Pat Conroy: My Exaggerated Life

Oct 1, 2018

Pat Conroy and Katherine Clark
Credit Tamika Moore/Courtesy of the author

Pat Conroy’s memoirs and autobiographical novels contain a great deal about his life, but there is much he hasn’t revealed with readers until now. My Exaggerated Life (2018, University of South Carolina Press) is the product of a special collaboration between this great American author and oral biographer Katherine Clark, who recorded two hundred hours of conversations with Conroy before he passed away in 2016. In the spring and summer of 2014, the two spoke for an hour or more on the phone every day. No subject was off limits, including aspects of his tumultuous life he had never before revealed.

This oral biography presents Conroy the man, as if speaking in person, in the colloquial voice familiar to family and friends. This voice is quite different from the authorial style found in his books, which are famous for their lyricism and poetic descriptions. Here Conroy is blunt, plainspoken, and uncommonly candid. While his novels are known for their tragic elements, this volume is suffused with Conroy’s sense of humor, which he credits with saving his life.

Clark talks with Walter Edgar about her relationship with Pat Conroy, and about the things she discovered about him in their many conversations.

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