By Susan Woodring
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312675011, 368pp.)
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Categories: Contemporary Women
When Percy Harding, Goliath’s most important citizen, is discovered dead by the railroad tracks outside town one perfect autumn afternoon, no one can quite believe it’s really happened. Percy, the president of the town’s world-renowned furniture company, had seemed invincible. Only Rosamond Rogers, Percy’s 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 isn’t 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 Rosamond’s anchor, but it is beginning to quiver with the possibility of change. The high school girls are writing suicide poetry. The town’s young, lumbering sidewalk preacher is courting Rosamond’s 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 town’s 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.
SUSAN WOODRING grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her previous publications are a first novel, The Traveling Disease, and Springtime On Mars: Stories. She has been published in Passages North and a variety of other literary publications. She won the 2006 Isotope Editor's Prize, has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, and was a notable mention in Best American Short Stories 2010.
"Like a contemporary Winesburg, Ohio, Susan Woodring's Goliath brings small town life beautifully, achingly alive. Sprinkled with marching bands, baseball, and parades, and a cast of southern characters who will charm the pants off you, Goliath is a memorable novel, written in a new memorable voice."—Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle
"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 The Watery Part of the World
"Woodring's writing is so clear and moving that the reader often feels, as she says of about one of her characters, as if 'the world had been sucked clear of true sound.' This beautiful portrait of a place and its people, rendered so quietly and intimately, shuts out the world outside its pages as you read. Only the best novels can make you forget yourself as reader. Goliath is the kind of book you don't want to put down or to end."--Brad Watson, author of The Heaven of Mercury
"Goliath is a beautiful and quietly moving story of love, grief, forgiveness and redemption — heady themes handled here with a big heart and a deft hand. In prose exquisitely clear and with details that will make your heart ache, Susan Woodring has written a meaningful portrait of small town life, and what it means to move through grief toward love."--Bret Lott, author of Ancient HighwayUltimately a novel about a town that takes on a life of its own, Woodring’s latest is melodious, deliberate, surprising, and full of those essential little moments that make up entire lifetimes. Readers who enjoy sinking into the layered details of small-town life should enjoy this rich portrait." -- Julie Trevelyan of Booklist