Going Away Shoes

Going Away Shoes

3.7 9
by Jill McCorkle
     
 

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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… See more details below

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Maria Russo
McCorkle is an expert at engineering catharsis through good salty rants, but the best thing about these stories is the sense of romance and wonder in long-overdue journeys of self-discovery.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
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.)
Library Journal
Here is another bright, sassy, funny, and sad collection of stories from North Carolinean McCorkle, the author of three other collections as well as five novels (e.g., The Cheerleader). Like the title story, in which a woman is trapped as caretaker to her critical but now diminished mother while her married sisters just visit, these works delineate the lives of women as they seek out love and meaning, blundering through their own mistakes. Whether struggling with the reality of the men they have chosen or imagining the perfect guy, the women in these stories, whether married, divorced, or single, are real, familiar, and searching. VERDICT This collection by a contemporary master of short fiction should be considered by all fiction readers.—Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., VA
Kirkus Reviews
Another fine collection from short-fiction master McCorkle (Creatures of Habit, 2001, etc.), in a very dark mood indeed. The title story sets the tone, limning the constricted life of a woman who stays home with her dying mother while her selfish married sisters patronize her as they always have. Debby was the unusual one who "dated people of different colors" and wore white shoes after Labor Day; now she's trapped by her own niceness and can only dream, "Pack a bag. Pull the plug. Take your turn." Death is a frequent visitor here. The sexy, can't-pin-him-down boyfriend in "Driving to the Moon" lost his parents in a plane crash at 17 and flits in and out of the narrator's life after high school, phoning whenever there's an air disaster. The living cling to the dead in "Another Dimension," the saddest piece. After their mother dies, 11-year-old Jimmy and eight-year-old Ann sabotage their father's happiness with a kind waitress; Jimmy can't tolerate her low-class ways, and Ann goes along, even though she's drawn to the woman's warmth. In the framing narrative, we see the adult siblings unable to sustain loving relationships, while the spurned waitress is a contented grandmother. Only the ultrasarcastic "PS," a woman's post-divorce letter to the marriage counselor who didn't help, provides a welcome dose of McCorkle's tart humor, and it's extra tart here. ("I suspect being bored and having your mind wander during marriage counseling is not a good sign.") "Magic Words" is downright scary, as a woman heading toward a first-time adulterous tryst is stymied by a girl fleeing her gang's spookily angry "leader," who is terrorizing their retired math teacher. The lone tender note is struck in"Intervention," about a woman comforting her alcoholic husband because he forgave her an affair and her own drunkenness. The author's trademark gifts-vivid, economical characterizations, distinctive voices, fierce intelligence-are evident on every page. Now let's hope she cheers up a little next time.
The New York Times Book Review
"McCorkle's latest book gives us 11 reasons to smile . . . 11 cheerfully furious stories about women who have come to a screeching halt in their pursuit of happiness . . . The joy of reading and rereading each of these marvelous stories is to discover the truths encoded into each step of every hard-won journey—and to find ourselves along the way." —Atlanta Journal Constitution
People Magazine
"[A] remarkable collection . . . Bold and addictive, Going Away Shoes is a find." —People
Los Angeles Times
"McCorkle is an expert at engineering catharsis through good salty rants, but the best thing about these stories is the sense of romance and wonder in long-overdue journeys of self-discovery." —New York Times Book Review
Atlanta Journal Constitution
"[A] remarkable collection . . . Bold and addictive, Going Away Shoes is a find." —People
Miami Herald
"There are writers who seem to write it like it is—the quietness of their characters is not exaggerated, nor is their drama. They could live down the street or in the next apartment. Jayne Anne Phillips, Antonia Nelson—these are writers whose characters have no special aura, no golden ticket. Jill McCorkle's characters are like this." —Los Angeles Times
The Boston Globe
"Bold and addictive, Going Away Shoes is a find.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“The joy of reading and rereading each of these marvelous sto- ries is to discover the truths encoded into each step of every hard-won journey—and to find ourselves along the way.”
People
“Bold and addictive, Going Away Shoes is a find.”

From the Publisher
“Bold and addictive, Going Away Shoes is a find.”

“The joy of reading and rereading each of these marvelous stories is to discover the truths encoded into each step of every hard-won journey—and to find ourselves along the way.”

“These gems are written by a master craftswoman. Each story deserves savoring, as melancholy and humor work beautifully together in this artful collection.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781616200282
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
09/14/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
359,342
File size:
3 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Immensely appealing . . . 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, author of The Dog of the Marriage

"These stories provide what brilliant fiction always provides—insight, felt life, voices of others, fascination—but more than anything else, they give pleasure.” —Richard Bausch, author of Peace

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