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Going Away Shoesby Jill McCorkle
Synopses & Reviews
Jill McCorkle, a master of the short story whose work has been compared to that of Alice Munro and Lorrie Moore, is a writer whose characters insist on our immediate and total attention. Here, in her first collection in eight years, are eleven new stories bristling with her signature wit and weight. One way or the other, all of these stories are about women looking love in the face without flinching. Some of them are confronting the reality of domestic disruption; others are simply flirting with the possibilities-and dangers-of change. McCorkle's characters make mistakes but aren't interested in hiding behind them. They get divorced or quit their jobs or tell people to step aside, and they move on.
From the first story, about a modern-day Cinderella contemplating escape, to the last, Me and Big Foot, an idyll about finding the perfect prince, McCorkle's collection is the genuine article, the work of a great storyteller who knows exactly how-and why-to pair longing and laughter.
"A lack of narrative distance and interchangeable protagonists sink McCorkle's latest short story collection. The constant barbs aimed at the siblings and the cold-hearted, overmedicated mothers of the parade of ubiquitously decent and forlorn heroines in 'Another Dimension,' 'Going Away Shoes' and 'Happy Accidents' reveal little about either the abusers or the so-called victims. Most of McCorkle's analogies and insights into human nature come from television shows and feel one note, such as when a character in 'Another Dimension' owns Manolos in order to be like Sarah Jessica Parker. Too many of the protagonists are motivated by identical feelings of self-pitying vindictiveness. There is Ann in 'Another Dimension,' whose relationship has soured with her abusive and manipulative brother, Jimmy, as well as Debby in 'Going Away Shoes,' who sacrificed her career to care for a dying mother and spoiled siblings. McCorkle (Creatures of Habit) does manage a few heartfelt descriptions, but the pervasive venom too soon becomes toxic. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"What do women want? This immensely appealing collection features a woman who answers with a single word: 'Out.' Another woman likens marriage to a mirage. These spirited and surprising stories are powered by humor and hard-won understanding of the lacerating effects of union. The result: admirable women who are 'sure-footed and steady in real time.'" Amy Hempel
"The best, most artful McCorkle stories ever. Going Away Shoes is laugh-out-loud funny, full of sharp, incisive humor that explains us to ourselves. Only McCorkle can frame a 'stay or go' choice as paint shaken or separated; she understands our cultural losses and obsessions, inventing characters we become as we read them: the caretaker sister, the grandmother under siege, the divorcee and her Christmas Eve septic tank emergency. Going Away Shoes opens the soul of the sweetest sadnesses with common sense wisdom and dispenses hard-won hope by the bucketful. Jill McCorkle is the guardian angel of American short fiction and these stories of the New South are good news for literature. Readers, pack your bags and prepare for a journey home, wherever you are!" Jayne Anne Phillips
From the first story, about a modern-day Cinderella contemplating escape, to the last, "Me and Big Foot," an idyll about finding the perfect prince, McCorkle's collection is the work of a great storyteller who knows exactly how--and why--to pair longing and laughter.
The foibles of the people in Jill McCorkle's world are so familiar that we want nothing so much as to watch them walk into--and then get out of--life's inevitable traps. Here, in her first collection in eight years, McCorkle collects eleven brand-new stories bristling with her characteristic combination of wit and weight.
In honeymoon shoes, mud-covered hunting boots, or glass slippers, all of the women in these stories march to a place of new awareness, in one way or another, transforming their lives. They make mistakes, but they don't waste time hiding behind them. They move on. They are strong. And they're funny, even when they are sad.
These stories are the work of a great storyteller who knows exactly how--and why--to pair pain with laughter.
About the Author
Jill McCorkle is the author of nine previous books—four story collections and five novels—five of which have been selected as New York Times
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