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Goliathby Susan Woodring
Synopses & Reviews
When Percy Harding, Goliaths most important citizen, is discovered dead by the railroad tracks outside town one perfect autumn afternoon, no one can quite believe its really happened. Percy, the president of the towns world-renowned furniture company, had seemed invincible. Only Rosamond Rogers, Percys secretary, may have had a glimpse of how and why this great man has fallen, and that glimpse tugs at her, urges her to find out more.
Percy isnt the first person to leave Rosamond: everybody seems to, from her husband, Hatley, who walked out on her years ago; to her complicated daughter Agnes, whose girlhood bedroom was papered with maps of the places she wanted to escape to. The town itself is Rosamonds anchor, but it is beginning to quiver with the possibility of change. The high school girls are writing suicide poetry. The towns young, lumbering sidewalk preacher is courting Rosamonds daughter. A troubled teenaged boy plans to burn Main Street to the ground. And the furniture factory itself—the very soul of Goliath—threatens to close.
In the wake of the towns undoing, Rosamond seeks to reunite the grief-shaken community. Goliath, a story of loss and love, of forgiveness and letting go, is a lyrical swoon of a novel by an exceptionally talented newcomer.
"When Percy Harding, the head of the furniture factory that sustains Goliath, N.C., is found dead, an apparent suicide, the little town is launched into uncertainty. Woodring (Springtime on Mars) explores the effects of the man's death on his secretary, Rosamond Rogers; on Vincent Bailey, the 14-year-old who discovered his body; and on the townspeople who grapple in other ways as the factory closes and the burg begins to die. Although the dramatic start is engaging (the first sentence ends with Vincent's discovery of Percy's body), all the characters are defined solely by this supposedly transformative tragedy, making the upheavals hard to believe. Harding as emotional soul and economic center of the town strains credulity, and characters gesture theatrically as opposed to living convincingly. When a grieving Rosamond becomes obsessed with putting on a townwide parade, the sense of portentous artificiality grows even stronger. Woodring does effectively convey the sense of a washed-up, dying place, and there are moments of insight, but overall her second novel assumes an air of quiet importance without earning it. Agent: Peter Steinberg, the Steinberg Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Open this book and enter Goliath—a town as fascinating and alive as Elizabeth Strouts Crosby, Maine, or Richard Russos Empire Falls. When Percy Harding, Goliaths most important citizen, is discovered dead by the railroad tracks one perfect autumn afternoon, no one can quite believe its really happened. Percy, the president of the towns world-renowned furniture company, had seemed invincible. Only Rosamond Rogers, Percys secretary, may have the answer to the question everyone is asking: why?
Rosamond has been abandoned by her husband, and fears being left behind by her daughter. Shes accustomed to being lonely and shunned. But in the face of Percys death and all that it means for the town, the people of Goliath, one by one, come to confess and confide in her. Rosamonds years of loneliness have given her an empathy that she taps into to reunite the grief-shaken community. Goliath, a story of loss and love, of forgiveness and letting go, is a lyrical swoon of a novel by an exceptionally talented newcomer.
"Goliath is a careful, contemplative study of the rhythms of collective grief. Woodring's sense of the constraints and hard-earned pleasures of home rings as true and pure as a train whistle in the night."—Michael Parker, author of A Watery Part of the World
When fourteen-year-old Vincent Bailey stumbles upon the body of Percy Harding, Goliaths most important citizen, near the railroad tracks one perfect autumn afternoon, the tragic death seems literally unbelievable: how could it have been a suicide? Only Hardings secretary, Rosamond, might have had a glimmer, but that glimmer just tugs at her, urges her to find out more. Harding isnt the first person to leave Rosamond: everybody does, from her husband Hatley, who walked out on her years ago; to her complicated daughter Agnes, whose girlhood bedroom was papered with the maps of the places she wanted to escape to. Brought to life by a cast of characters as varied and rich as in any fiction—from Clyde Winston, the towns police chief, to Goliaths self-taught preacher Ray to Percy Hardings unmoored widow Lela—Goliaths appeal is as memorable as Elizabeth Strouts Crosby, Maine, or Richard Russos Empire Falls.
About the Author
Susan Woodring grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina. She also lived in California, Alabama, Illinois, and Indiana as a child. After graduating from Western Carolina University, she spent a year teaching English as a Foreign Language in Vologda, Russia. When she returned, she spent a few years teaching middle school in Lenoir, North Carolina before resigning to begin a family with her husband and to spend more time on her writing. She has a Master in Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing from Queens University, and in September 2007, her first novel, The Traveling Disease, was published by Main Street Rag. Her short story collection, Springtime on Mars, was published by Press 53 in May 2008.
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