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The Lost Prince

A Search for Pat Conroy

List Price: $26.00

February 26, 2019 | Hardcover | 6.1 x 9.1, 288 pages | ISBN 9781640091498
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“In The Lost Prince Michael Mewshaw sets down one of the most gripping stories of friendship I’ve ever read.” –Daniel Menaker, author of My Mistake: A Memoir

Pat Conroy was America’s poet laureate of family dysfunction. A larger-than-life character and the author of such classics as The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini, Conroy was remembered by everybody for his energy, his exuberance, and his self-lacerating humor.

Michael Mewshaw’s The Lost Prince is an intimate memoir of his friendship with Pat Conroy, one that involves their families and those days in Rome when they were both young–when Conroy went from being a popular regional writer to an international bestseller. Family snapshots beautifully illustrate that time. Shortly before his forty-ninth birthday, Conroy telephoned Mewshaw to ask a terrible favor. With great reluctance, Mewshaw did as he was asked–and never saw Pat Conroy again.

Although they never managed to reconcile their differences completely, Conroy later urged Mewshaw to write about “me and you and what happened . . . i know it would cause much pain to both of us. but here is what that story has that none of your others have.” The Lost Prince is Mewshaw’s fulfillment of a promise.

About Michael Mewshaw

MICHAEL MEWSHAW's five decade career includes award-winning fiction, nonfiction, literary criticism and investigative journalism. He is the author of the nonfiction works Sympathy for the Devil: Four Decades of Friendship with Gore Vidal and Between Terror and Tourism; the novel Year of the Gun; and the memoir Do I Owe You Something? He has published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and numerous international outlets. He spends much of his time in Key West, Florida.

Praise for The Lost Prince

Long-listed for the 2020 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography

"Anyone who has lost a friend can relate to this compassionate but no-holds-barred memoir by Michael Mewshaw about his complicated relationship with Pat Conroy. A prolific writer of fiction and nonfiction, Mewshaw met Conroy in the 1980s when they were ex-pats in Rome. The book chronicles their decadeslong friendship." --Suzanne Van Atten, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1 of 10 Southern Books We Want to Read This Year

"Michael Mewshaw is an exquisite writer, and The Lost Prince is a gem traveling a path that is mostly unchartered." --David Rothernberg, WBAI, Any Saturday

"[A] resonantly poignant memoir . . . It is the remembrance of his Conroy experiences that forms the basis of this charming autobiographical story . . . The book's lasting value lies in Mewshaw's letting Conroy's vibrancy, whether striking the reader as a positive or negative factor, shine through." --Booklist

"At heart, this fascinating memoir from Mewshaw . . . of his friendship with the late novelist Pat Conroy is a love story . . . An honest, eminently readable look at the fraught but rewarding bond between two writers." --Publishers Weekly

"Novelist and journalist Mewshaw's . . . portrait of his close friend Pat Conroy (1945-2016) is breezy, sympathetic, and affectionate . . . The book is full of wonderful anecdotes and vignettes about fellow writers . . . A fiercely honest and melancholy portrait of a 'protean figure who cast a large shifting shadow.'" --Kirkus Reviews

"In The Lost Prince Michael Mewshaw sets down one of the most gripping stories of friendship I've ever read. With joy and sadness, and great psychological acuity, Mewshaw redeems and supersedes his often turbulent connection to Pat Conroy with the two qualities essential to all great stories: honesty and love." --Daniel Menaker, author of My Mistake: A Memoir

"The Lost Prince: A Search for Pat Conroy is a book about male bonding rituals and reversals, but it's also about so much more than that. It's about how perplexed and inadequately prepared we can be as characters who pop up in other people's lives. It's about unknowability and its repercussions. It's a fluidly written, fascinating book about Michael Mewshaw and Pat Conroy caught in the crossbeams of past and present, fated to overlap, bond, retreat, and then--as Mewshaw clearly hopes--to unite in a different configuration a final time." --Ann Beattie, author of The Accomplished Guest

Praise for Sympathy for the Devil

"Michael Mewshaw's Sympathy for the Devil, his reminiscence of Gore Vidal, proves easy to praise--swift, canny, sensitive, and unafraid." --John Domini, Bookforum

"[Mewshaw's] Vidal is brilliantly alive, raunchy, as easily offended as he is quick to give offense--and then, finally, desperately self-hating, vituperative, and alone." --Julia M. Klein, The Boston Globe

"Exceptionally entertaining." --Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

"Mewshaw develops a picture of his friend as quixotic, a devoted life-mate to his companion Howard Austin, an avuncular if not fatherly figure and often a raging provocateur at dinner parties, banquets and conferences-except when he's not. Mewshaw records a lot of sharp, witty one-liners which, as he reveals, Vidal practiced and polished before he delivered them. And the vast amounts of alcohol the writer imbibed on a daily basis reveal him to be a contradictory character . . . A study of friendship with a famous man, easy to admire and difficult to love." --Alan Cheuse, NPR, All Things Considered

"Fascinating . . . Sympathy for the Devil might be the perfect Vidal biography because it reveals a figure that is more human--more flawed, more interesting, more real--than the caricature that the public came to accept as the bona fide Gore." --Doug Childers, Richmond Times

"Michael Mewshaw knew Vidal as a friend for nearly forty years, and he pays his respects to him in this affectionate, sympathetic biography. [Sympathy for the Devil is] a thoroughly entertaining, breezy and up-close memoir about a public man of 'wealth and taste' who prided himself on his pride." --Tom Lavoie, Shelf Awareness

"In Sympathy for the Devil, Michael Mewshaw removes the mask to reveal a man much more complex and tortured than most fans of Vidal's writings might ever have dared imagine . . . The decline and fall of Gore Vidal is a painful but perversely exciting read. Behind the patrician veneer was clearly a troubled man." --Robert Collison, The Toronto Star

"A companionable account that finally succeeds in living up to its title. The reader, too, will feel sympathy for the old devil . . . there is little doubt that Mewshaw's affection for Vidal is genuine." --James Campbell, The Times Literary Supplement

"[A] fun read." --Chicago Tribune

"To Mewshaw's credit, readers will share his sadness as he watches his dear friend, the oft-irascible, even unlikable Vidal, decline." --Publishers Weekly

"Built of anecdote and gossip, Sympathy for the Devil proffers entertainment rather than heft. It makes a good read for a sunny day on the beach, a rainy day in the house, or a long flight." --Washington Independent Review of Books

"Mewshaw's account is more devilish (and sometimes downright cruel) than sympathetic, but it's also well-written, funny and never boring. Literary lives don't get dishier." --Kirkus

"In Sympathy for the Devil: Four Decades of Friendship with Gore Vidal (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) author Michael Mewshaw reveals an individual as gorgeous as any of Vidal's historical or fictional characters. His portrayal of Vidal is not a bouquet, yet it does reflect the love of a friendship lasting four decades. Mewshaw was in awe of the master, but he was not taken in by him." --Lambda Literary

Praise for Between Terror and Tourism

"At last, somebody's come to grips with North Africa, and the good news is that that somebody is Michael Mewshaw, the veteran novelist and travel writer. His droll, plucky, hands-on trek from the Suez to the souks of Tangier, a region marked by doubtful democracies, Islamic fundamentalism and colorful characters, leaves us far wiser--not to mention superbly entertained. Mewshaw's fascinating, never-dull book should be required reading for the State Department and, better yet, for the Pentagon." --Theodore Stanger, former Newsweek Bureau Chief in Jerusalem and Paris

"In a part of the world where the perils of sand and sunburn really do compete with the danger of bullets and bombs, Michael Mewshaw travels with humor, insight and a sense of history. Don't miss this trip!" --Richard Roth, CNN correspondent

"Michael Mewshaw takes the reader on a journey most can only dream of. He scares, thrills and informs on his gritty tale of solo travel through a region little understood by the outside world. His hilarious accounts of his quixotic experiences underplay the dangers he faces. If you want to feel the warmth of the Mediterranean sun, the chill of north African rain, and the bumps in the road this is the book to read. Mewshaw is one of the finest travel writers of our time." --Nic Robertson, Senior International Correspondent at CNN

"This is the story of a journey through a part of the world both unknown and relevant to most Americans. It is an enlightening and very entertaining book." --Tracy Kidder, author of Mountains Beyond Mountains

"Seasoned travelers will sympathize with the cultural misunderstandings and bureaucratic troubles encountered in various places, particularly Libya. Mewshaw admits that 'travel is a need as urgent as oxygen.' That urgency is evident in each well-turned phrase and incisive observation." --Library Journal

"Mewshaw wonderfully engages the travel reader's vicarious demand for history, cultural insight, and unexpected incident." --Booklist

Praise for If You Could See Me Now

"[A] real bond grew between the adopted child and the man who was not her father but who became her friend. Mewshaw helped Amy patiently and compassionately in spite of his hurts and shortcomings, just as he once helped her mother. There is courage in this exercise, and there is hope. Supported by loving families in the present, these two people went looking for an uncomfortable piece of the past together. Now that they have found it, maybe they both can leave it behind." --The Washington Post

"If You Could See Me Now is a work of art and stands shoulder to shoulder with the best memoirs of our age. Mewshaw's career is a pure wonder and If You Could See Me Now is his crowning achievement." --Pat Conroy, author of The Death of Santini and The Prince of Tides

"Mewshaw's considerable skill as writer lends heart and spirit to his bittersweet chronicle . . . Mewshaw shares his memories poignantly and honestly . . . The results are powerful, indeed." --Midwest Book Review

"[P]oignant . . . What makes the narrative distinctive is that the storyteller is not a part of the adoption triad (birthparent, adopting parent, and adoptee), yet it still illustrates the difficulties that adoptees face in researching their biological background and in locating birth parents who had been assured of anonymity . . . Although true, this story reads like fiction and is hard to put down once started. An excellent addition to all public libraries; highly recommended." --Library Journal

Praise for Playing Away

"Mewshaw presents portraits of well-known writers (Graham Greene and Gore Vidal, for example) who have chosen to make their homes in other than their native countries. While somewhat lacking in focus, this is an energetic and intelligent work." --Publishers Weekly

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