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Favorite Books #7

Frank Conroy's Body & Soul is one of those books that stays with you in images, in feeling. Often, I will not remember exact plot details, or even character names, but I will recall how a novel made me feel while I was reading. How I longed to get back to the story each night. In Body & Soul, Conroy (not to be confused with Pat Conroy, a completely different sort of writer), pulls us into the life of a young, disadvantaged boy in 1920s New York who happens to be a skilled piano player. I still remember, ten plus years on, the opening image of a smokey daylight basement, light leaking through as the protagonist watches the legs of passersby. The struggles and triumphs of the Claude, the young boy who learns to play with the help of a neighbor.

I would also highly recommend Conroy's Stop-Time, one of the best memoirs I have ever read, rife with equally memorable moments, such as the author speeding down the road at an unsafe speed, pedaling his bike through southern streets. Though the book jumps around in time it's almost challenging to keep up with, Conroy's wordsmithing outweighs any momentarily confusion. You still want to keep reading.

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