ANOTHER PASSING REMEMBERED….In what is becoming the week of famous deaths comes news of Frank Conroy’s passing. Unless you follow the Iowa Writer’s Workshop closely, you probably heard of Conroy only in the context of, “No…not that Conroy…you’re thinking of Pat.” But in addition to nurturing the careers of many a talented writer in Iowa, Frank Conroy was an accomplished novelist himself, earning a National Book Award nomination before age 30 and writing what is still one of my favorite all-time books: Body and Soul. It’s the tale of an unlikely musical prodigy; while the book slows down somewhat in the final third, the first two-thirds of the book are magical, the best written description I’ve seen of what it feels like to have music in your fingers and the joy of giving voice to that music through a piano. Read the book and remember Frank Conroy.
Amy Sullivan is a Chicago-based journalist who has written about religion, politics, and culture as a senior editor for Time, National Journal, and Yahoo. She was an editor at the Washington Monthly from 2004 to 2006.More by Amy Sullivan