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The Prince of Tides

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  122,919 ratings  ·  2,517 reviews
PAT CONROY has created a huge, brash thunderstorm of a novel, stinging with honesty and resounding with drama. Spanning forty years, this is the story of turbulent Tom Wingo, his gifted and troubled twin sister Savannah, and their struggle to triumph over the dark and tragic legacy of the extraordinary family into which they were born.

Filled with the vanishing beauty of th
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Paperback, 679 pages
Published March 26th 2002 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published 1986)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jason
This is the book that is the reason I read anything at all for pleasure. I decided I was going to read it before the movie came out and COMPLETELY fell in love with Conroy's style, renewed my love-affair with the low country of South Carolina, and discovered the joy of diving into a book wholeheartedly. Mr. Conroy is the reason I read today. The stories of what this family went through are heartbreaking at one (or more) moment(s) and hysterical at others. I didn't think the movie was half-bad, b ...more
Matthew Klobucher
Pat Conroy's prose is tragically acquainted with all the misery and glory and pain and beauty of humanity. It is also deeply entrenched in the American south. I believe he immortalizes his own time and place the way Hemingway did for wartime Europe. This story, so startlingly brutal and direct in it's engagement of the reader, lays out the impressive and failed life of Tom Wingo. The plain good virtue and astonishing cruelty of small-town South Carolina take shape in an uneasy and inevitable con ...more
Kelly
I can't remember the last time I felt this torn; I hated the characters for being so selfish with their affections, so cowardly in their confrontations, the cruelty shown when the moment was theirs for the taking. What I hated more was when the victim on the receiving end - and, to be fair, it always rotates - would rise up in anger, but then crumble to their knees in love and forgiveness.

And that's also why I loved them. In one moment they felt so betrayed, so dishonored by blood and by love.
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Eileen
I'm waiting for the day that Pat Conroy will disappoint me. I'm waiting for the day that he fails to astound me, to take my breath away with each poetically seductive word that he has chosen, to stir emotions deep within me that I only feel and understand when I am reading his literature.

I am pertinaciously confident that that day will never come.
Vanessa
Before I wrote this, I took a cursory look at a few of the reviews and realized to my dismay that in this case I am the Grinch who took the roast beast. And yet I stand by my rating because this book was for me an exercise in maudlin pablum. The protagonist experiences all matter of tragedy in his youth, both quotidian and bizarre (an abusive wretch of a father, a venal socially climbing mother, a horrific yet nonsensical assault) and then grows up to have a mentally ill sister and a cheating wi ...more
Lori
I almost didn't read this one because I have seen the movie numerous times and really didn't care to read about the romance of a small town coach and a big city psychiatrist.

This book is SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE MOVIE!!!!

Tragic and humorous. Shocking and touching. Brutal and tender. Honest and delusional. Love, fear, unadulterated hatred and inconceivable forgiveness are all combined in an eloquently written novel.

Merritt
I don't understand why this book gets rave reviews. I made it through the nearly 600 pages, but I can't say that I enjoyed most of it. Here is a random excerpt: "I tasted the wine and it was so robust and appealing that I could feel my mouth singing with pleasure when I brought the glass from my lips. The aftertaste held like a chord on my tongue; my mouth felt like a field of flowers. The mousse made me happy to be alive." Give me a break. Am I supposed to believe all of this? I felt like the n ...more
Robert
I’d like to apologize for deleting the comment thread in my overzealousness to update my edition from Hardcover to Kindle. I love comments, and I can assure you I don’t go around deleting comments just for the hell of it. In fact, my wife and I had a conversation recently about how thrilled I was to receive multiple comments before I’d even read this book and written the review, and then I go and accidentally delete said comments. If they gave out awards for accidental stupidity, I’d be on the n ...more
Vanessa
I just don't even know what to say.... "Epic" would be the understatement of the century.

This has got to be one of the most f*cked up family stories I've ever read/listened to. Right off the bat, that works in the authors favor because I tend to like books that can really shock me. What an insane imagination Pat Conroy has and his writing is pure poetry . I had to stop my audiobook so many times and rewind it just so I could jot down some of his more beautifully crafted metaphors and descripti
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Anna Ligtenberg
After years of reading predominantly great reviews of this book, I finally read it, only to wonder why everyone was raving. Perhaps Pat Conroy explained it himself, when he wrote "Savannah's living proof that writing poetry and reading books causes brain damage." I found myself skipping entire pages of pointless description and only skimming the entire "children's book" written by Savannah.

Most of the momentous events of the story require the reader to accept the most unbelievable things (Bengal
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Janet Ollman
Jun 16, 2008 Janet Ollman rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all my friends
My favorite novels are written by Irish authors or authors from America's South. "Mama won't read that novel...it's too uplifting!!!" O.K., I have been accused of liking novels with a darker side. Guilty as charged. The theme of Prince of Tides is indeed dark...but oh, the beauty of the words that Pat Conroy weaves together. He is a Master of Words. On page one, his words grab you and he won't let you escape until the final page. Pat Conroy begins, "My wound is my geography. It is also my anchor ...more
Maureen Brunner
If you are interested in reading novels with vibrant descriptions of the southeastern US, Conroy is a good bet.

I gave it three stars mostly because of the wrap up of the plot and the ending. It fell flat and was depressing. Although the protagonist Tom represented a complex and thoughtful narrator in the beginning of his tale, I was unhappy with his adult self, the decisions he made, his attitude towards life, and the consequences of his decisions.

At the onset of the story, the author begins b
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Lucrezia
""Mi ricordo una sera d'estate: mia sorella, mio fratello ed io (eravamo molto piccoli e l'afa gravava come muschio sulla pianura) non riuscivamo a dormire. La mamma ci portò allora a fare due passi fino al fiume e alla darsena, benché Savannah e io avessimo un raffreddore estivo e Luke un eczema da calore. "Ho una sorpresa per i miei cocchi," disse la mamma mentre noi guardavamo affascinati un delfino prendere il largo nell'acqua tranquilla, metallica. Sedevamo sulla punta del moletto e, stende ...more
Becky
I enjoyed most of this book. When I read the first ten pages or so, I was blown away by the writing style and how poetic it was. This book is the family saga of a southern family told from the point of view of the middle aged Tom Wingo as he is talking to his sister's psychologist, Dr. Lowenstein. I really liked the family story, but really disliked the parts about middle aged Tom and the psychologist. Tom's character didn't seem to make much sense. He would fly into a rage at Lowenstein and the ...more
Aimee
This book came highly recommended to me by a coworker. This novel, however, is the most absurdly sentimental and overwrought book I have picked up in many moons. It's hard to describe the feeling of rolling one's eyes for 567 pages. For example, a priest does not just pray with a soldier - instead, "The priest knelt beside my father and they prayed together, priest and warrior transfigured by moonlight, by warfare, destiny, and the urgent, mysterious, and ineffable cries and secrets of souls tur ...more
Anastasia
Lo so cosa potreste pensare di un lbro cui forse avete sentito poco parlare, o che non conoscete affatto come Il principe delle maree: titolo che lascia spazio ad un'immaginario alla Bambarén o Richard Bach, insomma, sull'orlo del melenso; una copertina che riprende uno scenario molto harmony con lui che guarda tragicamente in alto con una donna avvinghiata al suo petto (ma forse avete visto il film, e allora il discorso non vale), e la trama che ti parla di una storia che lascerebbe sospetti su ...more
Heather Neill
This book. Is stunning.

Pat Conroy is a genius. One of the main characters is a poet, and excerpts from her work are brilliant. How many time have you cringed when otherwise talented writers of fiction attempted to include the "poetry" of their characters? No cringing here. if you can, listen to this book on audio, narrated by Frank Muller. Holy crap. He turns a near perfect novel into a masterpiece. I am not exaggerating.
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
I can't believe that I haven't read The Prince of Tides before now, nor have I seen the movie. I seriously doubt that I will watch it too; it could never do Pat Conroy's literary masterpiece justice. Conroy paints each scene with such exquisite detail, none is too small nor too big. His character development of Lowenstein, Bernard, and the whole Wingo clan was absolutely superb. I hated Lila and Henry from the start, but Henry did redeem himself in my eyes somewhat at the very end. Savannah is a ...more
Alissa
Jesus Christ, Pat Conroy. You can write. You really, really can, but this book ought to come with a month's sample of Zoloft.

It's not that the big terrible events in the story aren't terrible. They are. It's the incessant whining in the guise of irritating foreshadowing that makes me give this book 3 stars instead of 4.

[southern accent]
"Me and Savannah and Luke were filled with overpowering love for each other watching the majestic blue heron take off into the GD perfect Southern sky that encomp
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Book Concierge
Audiobook narrated by Frank Muller
3.5***

Tom Wingo leaves his Charleston home to go to New York City because his twin sister, Savannah, has tried, yet again, to commit suicide. Savannah has repressed much of her childhood and her psychiatrist, Dr Susan Lowenstein, is hoping that Tom can fill in the gaps in an effort to get to the cause of Savannah’s mental illness/distress. As Tom reluctantly begins to recall their childhood spent in the Low Country of South Carolina, he slowly comes to realize t
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Natalie Richards
This book is so emotional. I`ve never read a Pat Conroy novel before and have not seen the film so didn`t really know what to expect. It is the story of a very dysfunctional family spanning forty years, filled with memorable characters and all the pain and flaws that children from a damaged childhood carry with them into adulthood. Very believable and raw.
Joana
Este foi o primeiro livro que li de Pat Conroy, mas seguramente não será ultimo - tenho já em lista de espera outro livro deste autor, que também tem como cenário a Carolina do Sul, intitulado "O Último Verão das Nossas Vidas".

"O Príncipe das Marés" não é Tom Wingo, a figura central da história. Este homem de meia idade, desempregado e a viver uma crise no seu casamento, ao mesmo tempo que tenta lidar com mais uma tentativa de suicídio da sua irmã gémea, não tem em si mesmo força de carácter par
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Connie
Never been both, so happy to see a book end and sad at to finish the last page as I have with TPoT. This is one of the types of books I love the most...so beautiful that you ache with each word you read...yet at the same time your gut is clinched in knots that are painful and your heart is pounding out of your chest because of the horrors you are witnessing. yes, I said witnessing. I did not simply *read* this book....I was there. I experienced it. I witnessed it....There were parts I laughed s ...more
Kellie
This is the 3rd Conroy book I’ve read. It is probably one of the best books I’ve read. Conroy’s writing is quite beautiful. I am captured by the way he describes the south. Most people I talk to have either read the book or have seen the movie. The book is about a southern family that has a violent history that carries on through adulthood. Conroy makes this family sound very authentic, like they actually exist. Southern families seem so strong and noble even when they have something to hide. Th ...more
Leslie
What a great book. Wow. I'm sitting here in the few minutes after finishing reading and I've got tears on my face.

I lived in Charleston when they were filming the movie version of 'The Prince of Tides' in somewhat nearby Beaufort SC. We were all abuzz wondering if we'd see some celebrities. Naturally I had to see the movie. Which I immediately loved. Born and raised in Georgia, I could never be a South Carolinian no matter how many years I lived there. I'm proud of my own heritage, but always h
...more
Donna Galanti
Pat Conroy is a master at lyrical prose that digs deep without letting go. At times it takes him awhile to get around and about but the path along the way is the reward. Its to be savored - and passages read again. This book was beautiful and horrifying at the same time. Tragic and yet there is hope.

Conroy creates characters of such depth - that we totally understand and can empathize with even the most wretched of characters such as the father. And then there is the hardened mother, a survivor
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uroosa
ok so i loved 9/10ths of this book. it was beautifully written...like a long poem that had both inter-sentence and inter-paragraph symmetry. each line is cleverly carved to make a whole. the story itself is not anything new: parents who screw up in the same ways as always, children who cope or don't cope. but it was the language really that was wonderful.

what i didn't like about this book was the ending. i felt like that was pulled out of a hat. here's a family whose daily lives were like war, l
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Kate Dolack
The Prince of Tides changed my life. Though my review has less to do with the actual content of the book and more of a personal story, I believe that is what truly great books do: they influence us, the make us reflect upon ourselves, and they set new courses in our life. I first happened upon 'The Prince of Tides,' as a twenty-something fresh-faced college kid who was starting to grow slightly anxious with the push and pull of life; the long days and paltry pay of television production compiled ...more
Gregory S.
Pat Conroy writes the same story over and over. That sounds like a complaint, but it's not. His stories all seem to revolve around an earnest, clever, but very conflicted young man who is the product of a wildly dysfunctional family. They can be emotionally painful to read.

But everything Conroy writes is also infused with humor and affection and a deep abiding love of the South Carolina low country. Every single book he's written has made me laugh out loud. They've all made me cringe as well, fr
...more
Dave
This may be a difficult book for many people to read, especially those who were fortunate enough to come from a decent home. There are few stories about life in the Wingo home that do not provoke a feeling of horror upon reading them ... the average person may find it difficult to believe that such a family might actually exist. Unfortunately, stories like theirs are all too common.

There are few happy moments in the book, but the ones that exist are genuinely good, like cool evening rain breakin
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Pat Conroy is the New York Times bestselling author of two memoirs and seven novels, including The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, and The Lords of Discipline. Born the eldest of seven children in a rigidly disciplined military household, he attended the Citadel, the military college of South Carolina. He briefly became a schoolteacher (which he chronicled in his memoir The Water Is Wide) befo ...more
More about Pat Conroy...
Beach Music South of Broad The Great Santini The Lords of Discipline The Water Is Wide: A Memoir

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“You get a little moody sometimes but I think that's because you like to read. People that like to read are always a little fucked up.” 6602 likes
“My wound is geography. It is also my anchorage, my port of call.” 68 likes
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