My Book World
I don’t usually care for “as told to” books, but this one is too intriguing to pass up. Clark spends a number of years communicating with author Pat Conroy either by direct interviews or by way of written communications. He declares early on that his spoken language is much different from the prose he uses in his fiction. And his fiction (for those who don’t know Conroy)? The Great Santini. The Lords of Discipline. Beach Music, to name only a few.
Each book that Conroy writes is his way of transforming the mess that is his autobiographical material. The Great Santini is essentially about his bully of an abusive father who cows Conroy’s mother and all his siblings. The Lords of Discipline is about his four years as a miserable cadet at the Citadel, in South Carolina. But his writing is also about his three marriages. His parents. His children. He writes, by the way, The Water Is Wide, the novel about a young man who teaches on an island with an all-Black classroom of children—made into a successful movie, Conrack, starring Jon Voight. In fact, Conroy makes a great deal of his income from selling the film rights to his works and getting a successful result—a rarity among novelists.
I am much more encouraged to read Conroy’s oeuvre, in part, because I can now sense how difficult it is for him to arrive at each finished product. He is one of those persons who must fight for every minute of happiness, every inch of success, and Clark’s book relates his story plainly and with great sensitivity.
TUES: A Writer's Wit | Georgia O'Keeffe
WEDS: A Writer's Wit | George S. Kaufman
THURS: A Writer's Wit | Lee Strasberg
FRI: My Book World | Elizabeth Strout's Oh, William!