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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.
21 of 21 people found this review helpful
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?
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.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
This is such a treat, over 20 hours of Southern love, loyalty and friendship interwoven with harrowing descriptions of the Holocaust and mental illness. The descriptions are seamless and you can imagine yourself walking through the decades with the brothers as they grow. Please listen to this one, it's great!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
This is a beautiful heart felt book, still my favourite of all time, loved it.