Beach music is a well written novel about a man trying to cope with his mother’s imminent death while coming to terms with his wife’s early demise and their history together on South Carolina soil.
When we meet Jack, he’s stubbornly hiding in Italy, having fled from his family after the suicide of his wife. He tries to give his daughter a life without the pressure of coming from his family. His side of the story is quite strong headed and he seems somewhat difficult to be around. He adores his little girl but has a quick temper when he feels that his privacy is threatened.
Still, after a phone call from the home front, he gets on a plane back to his roots, which happens to be Waterford, South Carolina. His mother is dying from leukemia and while he tries to be there for her, his family and their past gets under his skin making him feel a part of a whole again.
The story itself has a sense of comfort. While reading I felt wrapped in the southern hospitality and I couldn’t help thinking about famous movies like Gone With The Wind and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil where time has a funny way of standing still while all around them it flies by. When this novel ended, on a sad note, I felt moved and saddened that I had to leave this wonderful world by the Atlantic Ocean. I wished to read on, this novel felt so much like a warm blanket I wasn’t compelled to let it go. But since an ending is still an ending and I can’t go by Pat Conroy’s office demanding more, I have to be content of adding South Carolina to the list of places I want to visit someday.