May Books 1) The Prince of Tides

1) The Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy

I must admit I wouldn’t normally read a book like this; it came free with the Palm T|X back in November 2005, and I had pretty much laid that gadget aside since I got a Blackberry with my new job last year. Oddly enough, it has been the Hugo nominees that pushed me back to the Palm; the best way that I found of reading the nominated short fiction available was to convert via Mobipocket to Palm format. So I came back to this epic novel as well.

Well. It’s a tale of a memorably dysfunctional family – not just the standard horrors of conflicting gender roles and alcoholism, but also dead babies in the freezer and rapists eaten by a convenient tiger. The emotional dynamic between the narrator, his twin sister, his brother and their parents is convincing and compelling, and gripped me through to the end.

Oddly, the least believable element is not so much the grand drama of events in South Carolina but the narrator’s conversations (and eventual fling) with his sister’s psychiatrist in New York. The other slightly peculiar element, as with The Red Badge of Courage (though not as bad), is that the rednecks (including the narrator) seem suspiciously articulate.

Glad I read it. Mostly.