Cary Fagan: The Student
A portrait of a life in two snapshots.
It’s 1957 and Miriam Moscowitz is starting her final year of university with unwavering ambition. She is a passionate student who studies hard, dates a handsome Jewish man with a good job, and is the apple of her father’s eye (and worry of her mother’s). But when a meeting with a professor she admires turns sour, her dreams of a life immersed in literature are extinguished and—perhaps for the first time—she becomes unsure of how to break a path for herself.
It’s 2005 and Miriam is readying her backyard for a wedding. She picks up one of her books from 1957 and reads the marginalia written in her young, minuscule handwriting. She wonders what the young person who had written all these words almost half a century ago has to do with the older woman who is deciphering them now.
The Student is a compassionate and compelling novel that brings together two pivotal times in history. In beautiful prose, it reveals how we are shaped by – and try to overcome – the constraints of our times.
Finalist for the 2019 Governor-General’s Literary Award for Fiction
This Lecture is part of the 2020-21 Literary Lecture Series, a popular series has been described as a cross between a traditional book club and a university course without exams. Registration for this event is currently restricted to registration for the Thursday Series (available here) or the Full Subscription Series (available here).
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