The Prince of Tides tells the story of Tom Wingo, a teacher and football coach who is reluctant to help his twin sister's psychiatrist unlock their dysfunctional family's secrets. When the sister, famous New York poet Savannah Wingo, attempts suicide again, Tom is torn from his safe and dull world and travels to New York to help her. Savannah, though, is in such a dissociated state that she is unable to help her psychiatrist, Susan Lowenstein, understand the extent of her problems. Susan asks Tom to act as his twin's memory and help her uncover the subconscious painful events that contributed to her emotional collapse and loss of identity. Tom and Susan fall in love as they work together to help Savannah, and Tom is healed from his emotional numbness as he realizes it results from the severe traumas that he endured with his mother and siblings.

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