Patrick Conroy hurls words and ideas at you and they all land in a perfectly harmonized formation of drama, humor and outrageously engaging characters. His gift for creating characters from words on a page to larger than life people is magnificent. Beach Music incorporates some very difficult topics and weaves together a number of complex story lines, which intertwine in this multi generational epic. In all his books he is excellent at depicting dysfunction in families and this book is no exception.
Beach Music is essentially about Jack McCall; a single dad trying to raise his little girl Leah in Rome after his wife Shyla commits suicide. He wants to get far away from the dysfunction of the families and demons he leaves behind in South Carolina. But your roots are your roots, and circumstance brings Jack back home like a slingshot to the epicenter of drama. He is catapulted in to the lives of his 4 brothers, the most interesting of which is John Hardin his paranoid schizophrenic sibling, his mother who is battling cancer, his holocaust survivor in-laws who tried to take Leah in a dirty custody battle and old school friends who are not without major drama which peaked during the time of the Vietnam war. Beach Music had me laughing, thinking and sobbing. It's one of those books you need time to savor. I hate saying goodbye to these people who have become part of my life, albeit for a short time. So sorry to see it end.