South of Broad

  • by Pat Conroy
  • Narrated by Mark Deakins
  • 20 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Against the sumptuous backdrop of Charleston, South Carolina, South of Broad gathers a unique cast of sinners and saints. Leopold Bloom King, our narrator, is the son of an amiable, loving father who teaches science at the local high school. His mother, an ex-nun, is the high school principal and a well-known Joyce scholar. After Leo's older brother commits suicide at the age of 13, the family struggles with the shattering effects of his death, and Leo, lonely and isolated, searches for something to sustain him. Eventually, he finds his answer when he becomes part of a tightly knit group of high school seniors that includes friends Sheba and Trevor Poe, glamorous twins with an alcoholic mother and a prison-escapee father; hardscrabble mountain runaways Niles and Starla Whitehead; socialite Molly Huger and her boyfriend, Chadworth Rutledge X; and an ever-widening circle whose liaisons will ripple across two decades-from 1960s counterculture through the dawn of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. The ties among them endure for years, surviving marriages happy and troubled, unrequited loves and unspoken longings, hard-won successes and devastating breakdowns, and Charleston's dark legacy of racism and class divisions. But the final test of friendship that brings them to San Francisco is something no one is prepared for South of Broad is Pat Conroy at his finest; a long-awaited work from a great American writer whose passion for life and language knows no bounds.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Authors Need to Review Pronunciations

I am actually in the process of listening to the book and am only about a third of the way through. Pat Conroy is one of my favorite writers and this is the first book of his that I have listened to. I read the actual books of all the others. I am enjoying the book. However, I continue to be amazed at the improper pronunciation of proper nouns by narrators on audio books. Mr. Deakins mispronounces one of the most notable names from Charleston and I don't understand why Pat Conroy or someone else did not correct this! Huger is properly pronounced like "You gee". It makes me cringe every time I hear him say it wrong. A similar thing happened with another SC author in another audio book set in SC. Please people, do your pronunciation research! Someone from the local area might just be listening!!! And yes, I am from SC.
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- Pamela

The Masterful Storyteller has a new offering.

I wanted to find out why Conroy took so long to complete this manuscript. But I nearly failed to order the download. So many of the other reviewers were negative about the story and many hated the reader. But from the very first few moments this book held me -- with a great story, simply told through a wonderful selection of characters.
Leo King is a Catholic. His mother is a former nun. Conroy could not have told his tale effectively without the repeated reference to the Catholic faith.
In the process of enjoying South of Broad, I soon learned that the numerous compelling and will-crafted stories. It's a love poem to the beautiful and historic city of Charleston. I liked the way Conroy described how Leo's high-school football team took shape. Having lived it the South and possessing first hand understanding of the painful process of desegregation, I took particular joy in the actions of a Black football coach as he crafted his championship team from a group of mostly unwilling players.
In San Francisco, Leo and his band of Charleston friends attempt to rescue one of their group, who was stricken with Aids. Conroy's factual approach to that terrible chapter in our history rings true.
Another memorable character is South of Broad is a maniac murderer whose sworn duty is to butcher his family and Leo. His children, a diverse set of twins, were conceived so their insane father could torture them in perpetuity. One of those twins, Sheba is Leo's first love. She becomes a Hollywood star because the only to live in her father's home was to create a world of make-believe.
If you are concerned with the art of storytelling, this book will provide you with masterful insight. South of Broad offers interesting characters. It contains wonderfully crafted stories told against a rich tapestry of history. The dialog is articulate and often great fun. What more could one ask for in a work of fiction.
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- Edward

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-11-2009
  • Publisher: Random House Audio