The Prince of Tides is one of those books that I will pick up and reread more than once. I enjoyed Conroy's use of flashbacks with one exception. The point in which Tom, the main character, discusses his brother Luke's death was a little drawn out and seemed more to showcase the backdrop of the islands in which the family grew up in. This could have been shortened quite a bit. I felt the story became bogged down here, despite the emotion that Luke's death brings out in Tom, and I couldn't wait to get through this part. Many of the other flashbacks, showing the father's war experience, the kids' relationships with each other and with the parent's and grandparents, were very enjoyable.
Conroy's language when describing South Carolina is breathtaking. The picture was brilliantly painted. The characters were well defined, and even the father, with all his ignorance and abusiveness, by the end, I found him endearing in that Tom finally realized he (dad) was battling his own demons in a more private way. Conroy was even able to give a certain depth to the grandparents and their relationship with the 3 children despite not being a large part of the story.
This is one of my favorite Pat Conroy novels.