Today’s featured book is a chunkster I plan to read early in the New Year. (768 pages). It’s Beach Music, by Pat Conroy.
Intro: In 1980, a year after my wife leapt to her death from the Silas Pearlman Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina, I moved to Italy to begin life anew, taking our small daughter with me. Our sweet Leah was not quite two when my wife, Shyla, stopped her car on the highest point of the bridge and looked over, for the last time, the city she loved so well. She had put on the emergency brake and opened the door of our car, then lifted herself up to the rail of the bridge with the delicacy and enigmatic grace that was always Shyla’s catlike gift. She was also quick-witted and funny, but she carried within her a dark side that she hid with bright allusions and an irony as finely wrought as lace. She had so mastered the strategies of camouflage that her own history had seemed a series of well-placed mirrors that kept her hidden from herself.
Teaser: “Do you remember how much I loved you as a baby, Leah?” Lucy asked, hugging the child to her.
“I can’t remember anything about South Carolina,” Leah said. “I’ve tried, but I just can’t.” (p. 275).
Blurb: PAT CONROY, America’s preeminent storyteller, delivers a sweeping novel of lyric intensity and searing truth–the story of Jack McCall, an American expatriate in Rome, scarred by tragedy and betrayal. His desperate desire to find peace after his wife’s suicide draws him into a painful, intimate search for the one haunting secret in his family’s past that can heal his anguished heart.
Spanning three generations and two continents, from the contemporary ruins of the American South to the ancient ruins of Rome, from the unutterable horrors of the Holocaust to the lingering trauma of Vietnam, Beach Music sings with life’s pain and glory. It is another masterpiece in PAT CONROY’S legendary list of beloved novels.
What do you think? Would you keep reading, or does the chunkster aspect of the book give you pause? For some reason, I feel more ready to read a hefty book at the beginning of the New Year.