Prince of Tides

 The Prince of Tides: A Novel

After I finished reading his new novel, South of Broad, I went over to my bookshelf to the other Pat Conroy books. The book that I always go back to was published in 1986. The Prince of Tides.

Tom Wingo and his screwed up family. His elder brother, Luke, has a premature death. His sister, Savannah, the poet, has attempted suicide and is now in a deep depression. Tom travels to New York City to discuss his sister's problems with Dr. Susan Lowenstein, her psychiatrist.

Most of the novel is told in flashbacks as he relates incidents from his childhood to the psychiatrist. They are trying to figure out what put Savannah over the edge. Or, are they trying to figure out what's wrong with Tom? Or is it the same thing?

We know that their abusive father (now in jail) and their odd, cold, uncaring mother have something to do with it.

But there are also plenty of funny events from the past to provide some rest for the reader.

There's something that Tom keeps hidden from the doctor and us. Would the revelation of it help Savannah heal?

There is also a subplot - which figured more prominently in the movie version - in which the married Tom falls in love with Lowenstein.

I have loaned my copy of the book to a half dozen friends who all enjoyed it.

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