Told through the point of view of Tom Wingo, The Prince of Tides is a classic study of a Southern family, the intensity of characters caught up in family conflicts and guilt, and the far-reaching psychological effects visited upon children from dysfunctional relationships in their formative years.
The novel takes place in Manhattan, where Tom Wingo has been summoned to help his comatose twin sister, Savannah, recover from yet another suicide attempt. Her psychiatrist, Dr. Susan Lowenstein, believes Tom can help Savannah by pulling up events from their past and finally divulging secrets from one fateful, secret day Savannah could not fully confront in past psychiatric sessions.
Tom has been affected by the same past events as his sister, having lost his job as a high school teacher and coach after having a nervous breakdown of his own.
The events of the novel seesaw back and forth from present-day Manhattan to the childhood and adolescent days of Tom, Savannah and their older brother Luke as they attempt to live as normal a life as possible, despite the discord between their father, Henry Wingo, and mother, Lila. The family grew up in isolated Melrose Island, off Charleston, South Carolina, where Tom tried one business deal after another while eking out a living as a shrimper.
Desiring a higher-class social life, Lila's continual harangue and infliction of guilt upon everyone within hearing distance also laid down psychological scars within her children.
The novel takes listeners through a heart-breaking Southern tale as Tom attempts to save the life of his sister, and ends up saving his own life as well as that of Dr. Lowenstein in the process.
American writer Pat Conroy was born in 1945 in Atlanta, Georgia and currently Conroy resides in Fripp Island, South Carolina. The first of seven children born to a career military officer father and a mother from Alabama, Conroy credits his family upbringing with much of the background for his novels.
Conroy attended The Citadel Military Academy in Charleston at his father's insistence. He later taught English in Beaufort, South Carolina and continued to work his teaching experiences into his novels.
Throughout his career, Conroy's life figures into his partly autobiographical novels. His love of the English language is apparent to any fan of Conroy, many of whom love it just as much as he does.
In this bestselling novel, Pat Conroy tells the story of Tom
Wingo, his twin sister, Savannah, and the dark and violent past of the family
into which they were born.
Set in New York City and the low-country of South Carolina, The Prince of Tides opens when Tom, a
high school football coach whose marriage and career are crumbling, flies from
South Carolina to New York after learning of his twin sister’s suicide attempt.
Savannah is one of the most gifted poets of her generation, and both the
cadenced beauty of her art and the jumbled cries of her illness are clues to
the too-long-hidden story of her wounded family. In the paneled offices and
luxurious restaurants of New York City, Tom and Susan Lowenstein, Savannah’s
psychiatrist, unravel a history of violence, abandonment, commitment, and love.
And Tom realizes that trying to save his sister is perhaps his last chance to
With passion and a rare gift of language, Pat Conroy moves
from present to past, tracing the amazing history of the Wingos from World War
II through the final days of the war in Vietnam and into the 1980s, drawing a
rich range of characters: the lovable, crazy Mr. Fruit, who for decades has
wordlessly directed traffic at the same intersection in the southern town of
Colleton; Reese Newbury, the ruthless, patrician land speculator who threatens
the Wingos’ only secure worldly possession, Melrose Island; Herbert Woodruff,
Susan Lowenstein’s husband, a world-famous violinist; Tolitha Wingo, Savannah’s
mentor and eccentric grandmother, the first real feminist in the Wingo family.
Pat Conroy reveals the lives of his characters with
surpassing depth and power, capturing the vanishing beauty of the South
Carolina low-country and a lost way of life. Download and start listening now!