Conroy, Pat: Beach Music
(researched by Sarah Payne)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Pat Conroy. Beach Music. New York, New York:Nan A. Talese. Doubleday, June 1995 Pat Conroy holds the copyright statement.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
Paper
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
317 leaves, [6], [1-3], 4-13, [14-17], 18-28, [29], 30-37, [38], 39-46, [47], 48-62, [63], 64-68, [69], 70-74, [75], 76-82, [83], 84-90, [91-93], 94-103, [104], 105-121, [122], 123-131, [132], 133-139, [140], 141-158, [159], 160-172, [173], 174-194, [195], 196-206, [207], 208-221, [222-225], 226-248, [249], 250-258, [259], 260-268, [269], 270-294, [295-297], 298-310, [311], 312-324, [325], 326-330, [331], 332-342, [343], 344-358, [359], 360-384, [385], 386-402, [403], 404-417, [418], 419-449, [450-453], 454-467, [468], 469-493, [494], 495-520, [521-523], 524-539, [540], 541-555, [556], 557-565, [566], 567-585, [586], 587-614, [615-617], 618-628
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
It is neither edited or introduced
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
The illustrations are done by Martie Holmer. The illustrations are at the beginnings of each part and they are penciled drawings of something that is significant to the corresponding part. p.15-drawing of a street in rome aligned with apartment buildings p.91-drawing of a traditional southern home p.223-drawing of a Roman Church p.295-drawing of a fog over water adn there is a dead dear in the water p.451-drawing of a school auditorium p.521-drawing of turtles crawling into the ocean
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
Page Measurements:233mm x 149mm Margin Measurements:Top and Bottom 16mm; Sides 16.5mm Space with Text per page:217mm x 132.5mm Type Size:90mmR Type Style:Sarif Illustrations: they are placed on the bottom half of the pages that introduce each Part. The type is regualr print and attractive to read. The same type is used throughout the book for the text, chapter headings, and the title page. At the top of every left side page within the chapters is the page number and then the authors name and on the left side next to the page number is the title of the book. Both the Authors name and the Title are in caps and are not as bold as the type.
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The paper is a creme color and is smooth. There is no discoloration and all the pages are in one piece with no tears or cracks. The book has been preserved very well, therefore the paper has no signs of aging.
11 Description of binding(s)
Binding:Cloth Color:Blue(hue), Dark(lightness) Stamping:The binding is stamped in gold with the title and then the authors name vertically down the spine. The publisher is stamped in gold horizontally across the bottom of the spine. Transcription on the spine: BEACH MUSIC PAT CONROY|NAN A. TALESE| DOUBLEDAY There is a dusk jacket, but on the cover underneath the dusk jacket is Pat Conroy's autograph stamed into the bottom right corner of the book. The end papers are red and there is nothing on them.
12 Transcription of title page
Recto: BEACH MUSIC Verso: nothing
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
I could find no information on where the manuscripts are.
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
The front of the copyright page is autographed by Pat Conroy in ink. On the page facing the copyright page is a dedication from the author to his brothers. There is also an Acknowledgement page after the dedication page where Pat Conroy thanks those who helped him write Beach Music. And the page following the Acknowledgementpage is a 'Note to the Readers' where Pat Conroy thanks "those who shared their memories and experiences of the holocaust with [him] and thus made this book possible". The dust jacket has a illustration of a house right on the edge of the water with the moon shining down. On the spine there is a smaller version of the illustration. At the top of the dust jacket is the title in large script letters that do not connect to each other. Dust Jacket Writing:BEACH MUSIC|WRITTEN BY THE AUTHOR OF THE PRINCE OF TIDES|PAT CONROY
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
Doubleday came out with a Limited Edition, Large Print Edition, and a Book Club Edition Paper Back London:Doubleday.1995 628p; 24cm Cover Art is the same for these edition as it was for the first edition Illustrations are not in paper back edition
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
There were 3 printings of the first edition
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
1996, 1995. New York:Bantam Books. 800p.:illustrated;18cm 1996,1995. London:Black Swan 779p;20cm 2001. New York:Bantam 768p;23cm No Date Given Smithmark Publishers, inc
6 Last date in print?
As of October 2002 this book is still in print
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
N/A
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
N/A
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
N/A
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
Conroy spoke at the American Booksellers Association on Memorial Day Weekend 1994. Usually the speaker hands out copies of their new book that is to come out in the fall, but because Conroy had not finished writing Beach Music, Doubleday handed out Beach Music Tote Bags. Doubleday held a Beach Music window display contest, produced reservation boards, announced the 32 city tour and produced audio tapes of 1960's beach music that were sent to retailers around the time the book were shipped. Also during the week prior to the release of Beach Music on June 28th, Conroy did an interview with Charlie Rose, a 30 minute documentary on Conroy appeared on CNN, he did a 2 part segment on Good Morning America, and appeared on CBS Sunday Morning. Conroy went on a 32 city book signing tour after Beach Music was published.
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
Audio Tape- 1.Pat Conroy, Peter MacNicol-June 1995 English sound reconding: Non music: cassette tape(6) Dolby processed NY, NY: Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Pub(abridged version) also a computer file 2.Pat Conroy, Frank Muller Publication:Prince Frederick, MD:Recorded Books, 1995 (unabridged version) English, Sound Recording: Non Music 3.Pat Conroy, Johnathan Marosz Publication: Newport Beach, California: Books on Tape, July 1995 English: Sound recording: Non Music(unabridged version) No movie has been made yet but the rights to the film were sold to Paramount for 1.6 million and Conroy has agreed to write the screen play.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
[Spanish]Conroy, Pat. Musica de Playa. Barcelona: Ediciones B 1995 737p;24cm [French]Conroy, Pat. Beach Music. Paris:Albin Michel, 1996 701p;24cm [German]Conroy, Pat. Der Gesang des Meeres. Bergish Gladbach:Bastei Lubbe, 1998 894p;19cm [French]Conroy, Pat. Beach Music. Paris:Albin Michel 924p 18cm pbk [Polish]Conroy, Pat; Szulc, Andrze; Warsaw: Prima 1996 [Portugese]Conroy, Pat. Cancao de Mar. Sao Paulo, SP: Editora Best Seller, 1995
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
N/A
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
N/A
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Similar to Pat Conroy's earlier novels Beach Music is somewhat autobiographical. The first part of the book takes place in Rome, Italy, a place where Conroy has spent part of his life and has always enjoyed. There is a restaurant that Conroy writes about in this novel that Jack McCall goes to frequently while he is in living in Rome, that really exists. It is located close to the Pantheon and there is actually a waiter named Freddie, like the one in the book. Pat Conroy's passion for food and cooking is seen through Jack McCall, who not only is a restaurant critic, but also throughout the novel he is constantly cooking gourmet meals or talking about food in great detail. Conroy is in the midst of writing a cooking book. Another parallel between Conroy and Jack is they both spend many years of their lives estranged from their families. Jack's reason for separating himself and his daughter from his family was because he did not want his daughter to be apart of the screwed up family he grew up with, however it is a result of Conroy's novels some of his family members cut off any sort of contact with him. Characters in Conroy's novels are frequently modeled after his own family and Beach Music is no different. The character John Hardin, Conroy modeled after Tom his youngest brother who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Conroy, though worried how his brother might react, he went ahead and wrote a chapter where this John Hardin commits suicide by jumping off a bridge. Though a complete coincidence, before the novel was published or before anyone had even laid eyes on it, Tom took his own life by jumping off a building in Columbia, South Carolina. As a result of Tom's death Conroy decided to remove that chapter from the novel, however he did keep the character. That was the first time that a character of Conroy's did the same thing as the family member he is modeled after, before the family member did it. Also Jack's daughter Leah, Conroy based her on his daughter Susannah. The character who is the most significant to Conroy is Lucy, Jack's dying mother. It was Pat Conroy's mother's death that inspired Conroy to write Beach Music, therefore this novel would not be complete without a character that was based on his Mother. When you read about the death of Lucy, Conroy is describing his mother's death. These two deaths mirror each other. Conroy was very close to his mom and it was she who taught him to love words, therefore it is no surprise the difficulty Conroy faced when writing this novel and the pain he suffered as a result of writing about his mother's death. As Conroy stated in an interview, "I tame my demons and put them in my books."(USA TODAY) The demons he is referring to are the members of his family and his childhood experiences. These are really emphasized in Beach Music, where Conroy has incorporated, "two male characters who have been scarred by abusive fathers and three screwed up families."(The Atlanta Journal and Constitution) Beach Music was supposed to be published in 1990, but due to many traumatic life issues he had to deal with the publishing of Beach Music was delayed until July of 1995. On top of the pressure Pat Conroy was feeling to have his next book surpass his success he gained from The Prince of Tides, he had also just decided to write the screenplay for the movie version, therefore was occupied with that well into 1990. For the second time in his life Conroy's marriage failed, which he blamed on himself because of inability to control his emotions. Conroy decided to move back to South Carolina, while his ex-wife and daughter Susannah stayed in San Francisco. Then in 1993 Conroy had back surgery and was unable to sit in a chair for long periods of time. This lasted for months therefore preventing him from writing, which just pushed off Conroy's finishing date even more. Due to the stress caused by these problems he had a "nervous collapse"(Burns, 12) and even became suicidal. During this collapse he began to see his therapist again who was able to pull Conroy out of his hole and get him to start writing again. Finally in 1994, Conroy was almost finished writing his manuscript for Beach Music and then the finish was stalled once more due to the suicide of his paranoid schizophrenic brother, Tom. It was not just these life crisis' that caused the novel to be published five years later, but there were some structural issues that Conroy and his editor Nan Talese had to work out. When he began writing the novel Talese told him to write it in third person because if written in first person she was afraid the main character, Jack McCall, would bear similarity to Tom Wingo, the narrator in The Prince of Tides. When Conroy finished the manuscript for Beach Music it was obvious to Conroy and Talese that the narration should move back to first person, to emphasize Jack McCall as the hero of this novel. Though it took Conroy nine years to write Beach Music, it was well worth the wait. Keeping to his style of writing, he incorporates many aspects of his life throughout the novel. Conroy commenting on his depression he suffers from said, "Depression can give you a time of great inner contemplation. I hope it makes me a better writer. More difficult to live with, but a better writer."(USA TODAY) This book is by far the best book Conroy has written and who knows he might not have ever finished it or had anything to write about if he had not encountered those few bumps that prolonged his publication date. Similar to Pat Conroy's earlier novels Beach Music is somewhat autobiographical. The first part of the book takes place in Rome, Italy, a place where Conroy has spent part of his life and has always enjoyed. There is a restaurant that Conroy writes about in this novel that Jack McCall goes to frequently while he is in living in Rome, that really exists. It is located close to the Pantheon and there is actually a waiter named Freddie, like the one in the book. Pat Conroy's passion for food and cooking is seen through Jack McCall, who not only is a restaurant critic, but also throughout the novel he is constantly cooking gourmet meals or talking about food in great detail. Conroy is in the midst of writing a cooking book. Another parallel between Conroy and Jack is they both spend many years of their lives estranged from their families. Jack's reason for separating himself and his daughter from his family was because he did not want his daughter to be apart of the screwed up family he grew up with, however it is a result of Conroy's novels some of his family members cut off any sort of contact with him. Characters in Conroy's novels are frequently modeled after his own family and Beach Music is no different. The character John Hardin, Conroy modeled after Tom his youngest brother who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Conroy, though worried how his brother might react, he went ahead and wrote a chapter where this John Hardin commits suicide by jumping off a bridge. Though a complete coincidence, before the novel was published or before anyone had even laid eyes on it, Tom took his own life by jumping off a building in Columbia, South Carolina. As a result of Tom's death Conroy decided to remove that chapter from the novel, however he did keep the character. That was the first time that a character of Conroy's did the same thing as the family member he is modeled after, before the family member did it. Also Jack's daughter Leah, Conroy based her on his daughter Susannah. The character who is the most significant to Conroy is Lucy, Jack's dying mother. It was Pat Conroy's mother's death that inspired Conroy to write Beach Music, therefore this novel would not be complete without a character that was based on his Mother. When you read about the death of Lucy, Conroy is describing his mother's death. These two deaths mirror each other. Conroy was very close to his mom and it was she who taught him to love words, therefore it is no surprise the difficulty Conroy faced when writing this novel and the pain he suffered as a result of writing about his mother's death. As Conroy stated in an interview, "I tame my demons and put them in my books."(USA TODAY) The demons he is referring to are the members of his family and his childhood experiences. These are really emphasized in Beach Music, where Conroy has incorporated, "two male characters who have been scarred by abusive fathers and three screwed up families."(The Atlanta Journal and Constitution) Beach Music was supposed to be published in 1990, but due to many traumatic life issues he had to deal with the publishing of Beach Music was delayed until July of 1995. On top of the pressure Pat Conroy was feeling to have his next book surpass his success he gained from The Prince of Tides, he had also just decided to write the screenplay for the movie version, therefore was occupied with that well into 1990. For the second time in his life Conroy's marriage failed, which he blamed on himself because of inability to control his emotions. Conroy decided to move back to South Carolina, while his ex-wife and daughter Susannah stayed in San Francisco. Then in 1993 Conroy had back surgery and was unable to sit in a chair for long periods of time. This lasted for months therefore preventing him from writing, which just pushed off Conroy's finishing date even more. Due to the stress caused by these problems he had a "nervous collapse"(Burns, 12) and even became suicidal. During this collapse he began to see his therapist again who was able to pull Conroy out of his hole and get him to start writing again. Finally in 1994, Conroy was almost finished writing his manuscript for Beach Music and then the finish was stalled once more due to the suicide of his paranoid schizophrenic brother, Tom. It was not just these life crisis' that caused the novel to be published five years later, but there were some structural issues that Conroy and his editor Nan Talese had to work out. When he began writing the novel Talese told him to write it in third person because if written in first person she was afraid the main character, Jack McCall, would bear similarity to Tom Wingo, the narrator in The Prince of Tides. When Conroy finished the manuscript for Beach Music it was obvious to Conroy and Talese that the narration should move back to first person, to emphasize Jack McCall as the hero of this novel. Though it took Conroy nine years to write Beach Music, it was well worth the wait. Keeping to his style of writing, he incorporates many aspects of his life throughout the novel. Conroy commenting on his depression he suffers from said, "Depression can give you a time of great inner contemplation. I hope it makes me a better writer. More difficult to live with, but a better writer."(USA TODAY) This book is by far the best book Conroy has written and who knows he might not have ever finished it or had anything to write about if he had not encountered those few bumps that prolonged his publication date.
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
After the long awaited publication of Beach Music, reviewers were anxious to get their hands on it. Unfortunately the overall response from reviewers was not a very positive one. The majority of the reviews agreed that Beach Music was too much. Conroy's descriptions while sometimes very eloquent and necessary, other times they could have been cut down. Michael Kilgore from The Tampa Tribune commented that Nan Talese, Conroy's editor should have been a little stronger and edited more. The images Conroy creates are a bit excessive and things that could be described in a few words, Conroy uses a paragraph. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt from the New York Times stated it perfectly when he wrote, "What betrays Mr. Conroy too often are his flights of lyrical prose. True, now and then he catches the lightning instead of the lightning bug." For example, "Jack's father's hair was ?thick and silver, as though it were made from a tarnished tea service.' ?Bust just as often, Mr. Conroy's prose seems merely wordy and self-conscious: ?Fantasy is one of the soul's brightest porcelains?As the day rapidly approached when I would take Leah into the forsaken realms of my past, I felt the floodgates of recall open up in a ceaseless flow. As a travel writer I had specialized in the artistry of my own escape from what was most intimately mine. I had kept my eye on the horizon and fled all calls for the careful study of my own nest.'" Also there was a consensus among the reviews, that Conroy's attempt to intertwine the history of the 20th Century throughout the novel was unnecessary. "Cossacks, Nazis, Red Brigades, Palestinian gunmen, the KKK, yippies and yes, even Gore Vidal make cameo appearances."(Amidon) As the book is reaching the climax, Conroy throws in Jack's former Father-in-law's experience during the Holocaust. Though this 26 page long chapter is a "powerful and horrifying"(Kilgore) depiction of one's experience during the Holocaust, it comes at the completely wrong part of the novel. Conroy does this a few times earlier in the novel, which sometimes makes the novel feel like a bunch of short stories. "While many of these anecdotes are interesting, they seriously detract from the novel's core of energy. Conroy would have been wiser to stick to those enticingly raucous McCall brothers and to Jordan's betrayal, a tale of heroic draft resistance that provides the book with all the historical resonance it needs?All too often in Beach Music he loses the thread of his story in the knots of history."(Amidon) What makes Beach Music so hard to put down is Conroy's fluid language that grabs the attention of the reader. Conroy becomes so involved in the story and characters he is creating, the "densely packed narrative grows lyrical with images that invite readers to compare their own relationships to those in the book," writes Michael Lollar. Beach Music is packed overflowing with many appealing and fully developed characters, therefore engaging the readers to the point where they begin feel all the emotions of this unfolding story. Amidon, Stephen "Fraternal Instincts" Sunday Times. 18 Feb. 1996: Features Kilgore, Michael. "Conroy's Southern Discomfort" The Tampa Tribune. 16 July 1995: Commentary, 4. Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher. "Books of the Times; Lure of Entanglements Home-Grown and Lasting" The New York Times. 24 July 1995: C14, Column 1 Lollar, Michael. "'Beach Music' Lyrical but Grim" Denver Rocky Mountain News. 21 July, 1995: D16
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
After the long awaited publication of Beach Music, reviewers were anxious to get their hands on it. Unfortunately the overall response from reviewers was not a very positive one. The majority of the reviews agreed that Beach Music was too much. Conroy's descriptions while sometimes very eloquent and necessary, other times they could have been cut down. Michael Kilgore from The Tampa Tribune commented that Nan Talese, Conroy's editor should have been a little stronger and edited more. The images Conroy creates are a bit excessive and things that could be described in a few words, Conroy uses a paragraph. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt from the New York Times stated it perfectly when he wrote, "What betrays Mr. Conroy too often are his flights of lyrical prose. True, now and then he catches the lightning instead of the lightning bug." For example, "Jack's father's hair was ?thick and silver, as though it were made from a tarnished tea service.' ?Bust just as often, Mr. Conroy's prose seems merely wordy and self-conscious: ?Fantasy is one of the soul's brightest porcelains?As the day rapidly approached when I would take Leah into the forsaken realms of my past, I felt the floodgates of recall open up in a ceaseless flow. As a travel writer I had specialized in the artistry of my own escape from what was most intimately mine. I had kept my eye on the horizon and fled all calls for the careful study of my own nest.'" Also there was a consensus among the reviews, that Conroy's attempt to intertwine the history of the 20th Century throughout the novel was unnecessary. "Cossacks, Nazis, Red Brigades, Palestinian gunmen, the KKK, yippies and yes, even Gore Vidal make cameo appearances."(Amidon) As the book is reaching the climax, Conroy throws in Jack's former Father-in-law's experience during the Holocaust. Though this 26 page long chapter is a "powerful and horrifying"(Kilgore) depiction of one's experience during the Holocaust, it comes at the completely wrong part of the novel. Conroy does this a few times earlier in the novel, which sometimes makes the novel feel like a bunch of short stories. "While many of these anecdotes are interesting, they seriously detract from the novel's core of energy. Conroy would have been wiser to stick to those enticingly raucous McCall brothers and to Jordan's betrayal, a tale of heroic draft resistance that provides the book with all the historical resonance it needs?All too often in Beach Music he loses the thread of his story in the knots of history."(Amidon) What makes Beach Music so hard to put down is Conroy's fluid language that grabs the attention of the reader. Conroy becomes so involved in the story and characters he is creating, the "densely packed narrative grows lyrical with images that invite readers to compare their own relationships to those in the book," writes Michael Lollar. Beach Music is packed overflowing with many appealing and fully developed characters, therefore engaging the readers to the point where they begin feel all the emotions of this unfolding story. Amidon, Stephen "Fraternal Instincts" Sunday Times. 18 Feb. 1996: Features Kilgore, Michael. "Conroy's Southern Discomfort" The Tampa Tribune. 16 July 1995: Commentary, 4. Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher. "Books of the Times; Lure of Entanglements Home-Grown and Lasting" The New York Times. 24 July 1995: C14, Column 1 Lollar, Michael. "'Beach Music' Lyrical but Grim" Denver Rocky Mountain News. 21 July, 1995: D16
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
On June 28th, 1995 nine years after The Prince of Tides was published and many missed publication dates later, Pat Conroy's sixth novel Beach Music was published. As a result of the success of The Prince of Tides, people were very anxious for Conroy's next novel to be written. The movie rights to the book were sold to Paramount for $5.1 million a few years before Beach Music was even published. The Prince of Tides had done so well in print as well as on the screen, that the expectations for Conroy's next novel were high. These high expectations intimidated Conroy and is one reason it took him so long to finish Beach Music, he did not want to let his readers down. Though the book was a best seller and is still in print 2002, many of the professional reviewers were not fans of Beach Music. Similar to The Prince of Tides, Beach Music was criticized for the immense amount of material and extravagant detail that was stuffed between the front cover and back cover. Mark Harris wrote in Entertainment Weekly: "To say that Conroy is trying to do too much doesn't begin to convey how overloaded Beach Music is"(Harris 93). Also Tom Shone of The New York Times Book Review used most of his review "lambasting Conroy's style"(Burns 140). Coincidentally Conroy's lengthy descriptions and "elaborate prose"(Burns 140) that so many reviewers criticized him for are also what many reviewers praised him for. Michael Harris of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "'Beach Music' is blockbuster writing at its best"(Harris,Michael 1) and Brigitte Wilson comments, "The range of passions and subjects that brings life to every passage of this story is almost endless"(The Washington Post Book World "Where?" 5). Though Beach Music was not received well by a lot of reviewers, this did not really affect the book's success. Part of the reason for this was because Beach Music's publication date was delayed so much and there was such a rush to get it in print that many reviewers did not receive the book prior to it being available to the public. Therefore, Beach Music's became popular more through word of mouth of those that had read it and not from reading the reviews. Also the book's immediate success is due to the fact Pat Conroy is a big literary name. Though The Prince of Tides was the only bestseller Conroy had produced up until Beach Music, all five previous novels "had triggered an emotional explosion in one quarter or another."(Berendt 2) It is common knowledge that all of Conroy's novels are somewhat autobiographical and as a result of the commotion each book has created mostly among his family members, people are anxious about what he will write about next. The Boo and The Lords of Discipline were both about Conroy's alma mater The Citadel, a military academy in Charleston, South Carolina. Both these books shed an "unflattering light on the Citadel" and as a result The Boo is ban from The Citadel and The Lords of Discipline is never spoken of. It was The Great Santini and The Prince of Tides that really had an impact on the Conroy family. Conroy based the main character of The Great Santini, "a violent and bullying Marine fighter pilot"(Berendt 2), on his father and the schizophrenic sister in The Prince of Tides was based on Conroy's sister Carol. Conroy and his father are on a lot better terms now than they were when The Great Santini was first published, but Carol is still not talking to her brother. Conroy's novels are overflowing with so many emotions that allow the reader to get lost in the story and why his novels are so great. What makes his novels so real is that it comes from straight from him. Every thought and feeling goes down on the paper. This realness sweeps up the reader and they begin to feel the emotions of the characters Conroy has created. It may have been a blessing that Beach Music was published 3 years after it's first publication date. If Conroy had finished the novel in time, Beach Music would have come out around Christmas time, but instead it took him a lot longer to write and so the book was published at 3 years later at the beginning of the summer. Though the book would have most likely sold quickly because it would make a great Christmas present, Christmas time is one of the busiest times of year. People do not really have the down time to sit down and enjoy a good book, like they might during the summer. Beach Music is a long book, one that would be enjoyed best if a person had the extra time. It is not a book that can be read a little bit each night before they go to bed. During the summer is when most people are most relaxed and are not as busy as they are during other parts of the year. Let's be honest besides the fact most of Beach Music takes place on the South Carolina Coast, just the Title and the art on the front cover suggest it is a beachy book. So being published right at the beginning of the summer helped Beach Music's success. The book had been anticipated for so long and summer is when most people take some sort of vacation that Beach Music was swept off the shelves quickly. In reading the different reviews of Beach Music, I found that critics did not think it was as great it's sales figures conveyed. As said before Conroy was most criticized for trying to put too cram too much into the novel and his ?elaborate prose'. I would argue though that it is Conroy's detailed style of writing that makes his books so enjoyable. His descriptions allow the reader to get lost in the story, to the point where they feel apart of it. It is Conroy's style of writing and the topics he writes about that has made him so popular and helped Beach Music itself remain popular still in 2002. Because Beach Music was published only 7 years ago in 1995, those who have read it are most likely still alive and continue to recommend it to their friends. Where as The Virginian, which was also a bestseller, was published so far back that those that enjoyed it then are most likely dead and it was a totally different life back then. Beach Music deals with issues of family and friends, the Vietnam War, and the Holocaust, which are things that people in today's world can still relate to.
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