

    " One of my favorites--you are going to love Leopold Bloom. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paula | 1/25/2014

    " Filled with quirky southern characters!!! A book you hate to finish "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Blaine Morrow | 1/21/2014

    " Conroy's writing is sumptuous, and this story is exemplary. The friendships and improbable pairings reflect a changing South (focused on Charleston here) and a faith in the ties that bind (not necessarily familial). This being Pat Conroy, you know there will be pain, but when it comes he softens it with the friendships and loyalties that don't allow anyone to suffer alone. Many (perhaps too many) pervasive issues here: race, homosexuality, child abuse (of course), suicide, AIDS, class warfare. But this is one author who can make you want to read even as you dread what he's going to say. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tiffany Mcclure | 1/20/2014

    " It started off strong and got almost silly and unbelievable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane | 1/13/2014

    " Beautifully written in the best tradition of southern authors. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff | 12/26/2013

    " This book has five parts and each of them could have been a book in itself. Leo King seemed too nice of a character without any clear flaws except his love for his wife, who he refuses to divorce. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lyn | 12/15/2013

    " I have never read Pat Conroy before. This was for my book club and I have to say, I did really enjoy it. The characters were interesting and complex, but I was most impressed by the depth of his descriptions. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tiffany | 12/11/2013

    " I liked this book. However, it could have been condensed. It was too long and just kind of dragged out. Took me forever to read. I had a hard time staying focused. But the characters were interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lucy | 11/17/2013

    " I truly enjoyed this story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Contressa | 10/27/2013

    " Pat Conroy is good at writing about Tragedy and Charleston SC. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Delecia Sampson krevet | 7/27/2013

    " This is a difficult read. Too many characters. Too many story lines and a dialogue that quite frankly really rubbed me the wrong way for the first third of the book. This is my first book by this author and most likely my last. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca Ard | 6/8/2013

    " It was a strange story of a bunch of friends and life a few years later. It was an interesting read but certainly not what I am looking for in a great read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kalynn Blum | 4/14/2013

    " A very long, tiring book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jwcollein | 3/1/2013

    " Always good to read Pat Conroy. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Donna | 1/3/2013

    " This book would not have been published if not for the Authors fame. Badly written, clearly full of himself, bunch of macho b.s. I felt I was reading a script for a 70's episode of "Dallas". "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Surbhee | 10/13/2012

    " I loved the way the writer keeps you engaged with the lives of all the characters. He has very accurately captured how relationships between friends evolve over time. The underlying mystery just adds to the whole concept. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 9/9/2012

    " I absolutely loved this book and could not put it down. The characters were wonderful, the plot was excellent and the scenery was magnificent. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate Zachry | 3/23/2012

    " I love Pat Conroy's writing and characters, but this is probably my least favorite of his books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ellen Kossoris | 10/15/2011

    " A very intense mystery, along with excellent character development. I could "see" the characters and by the end of the story, I knew them well. The writing was beautiful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lawrence Miller | 10/7/2011

    " I love the writing of Pat Conroy. This is a journey of highs and lows with a two decade time span. Typical of Conroy, its setting is Charleston with its old traditions butting against social changes, such as segregation. Interesting all the way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peggy | 10/6/2011

    " Pat Conroy never fails me! I enjoyed every word of this book! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lori | 6/11/2011

    " Loved his Lords of Discipline. This one, not so much. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joyce | 5/24/2011

    " The cast of characters certainly kept my interest, however the story line sometimes seemed improbable

    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katie | 5/21/2011

    " Not the best Pat Conroy. Parts of it don't even seem like Pat Conroy "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 5/21/2011

    " Not my favorite Pat Conroy book but a decent book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 5/20/2011

    " The story is compelling. The vulgar language used was not the kind of language needed to portray the story. Too much vile language overshadowed the depth of character development. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Florence | 5/19/2011

    " Well-developed characters and good story which seemed to include most all hot-button topics from dysfunctional families, integration, abuse amid interesting story line. I enjoy Pat Conroy's writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janet | 5/18/2011

    " loved it - somewhat disturbing though "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elaine | 5/16/2011

    " Very interesting book about the twists and turns of a group of friends growing up in Charleston in the late 1960s/early 1970s. The narrator brings the group together and they share much sorrow and happiness. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Becky | 5/15/2011

    " This may become an all time favorite. It is long but worth the time. Many fantastic characters and an engaging plot that spans many topics. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dmehringer | 5/15/2011

    " LOVED this story set in Charleston, following an unlikely group of friends from school age (1960s) into their mature adult lives. Incredible friendships, brilliant dialogue and storytelling.
    This one is a must-read! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heather | 5/15/2011

    " I wanted to enjoy this much more than I did. Pat Conroy makes misery look so beautiful, but in this book it felt like he was trying to tell about 4 novels' worth of miserable stories at once, and it was tedious. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Keely | 5/14/2011

    " This is probably more of a three star book but it grabbed me from the beginning and I couldn't stop reading it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angela | 5/13/2011

    " This is the first novel by pat Conroy I have read. Absolutely loved it so have purchased The Prince of Tides which I am currently reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brenda | 5/13/2011

    " Loved the earlier Conroy novels, but I feel he's a bit flabby and overblown in his prose with this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gaerda | 5/12/2011

    " Captivating book on dysfunctional family relationships. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doreen | 5/10/2011

    " Wonderful characters, full of so much love, pathos, hope, a novel of our times "

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About the Author
Author Pat Conroy

Donald Patrick “Pat” Conroy (1945–2016) was an American author of acclaimed novels and memoirs, two of which made it to #1 on New York Times bestsellers list: Beach Music and South of Broad. Four of his novels were made into major motion pictures: The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, Conrack, and The Lords of Discipline. The novel on which the movie Conrack was based, The Water Is Wide, won an NEA Human and Civil Rights Award and an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.

About the Narrator

Mark Deakins is an actor whose television appearances include Head Case, Star Trek: Voyager, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. His film credits include Intervention, Star Trek: Insurrection, and The Devil’s Advocate. He recently wrote, directed, and produced the short film The Smith Interviews.