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Marge Hallissy via ZOOM

June 28: Ann Patchett, Tom Lake. ISBN 978-0063327528.  Drama meets fiction in Patchett’s new novel. A summer stock production of Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town during the 1980s forms the background for a family saga. Years later, during the pandemic year of 2020, her three grown daughters have returned to the family farm to help pick cherries (see also: Anton Chekhov’s play The Cherry Orchard). To them, Lara recounts the events of that crucial summer, when she was in her twenties, an aspiring theatrical performer, and in love with a fellow cast member.

July 26: Percival Everett, James. ISBN 978-0385550369. Everett’s retelling of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the viewpoint of Huck’s companion Jim has been praised as “both harrowing and ferociously funny” (New York Times). One insightful Amazon reviewer points out that “the raft trip [is] a vehicle for a series of comic vignettes, tragedies, and morality plays,” inviting comparison between at least portions of Twain’s classic. At the same time Everett develops a more complex characterization of James (not Jim) as he steps to the forefront of the tale, with Huck as his sidekick.

August 23: Colm Tóibín, Long Island. ISBN 978-1476785110. In the author’s 2015 novel Brooklyn, readers met Eilis Lacey, a young Irish immigrant to Brooklyn in the 1950s. As the novel ends, Eilis is torn between staying in the United States and marrying Tony Fiorello, a plumber, or returning to Ireland to marry Jim Farrell, her hometown flame. As the title suggests, in Long Island, Eilis, now in her forties, has opted for Tony, a new life in the United States, two teenage children, and a house in Lindenhurst. But a crisis causes her to reconsider all her previous decisions.


 [A Zoom link will be sent to you prior to each session, typically on the day before your class and the morning of your class.  If you have any questions or need help getting online, feel free to call us at 516-480-5733 and we’ll get right back to you with assistance.]

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About the lecturer(s)

Margaret Hallissy

Margaret Hallissy is Professor of English with specialties in medieval literature, Irish literature, and the modern phenomenon of “book groups,” which have sprung up in communities throughout the nation. She has written numerous articles and scholarly books, including works on book group procedures and leadership, as well as Irish-American fiction.

Lecture Details



3 lecture(s)
Day & Time

Friday, 10:00 - 12:00 noon

Jun 28, 2024
Jul 26, 2024
Aug 23, 2024