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Extended Audio Sample The Prince of Tides, 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 (19,343 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Pat Conroy Narrator: Frank Mulle Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 save himself.

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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A big, sprawling saga of a novel…the kind you hole up with and spend some days with and put down feeling you have emerged from a terrible, wonderful spell.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “A masterpiece.”

    Detroit Free Press

  • “This is a powerful book…Conroy is a master of language.”

    Atlanta Journal

  • “Reading Pat Conroy is like watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel.”

    Houston Chronicle

  • “A seductive narrative, told with bravado flourishes, portentous foreshadowing, sardonic humor, and eloquent turns of phrase…Some readers may find here a pale replica of Robert Penn Warren’s powerful evocation of the Southern myth; others may see resemblances to John Irving’s baroque imaginings. Most, however, will be swept along by Conroy’s felicitous, often poetic prose, his ironic comments on the nature of man and society, his passion for the marshland country of the South and his skill with narrative.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Conroy has achieved a penetrating vision of the Southern psyche in this enormous novel of power and emotion.”

    Library Journal

  • “It is the reluctance of Tom to tell all, to recount rather than recreate his family’s past, and to face up to the Wingos’ mutual rejections that maintain the tension just below the story’s surface. It is Tom’s coming clean about his past that lays bare the truth and elevates Prince of Tides above a scintillating bestseller.”

    School Library Journal

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Pam | 2/18/2014

    " Very good book! Kept my interest and enjoyed the story line. Recommend! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Kathleen Cross | 2/11/2014

    " Kind of boring-did not enjoy how it was written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kelly Boone | 2/6/2014

    " Enjoyed it but it did have some inconceivable moments. Loved the newspaper boy descriptions early on!! Made me want to visit charleston sc "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Diane | 2/5/2014

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

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