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Posted October 2, 2013

PAT CONROY, FULTON CHAPEL, AND THE DEATH OF SANTINI

Prize-winning author is scheduled for November 1, 7 pm at Fulton Chapel, University of Mississippi

 Travelers, please contact Square Books at 662-236-2262 or visit www.squarebooks.com  for more details or to order books.

No one who was in Fulton Chapel for the 1995 Oxford Conference for the Book will ever forget the appearance on stage of Pat Conroy, and lined up beside him, his editor, his agent, his publicist, his high school English teacher, and his father, Donald Conroy, the model of Lt. Col Bull Meechum, or "The Great Santini." The unforgettable moment that caused the audience to gasp, audibly, occurred when Pat Conroy mentioned he had an announcement to make, news that made him "very happy," then saying he had just learned that his father -- standing nearby -- was terminally ill with cancer. Seventeen-plus years later, in conjunction with a brief tour on behalf of his new book, The Death of Santini, Pat Conroy will return to Fulton Chapel on the campus of the University of Mississippi. November 1, 2013. Throughout Conroy's distinguished and dynamic writing career -- The Water Is Wide, The Lords of Discipline, My Reading Life, South of Broad, Beach Music, The Prince of Tides, and My Losing Season, among others -- he has circled back to the love and the demons of his family, where "the ties of blood can both strangle and offer succor." In writing and publishing The Death of Santini, Pat Conroy has said that he "must examine the wreckage one last time." Famous for his passionate, humorous, and riveting storytelling, Pat Conroy’s appearances have drawn over-capacity crowds here, as elsewhere, in the past. At his publisher's request and through the cooperation and generosity of the University of Mississippi, particularly the Chancellor's office and the English Department, Square Books is pleased to join the Oxford-University community in announcing Pat Conroy's return to Fulton Chapel.

About the Book

In this powerful and intimate memoir, the beloved bestselling author of The Prince of Tides and his father, the inspiration for The Great Santini, find some common ground at long last. Pat Conroy’s father, Donald Patrick Conroy, was a towering figure in his son’s life. The Marine Corps fighter pilot was often brutal, cruel, and violent; as Pat says, “I hated my father long before I knew there was an English word for ‘hate.’” As the oldest of seven children who were dragged from military base to military base across the South, Pat bore witness to the toll his father’s behavior took on his siblings, and especially on his mother, Peg. She was Pat’s lifeline to a better world—that of books and culture. But eventually, despite repeated confrontations with his father, Pat managed to claw his way toward a life he could have only imagined as a child.

   Pat’s great success as a writer has always been intimately linked with the exploration of his family history. While the publication of The Great Santini brought Pat much acclaim, the rift it caused with his father brought even more attention. Their long-simmering conflict burst into the open, 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, he and his son reached a rapprochement of sorts. Quite unexpectedly, the Santini who had freely doled out physical abuse to his wife and children refocused his ire on those who had turned on Pat over the years. He defended his son’s honor.

The Death of Santini is at once a heart-wrenching account of personal and family struggle and a poignant lesson in how the ties of blood can both strangle and offer succor. It is an act of reckoning, an exorcism of demons, but one whose ultimate conclusion is that love can soften even the meanest of men, lending significance to one of the most-often quoted lines from Pat’s bestselling novel The Prince of Tides: “In families there are no crimes beyond forgiveness.”

Event details:

Upon request, two free tickets will be available to each individual who orders a signed copy of THE DEATH OF SANTINI.

A number of tickets have been set aside for students and staff at the University of Mississippi. Ole Miss i.d. holders may pick up a free ticket to this event by coming to

Square Books during regular hours or at the English Department offices. Limit one ticket per individual.

Due to time constraints, Conroy will just sign books without personalization.

 

Travelers, please contact Square Books at 662-236-2262 or visit www.squarebooks.com  for more details or to order books.