Start: 2:00 pm
A lyrical, gorgeously written novel by a talented newcomer, Susan Woodring’s Goliath is set in a declining North Carolina furniture manufacturing town and focuses on the life and longing of Rosamond Rogers, secretary to the scion of the Harding Company, who has just—to the surprise of all but Rosamond—committed suicide. When fourteen-year-old Vincent Bailey stumbles upon the body of Percy Harding, Goliath’s 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 Harding’s secretary, Rosamond, might have had a glimmer, but that glimmer just tugs at her, urges her to find out more. Harding isn’t 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 town’s police chief, to Goliath’s self-taught preacher Ray, to Percy Harding’s unmoored widow Lela—Goliath’s appeal is as memorable as Elizabeth Strout’s Crosby, Maine, or Richard Russo’s Empire Falls.