Beach Music

  • by Pat Conroy
  • Narrated by Jonathan Marosz
  • 26 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Pat Conroy is without doubt America's favorite storyteller, a writer who portrays the anguished truth of the human heart and the painful secrets of families in richly lyrical prose and unforgettable narratives.Now, in Beach Music, he tells of the dark memories that haunt generations, in a story that spans South Carolina and Rome and reaches back into the unutterable terrors of the Holocaust.Beach Music is about Jack McCall, an American living in Rome with his young daughter, trying to find peace after the recent trauma of his wife's suicide. But his solitude is disturbed by the appearance of his sister-in-law, who begs him to return home, and of two school friends asking for his help in tracking down another classmate who went underground as a Vietnam protester and never resurfaced. These requests launch Jack on a journey that encompasses the past and the present in both Europe and the American South, and that leads him to shocking--and ultimately liberating--truths.Told with deep feeling and trademark Conroy humor, Beach Music is powerful and compulsively readable. It is another masterpiece in the legendary list of classics that his body of work has already become.


What the Critics Say

"Astonishing...stunning...the range of passions and subjects that brings life to every page is almost endless." (The Washington Post Book World)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Patrick Conroy hurls words and ideas at you and they all land in a perfectly harmonized formation of drama, humor and outrageously engaging characters. His gift for creating characters from words on a page to larger than life people is magnificent. Beach Music incorporates some very difficult topics and weaves together a number of complex story lines, which intertwine in this multi generational epic. In all his books he is excellent at depicting dysfunction in families and this book is no exception.
Beach Music is essentially about Jack McCall; a single dad trying to raise his little girl Leah in Rome after his wife Shyla commits suicide. He wants to get far away from the dysfunction of the families and demons he leaves behind in South Carolina. But your roots are your roots, and circumstance brings Jack back home like a slingshot to the epicenter of drama. He is catapulted in to the lives of his 4 brothers, the most interesting of which is John Hardin his paranoid schizophrenic sibling, his mother who is battling cancer, his holocaust survivor in-laws who tried to take Leah in a dirty custody battle and old school friends who are not without major drama which peaked during the time of the Vietnam war. Beach Music had me laughing, thinking and sobbing. It's one of those books you need time to savor. I hate saying goodbye to these people who have become part of my life, albeit for a short time. So sorry to see it end.
As for the narrator Jonathan Marosz, he neither helped nor hindered this book. His narration was a bit flat, but once I got used to him, it blended well.
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- Ella

Read it instead: Great book, terrible narrator

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Someone with a convincing SC accent, or no accent at all.

Would you be willing to try another one of Jonathan Marosz’s performances?

Absolutely not.

Any additional comments?

I adore this novel. I've read it several times, and since I enjoy long audio books, and this one had such a high rating, I thought I'd give it a try. I gave up after the first hour of listening. I don't know where the narrator is originally from or where he learned his accent from, but it was unlike any South Carolinian accent I've ever heard. It sounded more like a Bostonian attempting a Texan accent. It was jarring, clipped, entirely too fast, and inconsistent. Moreover, his reading of the story was flat and uninspiring. I felt like I was listening to a news report from someone who didn't much care for what he was reporting on.

I adore Pat Conroy, and Beach Music holds a special spot in my heart as the first novel of his I ever read, but this rendition does it absolutely no justice. I've never given up on an audio book before because of a narrator, but I just couldn't stand to keep going with this one.

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- Elizabeth

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-17-2009
  • Publisher: Random House Audio