July 7, 2003
Ian McEwan's "Atonement"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Is Required Summer Reading at Smith
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- Ian McEwan's
internationally acclaimed and award-winning "Atonement,"
described as "a haunting novel of guilt and redemption in
World War II England," is the required summer reading for
students entering Smith College this fall.
The 650 members of Smith's Class of 2007 are reading the book
over the summer and will meet in small groups with staff and
faculty members, including Smith President Carol T. Christ, to
discuss their reactions to it as part of their orientation to
the college. The group discussions will take place at 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 2, in student residences.
Tom Riddell, associate dean of the college and chair of the committee
that chose the summer reading, finds "Atonement" an
unexpectedly fitting selection for students entering college
and joining a community of learners.
"Atonement" is not only a challenging and complex story,
he says, but one that engages "matters of interpretation,
honesty, integrity and the consequences of choices, in terms
of relationships, fortunes and reputations."
Michael Thurston, associate professor of English at Smith, concurs.
"'Atonement' is, first and foremost, a breathtaking literary
performance," Thurston remarks.
"In addition, the novel is a deeply serious exploration
of moral questions, a profound dramatization of the need for
great care in our dealings with each other. At the same time,
it is never moralistic, didactic or preachy."
McEwan's book joins a list of past required summer reading selections
that includes Barbara Ehrenreich's "Nickel and Dimed: On
(Not) Getting By in America"; Anne Fadiman's "The Spirit
Catches You and You Fall Down"; Toni Morrison's "The
Bluest Eye"; Ruth Ozeki's "My Year of Meats";
and Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot's "Respect."
Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation's foremost
liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state
and 55 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women's
college in the country.
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