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South of Broad : a novel
Pat Conroy
Adult Fiction CONROY

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Charleston, S.C., gossip columnist Leopold Bloom King narrates a paean to his hometown and friends in Conroy's first novel in 14 years. In the late '60s and after his brother commits suicide, then 18-year-old Leo befriends a cross-section of the city's inhabitants: scions of Charleston aristocracy; Appalachian orphans; a black football coach's son; and an astonishingly beautiful pair of twins, Sheba and Trevor Poe, who are evading their psychotic father. The story alternates between 1969, the glorious year Leo's coterie stormed Charleston's social, sexual and racial barricades, and 1989, when Sheba, now a movie star, enlists them to find her missing gay brother in AIDS-ravaged San Francisco. Too often the not-so-witty repartee and the narrator's awed voice (he is very fond of superlatives) overwhelm the stories surrounding the group's love affairs and their struggles to protect one another from dangerous pasts. Some characters are tragically lost to the riptides of love and obsession, while others emerge from the frothy waters of sentimentality and nostalgia as exhausted as most readers are likely to be. Fans of Conroy's florid prose and earnest melodramas are in for a treat. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

"Kids, I'm teaching you to tell a story. It's the most important lesson you'll ever learn," says the protagonist of Conroy's first novel in 14 years (since 1995's Beach Music). Switching between the 1960s and the 1980s, the narrative follows a group of friends whose relationship began in Charleston, SC. The narrator is Leopold Bloom King (his mother was a Joyce scholar), a likable but troubled kid who goes from having one best friend, his brother, to having no friends after a tragedy, to having, suddenly, a gang, of which he is perhaps not the leader but certainly the glue. Conroy continues to demonstrate his skill at presenting the beauty and the ugliness of the South, holding both up for inspection and, at times, admiration. He has not lost his touch for writing stories that are impossible to put down; the fast pace and shifting settings grip the reader even as the story occasionally veers toward the unbelievable. Verdict Filled with the lyrical, funny, poignant language that is Conroy's birthright, this is a work Conroy fans will love. Libraries should buy multiple copies.-Amy Watts, Univ. of Georgia Lib., Athens (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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more titles about

main characters Leopold Bloom King
Male
Father teaches science at the high school; mother, an ex-nun, is the high school principal; brother committed suicide when he was 13; became close with a group of friends when he was 18.
Gossip columnist

Sheba Poe
Female
Twin
Mother is an alcoholic; father escaped prison when she was a teenager; searching for her missing brother.
Actress

Trevor Poe
Male
Twin
Sheba's twin brother; mother is an alcoholic; father escaped prison when he was a teenager; has gone missing.

Niles Whitehead
Male
Orphan
Ran away when he was a teenager.

Starla Whitehead
Female
Orphan
Niles's sister; ran away when she was a teenager.

Molly Huger
Female
Socialite

Charles Rutledge
Male
Molly's boyfriend.



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