This year as every year I searched the Internet today looking for a post or two about the birth of the American novelist, Pat Conroy, born in Atlanta on this day in 1945. Again, there was nothing to find other than the obligatory and brief single liner. And so I am left to bring readers more than a name and a date about this Lowcountry treasure, his rich descriptive writing and intense webs of characters forged out of family and place.
Even in his fiction, Pat Conroy has a way of writing about himself and all of us as we face the challenges and adversities - mental and physical - of growing into young adulthood and beyond. Stated another way, Conroy has extraordinary skill in probing the long childhoods many of us face as we grow and change. For him, it's an arduous journey, carried out with the same reality that comes with recognizing nature as a cruel mother. Yes, there is beauty and light along the way, but the mountains can't stand without the valleys, and Conroy's reality has its share of both. Some may not enjoy such a journey, but it is a good dose of reality and I and millions of other readers hold Conroy in high esteem.
His latest book, The Death of Santini: A Story of A Father and His Son (2013) explores the intense and often suffocating relationship Conroy experienced with his domineering father. It is an autobiographical journey ending in a fragile reconciliation reconfirming the powerful bonds shared by every family.
The image above comes from a screen capture of a UNCTV interview conducted in February 2014. Interested readers may view this 27 minute program here. Well worth your time.