South of Broad by Pat Conroy

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BONUS: This edition contains a South of Broad discussion guide and an excerpt from Pat Conroy's The Great Santini.

Leopold Bloom King has been raised in a family shattered—and shadowed—by tragedy. Lonely and adrift, he searches for something to sustain him and finds it among a tightly knit group of high school outsiders. Surviving marriages happy and troubled, unrequited loves and unspoken longings, hard-won successes and devastating breakdowns, as well as Charleston, South Carolina’s dark legacy of racism and class divisions, these friends will endure until a final test forces them to face something none of them are prepared for.
Spanning two turbulent decades, South of Broad is Pat Conroy at his finest: a masterpiece from a great American writer whose passion for life and language knows no bounds.

About Pat Conroy

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PAT CONROY is the bestselling author of nine previous books: The Boo, The Water Is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, The Prince of Tides, Beach Music, My Losing Season, The Pat Conroy Cookbook, and South of Broad. Several of his books have been made into successful films. He lives in Fripp Island, South Carolina.
Published July 28, 2009 by The Dial Press. 530 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for South of Broad

Kirkus Reviews

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Working a paper route along the banks of the Ashley River and discovering the poetry of place (“a freshwater river let mankind drink and be refreshed, but a saltwater river let it return to first things”), Leo gets himself in a heap of trouble, commemorated years later by the tsk-tsking of the lo...

Jul 01 2009 | Read Full Review of South of Broad

The New York Times

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In Pat Conroy’s novel, old classmates come together to help one of their number.

Aug 23 2009 | Read Full Review of South of Broad

BC Books

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At the same time, the wealth of characters that surround him, and complete him, show what a lucky person Leo King is to have even one, let alone a cadre of such eternal friends.

Oct 17 2009 | Read Full Review of South of Broad


As in his other books, aloof, brittle mothers, sexual abuse of both boys and girls, extensive therapy, football and obsessive ex-cons are major elements in the book.

Sep 10 2009 | Read Full Review of South of Broad

Book Reporter

“Like Charleston,” the novel’s hero, Leopold Bloom King, says, “I had my alleyways that were dead ends and led to nowhere, but mansions were forming like jewels in my bloodstream.” By making his protagonist a paperboy, the author gives us a “Leo’s eye” view of the city: “Meeting [Street] was spac...

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of South of Broad

Entertainment Weekly

I've always been an unabashed fan of Pat Conroy, whose lavishly purpled prose brought the rivers and salt marshes of South Carolina's low country to life in The Prince of Tides.

Aug 07 2009 | Read Full Review of South of Broad

The Washington Post

When I was on Page 322 of Pat Conroy's 514-page new novel, "South of Broad," I began to feel that the characters were crying a lot, which wouldn't have bothered me if the characters were children.

Aug 11 2009 | Read Full Review of South of Broad

Christian Science Monitor

Pat Conroy’s first novel in 14 years follows a group of young friends on into adult life.

Aug 17 2009 | Read Full Review of South of Broad

Suite 101

Rhoda and Samuel each have problems but together they could be successful..

Oct 04 2009 | Read Full Review of South of Broad


Maybe my rich lawyer friend over there could buy you some new shoes, or an operation to fix your crossed eye.” It just makes Conroy seem old, as if he imagines that now that people are all cool with having friends of all creeds and colors, they have to joke about it… every freakin’ time they meet.

Apr 14 2010 | Read Full Review of South of Broad

Open Letters Monthly

The blurted intimacies and anguished condemnations of the following excerpt more or less run on tape-loop across the 500 pages of the book – here, Charleston blueblood Fraser is simultaneously accusing her sister Molly of having an affair with Leo and lamenting the threats of a killer, the father...

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Oregon Live

A great deal happens in that summer of '69, though Conroy interrupts the drama, such as it is, by fast-forwarding to 1989, when Sheba -- "our dream girl" -- returns to Charleston, hoping to recruit her high school friends for a pilgrimage to San Francisco, where Trevor has disappeared in the mids...

Aug 13 2009 | Read Full Review of South of Broad

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Here Leo, the southern boy, nails California in two short sentences: "The West is both a great thirst and a dry, weatherless curiosity.

Aug 10 2009 | Read Full Review of South of Broad Bestsellers

While South of Broad offers definite charms, it lacks the charisma of some of his earlier novels.ProsConroy paints a lyrical picture of Charleston, and his characters are complex and fascinatingConsThe plot turns feel whirlwind and underdevelopedDescription'South of Broad' by Pat Conroy was relea...

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Bookmarks Magazine

When Sheba suggests to Leo that he divorce his wife, he says, “I knew there were problems when I married Starla so I didn't walk into that marriage blind.” Do you think that knowledge obligates Leo to stay with his wife?

Aug 02 2009 | Read Full Review of South of Broad

UT San Diego

(The novel is partly set in 1980s San Francisco during the groundswell of the AIDS epidemic.) "South of Broad" also borrows from other literary genres including the sports-tinged coming-of-age story and the blood-soaked suspense thriller.

Aug 11 2009 | Read Full Review of South of Broad

Book Blogs

The relationship Leo has with old Mr. Canon, the owner of an antique store where Leo performed his community service as a teenager, is a beautiful example of the kind of person Leo King is.

Apr 12 2010 | Read Full Review of South of Broad

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