Goucher Presents a Reading by Colum McCann

This summer, new students at Goucher College will read Colum McCann’s sweeping and radical social novel Let the Great World Spin. The book is Goucher’s 2013 summer reading assignment for first-year and transfer students.

Selected based on suggestions from faculty and staff, Let the Great World Spin will spark discussion among new students, staff, and professors during Goucher’s fall orientation session. This summer, incoming students will receive a copy of the book and study guide questions to foster group conversation during a daylong discussion that will be held on Sunday, August 25. McCann will also present a free public reading that day at 7:30 p.m. in the Hyman Forum of the Athenaeum.

This ambitious novel is set in New York City in August 1974, a time of transition, extraordinary promise, and — in hindsight — heartbreaking innocence for the nation. The country is enthralled by a mysterious tightrope walker who is running, dancing, leaping between the Twin Towers. In the streets below, the lives of McCann’s characters become extraordinary.

Corrigan, a radical young Irish monk, struggles with his own demons as he lives among the prostitutes in the middle of the burning Bronx. A group of mothers gather in a Park Avenue apartment to mourn their sons who died in Vietnam, only to discover just how much divides them even in grief. A young artist finds herself at the scene of a hit-and-run that sends her own life careening sideways. Tillie, a 38-year-old grandmother, turns tricks alongside her teenage daughter, determined not only to take care of her family, but to prove her own worth.

In this critically acclaimed novel, McCann elegantly weaves together the unforgettable voices of the city’s people, unexpectedly bound by hope, beauty, and the “artistic crime of the century.”

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