SIGH. do you hear that? a big old SIGH. i loved prince of tides but i did read it 20 years ago. i tried BEACH MUSIC but found the story, as well as the writing, immature and sophomoric. i gave up. so when i heard about SOUTH OF BROAD, i was ecstatic. previews were promising. a saga about family with a backdrop of the city conroy so clearly adores, charleston. and when it began, it was wonderful. no one can TELL a story and create such a sense of southern despair like conroy. but again, SIGH, perhaps my tastes have changed. when conroy starts writing dialogue, it all goes flat. seems conroy does not have an ear for dialogue. the characters are caricatures. all the women are beautiful and if not crazy, perfect and unappreciated. the men are either really, really good, or really, really bad. all the friends from the high school circle of misfits end up married to each other - paired off perfectly (in terms of ethnicity, i might add). all bases are covered in SOUTH OF BROAD, just not very well.
as an ode to the city of charleston, this book totally works. but not as or for much else.