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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-02-27
- Reviewer: Staff
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. (Apr.)