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The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Monday, November 09, 2009

South of Broad

South of Broad

By Pat Conroy

Nan A. Talese-Doubleday, 2009

$29 .95

This novel has poetic descriptions of the city and nature. It is a moving story of racial tension that moves to love and harmony. Religion is taken seriously, with questioning, peace and showing perversity. There is a murder and natural mayhem. Moving rituals of honor and goodness are juxtaposed with vulgarity and delightful humor.

The city of Charleston, South Carolina, is seen in its glory with its broken and redemptive humanity. Pat Conroy describes the beauty of the city, the land and the water in poetic language and color.

The populace of the well to do who live south of Broad in Charleston is there; the rednecks, the African Americans, schools, college, churches and journalism are presented. The book explores all the important elements of a small city mixed into a tale of pain, hypocrisy, madness, race, wealth, snobbery, fear, revenge and hope and freedom.

Leo’s bother commits suicide. Their mother is principal of the high school. Leo is a nerd who falls in with some high school seniors of mixed race. They play football, begin dating eventually marrying and go to San Francisco to find one of their number who has AIDS. These good friends return to Charleston to a mad mother and murderous father and an important Roman Catholic prelate, a hurricane and final resolution.

The negatives are too much football, not enough intimacy and sex, and a too bizarre murder. But it is still a wonderful tale, gripping, wildly humorous and full of love and affection among friends of mixed race and sexual orientation.

Ann and I visited Charleston for five days in May of 2009 and really loved it. Our friend Bob Switz and his wife, Cheryl, live there and he took us on a horse drawn carriage trip trough the city streets.

Ann taught one of Pat Conroy’s daughters at Convent.

I was glad we went to Charleston and was delighted to read South of Broad.

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