In Memoriamby Rosalind Foley on 03/29/16
Pat Conroy, author of The Great Santini, Prince of Tides, et al. died last week, desperately trying to finish what would be his last novel.
At the time I happened to be reading his collection of essays called My Reading Life. One chapter is about the teacher who became his life-long mentor and substitute father figure. Another is about James Dickey, Conroe's favorite poet, though best known for the novel Deliverance. The chapter I found most thought provoking is a study of the influence of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind on the soul and psyche of today's South.
Conroy's writing is often brilliant. It can be captivating. It can be witty. Why, then does it sometimes become tedious?
The blame may fall on Thomas Wolfe. When Pat Conroy was in seventh grade he read and was enamored by the lush writing of Look Homeward Angel. Like Wolfe, Conroy became a geyser of words. By his own admission he gushes adverbs and adjectives. He writes everything in technicolor and wide screen. In the end we don't mind. We let him, because he tells such a good story.
I hope he got to his last book's end. .