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“An emotionally difficult journey that should lend fans of Conroy’s fiction an insightful back story to his richly imagined characters. One of the most widely read authors from the American South puts his demons to bed at long last. One doesn’t have to have read The Great Santini to know that Pat Conroy was deeply scarred by his childhood. It is the theme of his work and his life, from the love-hate relationship in The Lords of Discipline to broken Tom Wingo in The Prince of Tides to the mourning survivor Jack McCall in Beach Music. In this memoir, Conroy unflinchingly reveals that his father, fighter pilot Donald Conroy, was actually much worse than the abusive Meechum in his novel. Telling the truth also forces the author to confront a number of difficult realizations about himself. “I was born with a delusion in my soul that I’ve fought a rearguard battle with my entire life,” he writes. “Though I’m very much my mother’s boy, it has pained me to admit the blood of Santini rushes hard and fast in my bloodstream. My mother gave me a poet’s sensibility; my father’s DNA assured me that I was always ready for a fight, and that I could ride into any fray as a field-tested lord of battle.” Conroy lovingly describes his mother, whom he admits he idealized in The Great Santini and corrects for this book. Although his father’s fearsome persona never really changed, Conroy learned to forgive and even sympathize with his father, who would attend book signings with his son and good-naturedly satirize his own terrifying image. Less droll is the story of Conroy’s younger brother, Tom, who flung himself off a building in a suicidal fit of schizophrenia, and Conroy’s combative relationship with his sister, the poet Carol Conroy. The moving true story of an unforgiveable father and his unlikely redemption.”
-- Kirkus Starred Review
"Reading Pat Conroy is like watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel"
-- Houston Chronicle
"Conroy takes aim at our darkest emotions, lets the arrow fly, and hits the bull's-eye almost every time."
-- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Conroy is an immensely gifted stylist…No one can describe a tide or sunset with
his lyricism and exactitude."
-- The Washington Post
THE DEATH OF SANTINI
The Story of a Father and His Son
Bestselling Author of Prince of Tides, The Great Santini and South of Broad
In this powerful and intimate memoir, THE DEATH OF SANTINI: A Story of a Father and His Son (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday; 10/29/2013; $28.95) the beloved bestselling author of The Prince of Tides and his father, the inspiration for The Great Santini, find some common ground at long last.
Pat Conroy’s father, Donald Patrick Conroy, was a towering figure in his son’s life. The Marine Corps fighter pilot was often brutal, cruel, and violent; as Pat says, “I hated my father long before I knew there was an English word for ‘hate.’” As the oldest of seven children who were dragged from military base to military base across the South, Pat bore witness to the toll his father’s behavior took on his siblings, and especially on his mother, Peg. She was Pat’s lifeline to a better world—that of books and culture. But eventually, despite repeated confrontations with his father, Pat managed to claw his way toward a life he could have only imagined as a child.
|NEW ORLEANS, LA – Sat., 09/21
BEAUFORT, SC – Sat., 10/26
NASHVILLE, TN – Tues., 10/29
LOUISVILLE, KY - Wed., 10/30
OXFORD, MS – Friday, 11/1
JACKSON, MS - Sat., 11/02
PHILADELPHIA, PA – Tues., 11/05
WINNETKA, IL – Thurs., 11/ 07
ST. PAUL, MN – Tues., 11/12
KANSAS CITY, MO – Thurs., 11/14
ATLANTA, GA – Sunday, 11/17
MIAMI, FL – Tues., 11/19
CHARLESTON, SC – Sat., 11/23
BIRMINGHAM, AL – Wed., 12/04
ATLANTA, GA – Sat., 12/07
FAIRHOPE, AL – Mon., 12/09
RALEIGH, NC – Thurs., 12/12
RALEIGH, NC – Sat., 12/14
Pat’s great success as a writer has always been intimately linked with the exploration of his family history. While the publication of The Great Santini brought Pat much acclaim, the rift it caused with his father brought even more attention. Their long-simmering conflict burst into the open, fracturing an already battered family. But as Pat tenderly chronicles here, even the oldest of wounds can heal. In the final years of Don Conroy’s life, he and his son reached a rapprochement of sorts. Quite unexpectedly, the Santini who had freely doled out physical abuse to his wife and children refocused his ire on those who had turned on Pat over the years. He defended his son’s honor.
THE DEATH OF SANTINI is at once a heart-wrenching account of personal and family struggle and a poignant lesson in how the ties of blood can both strangle and offer succor. It is an act of reckoning, an exorcism of demons, but one whose ultimate conclusion is that love can soften even the meanest of men, lending significance to one of the most-often quoted lines from Pat’s bestselling novel The Prince of Tides: “In families there are no crimes beyond forgiveness.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pat Conroy is the author of ten previous books: The Boo, The Water Is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, The Prince of Tides, Beach Music, My Losing Season, The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes of My Life, South of Broad, and My Reading Life. He lives in Beaufort, South Carolina.
THE DEATH OF SANTINI: The Story of a Father and His Son
Nan A. Talese/Doubleday
On-sale date: October 29, 2013