The Water Is Wide: A Memoir

Open Road Media
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New York Times Bestseller: The “miraculous” memoir of an inspiring teacher and the students who changed his life on an impoverished South Carolina island (Newsweek).
Though the children of Yamacraw Island live less than two miles from the southern mainland, they can’t name the US president or the ocean that surrounds them. Most can’t read or write. Many of the students are the descendants of slaves, handicapped by poverty and isolation.
When Pat Conroy arrives, an eager young teacher at the height of the civil rights movement, he finds a community still bound by the bitter effects of racism, but he is determined to broaden its members’ horizons and give them a voice.
In this poignant memoir, which Newsweek called “an experience of joy,” the New York Times–bestselling author of The Prince of Tides plumbs his experiences as a young teacher on an isolated South Carolina island to reveal the shocking inequalities of the American education system.
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.
Pat Conroy’s great success as a writer has always been intimately linked with the exploration of his family history. As the oldest of seven children who were dragged from military base to military base across the South, Pat bore witness to the often cruel and violent behavior of his father, Marine Corps fighter pilot Donald Patrick Conroy. While the publication of The Great Santini brought Pat much acclaim, the rift it caused brought even more attention, fracturing an already battered family. But as Pat tenderly chronicles here, even the oldest of wounds can heal. In the final years of Don Conroy’s life, the Santini unexpectedly refocused his ire to defend his son’s honor.
The Death of Santini is a heart-wrenching act of reckoning whose ultimate conclusion is that love can soften even the meanest of men, lending significance to the oft-quoted line from Pat’s novel The Prince of Tides: “In families there are no crimes beyond forgiveness.”
Praise for The Death of Santini
“A brilliant storyteller, a master of sarcasm, and a hallucinatory stylist whose obsession with the impress of the past on the present binds him to Southern literary tradition.”—The Boston Globe
“A painful, lyrical, addictive read that [Pat Conroy’s] fans won’t want to miss.”—People
“Conroy’s conviction pulls you fleetly through the book, as does the potency of his bond with his family, no matter their sins.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Vital, large-hearted and often raucously funny.”—The Washington Post
“Conroy writes athletically and beautifully, slicing through painful memories like a point guard splitting the defense.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

From the Trade Paperback edition.


16 total

Additional Information

Open Road Media
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Published on
Aug 31, 2010
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Biography & Autobiography / Educators
Biography & Autobiography / Literary
Education / Rural
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Final words and heartfelt remembrances from bestselling author Pat Conroy take center stage in this winning nonfiction collection, supplemented by touching pieces from Conroy’s many friends.

This new volume of Pat Conroy’s nonfiction brings together some of the most charming interviews, magazine articles, speeches, and letters from his long literary career, many of them addressed directly to his readers with his habitual greeting, “Hey, out there.” Ranging across diverse subjects, such as favorite recent reads, the challenge of staying motivated to exercise, and processing the loss of dear friends, Conroy’s eminently memorable pieces offer a unique window into the life of a true titan of Southern writing.

With a beautiful introduction from his widow, novelist Cassandra King, A Lowcountry Heart also honors Conroy’s legacy and the innumerable lives he touched. Finally, the collection turns to remembrances of “The Great Conroy,” as he is lovingly titled by friends, and concludes with a eulogy. The inarguable power of Conroy’s work resonates throughout A Lowcountry Heart, and his influence promises to endure.

This moving tribute is sure to be a cherished keepsake for any true Conroy fan and remain a lasting monument to one of the best-loved masters of contemporary American letters.

Praise for A Lowcountry Heart

“A fascinating look into the mind of one of the South’s greatest authors . . . something to remember him by and cherish for years to come.”—The Clarion-Ledger

“Fans of Conroy . . . will relish the chance to spend more time with him in this glowing valedictory to his life and writing . . . Eloquent, folksy, and sometimes brutally honest.”—Publishers Weekly

“A moving and proper tribute to a true Southern icon.”—The Florida Times-Union 

“Elegant essays [that] will not disappoint.”—The Washington Post

“Resplendent . . . As always, his storytelling, word choice and rhythm are gorgeous, almost lyrical.”—USA Today
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