Time and Tide by Frank Conroy

May 26, 2014 at 2:44 am Leave a comment

Part of my quest to read as many unread books on my shelves as possible before moving.

timetideAlthough I had plenty of books on my shelves that I owned that I wanted to check off and potentially leave behind before moving, there was also a small collection of library books that were even more pressing. After all, those legitimately had to leave my collection—and straight away!

One of the library books was Frank Conroy’s slim Time and Tide: A Walk Through Nantucket, which I had checked out before my first interview for my new job on Nantucket. Inevitably, perhaps, I had gotten distracted by Nat Philbrick and hadn’t ended up reading Time and Tide. With the clock ticking and mere days left until my departure for the island, Time and Tide finally had its day in the sun.

As a preparatory read, it was a sort of strange one. Conroy aptly named his book “a walk through Nantucket” as it is a very meandering set of essays, vacillating between stylistic wildness, like that of Nantucket’s heaths, and prim tidiness, like that of town.

Conroy arrived on Nantucket in the 1960s and had an on/off relationship with the place until his death a few years ago. Thus, even though he characterizes himself as a newish wash-ashore, he is very much of the old guard. As such, much of the book is devoted to tired bemoaning of how the island used to be, how regrettable recent changes are, and how sad it is that things can’t ever be like they were again.

I found out later that Time and Tide was Conroy’s last book and it certainly reads that way. While there is some chronological focus at the start, by the end the chapters just barely string together like a some kind of elegiac necklace, all honed in on the bygone days, but nothing else in particular.

If you’re looking to read about Nantucket before arriving, I would definitely stick with Philbrick. It’s difficult to say who Conroy’s book is for (or who I should recommend it to), but I can only assume that throughout this small island, others of the old guard were reading along and nodding sadly at his apt observations.

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Memoir/Autobiography. Tags: , , , , .

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells Discovering a New Favorite: Gyula Krúdy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Connect with LT

literarytransgressions (Gmail)

@LitTransgressor (Twitter)

LT RSS feed (Subscribe)

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 134 other followers

Categories

LT Archives

In accordance with FTC regulations…

...we must disclose that we are independent bloggers with no ties to authors, publishers, or advertisers. We are not given books or monetary compensation in return for favorable reviews or publicity.

Where we have received advance or complementary copies of books, it will be noted in the body of the entry, and will not affect our review or opinions in the slightest.


%d bloggers like this: