Book Reviews / literature

Revisiting The Prince of Tides

I was thinking the other day about books and summer and books to read in summer. I was thinking about books mainly that I have read before, since I never seem to do as much reading anymore, and one particular book came back to me. The Prince of Tides is an amazing piece of fiction by Pat Conroy. I say this because it is an intricately complicated story about a southern family written it in the most beautiful language. It was also a movie, of course, and it is quiet possible to cheat, but I must recommend the book for fiction aficionados.

Tom Wingo, the narrator of the story, makes the reader feel his southern childhood. He loves the land, it is very much a part of him and this is given in the prologue of the book:

“My wound is geography. It is also my anchorage, my port of call.”

As the reader travels along with Tom in the story, the vivid descriptions of that South Carolina landscape color the tale and draw people right into it:

“It was growing dark on this long southern evening and suddenly, at the exact point her finger had indicated, the moon lifted a forehead of stunning gold above the horizon, lifted straight out of filigreed, light-intoxicated clouds that lay on the skyline in attendant veils. Behind us, the sun was setting in a simultaneous congruent withdrawal and the river turned to flame in a quiet duel of gold…”

The family dynamics are much less than perfect, there is heartbreak, there are secrets, death and mourning, and relationships that form but cannot be sustained.

“The Wingos were a family that fate tested a thousand times and left defenseless, humiliated, and dishonored. But my family also carried some strengths into the fray, and these strengths let almost all of us survive the descent of the Furies….”

This is an old book that was first published in 1986, and the movie was released in 1991 with Nick Nolte in the starring role as Tom Wingo and Barbra Streisand as the psychiatrist that he falls in love with while attempting to help his sister suffering from depression.

There are a lot of good books out there, but every now and then I like to come back to one that I feel is special as I believe this one fits the criteria. I would have to say that my current book (both in terms of reading and publication date) which happens to be, The Storied Life Of A.J. Fikry, well… I would have to say that I could easily be lured away from it. The Prince of Tides may be the book that lures me. A truly compelling piece of fiction; Pat Conroy is not only a master of storytelling but also a master of lyrical language.



14 thoughts on “Revisiting The Prince of Tides

  1. I read the book at the time and loved it. I’ve even managed to find it amongst all my books and will now take it with me on holiday for a revisit. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. This was a great post to start book discussions! I read and re-read “The Keys to the Kingdom,” “Great Expectations,” “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” and “Out of Africa.” As a middle school child I loved, “Little Women,” “The Trapp Family Singers” and “Cheaper by the Dozen.”
    I also liked “Prince of Tides” but my favorite one of Pat Conroy’s life was “Conrack” about his early teaching years. My friend liked the first book of a sort of biographical trilogy, “The Great Santini.” The book,”Angela’s Ashes” was a part of an autobiographical trilogy. I want to say, Frank McCourt was the author. I am pecking away in bed on my phone. . . 🙂

    • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is my favorite book…or tied at least with To Kill a Mockinbird. I love Frank McCourt and his books, Angela’s Ashes and Teacher Man. I will have to check out the other Pat Conroy book, thanks so much for naming these. Have you ever read Rick Bragg, All Over But The Shoutin’ ?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s