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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Giles may be known to a few from her acclaimed short-story collections, Creek Walk and Rough Translations, but her first novel is a masterpiece. In Iron Shoes, Giles introduces forty-year-old Kay Sorensen, one of the more compellingly drawn characters we've met-and one of many in this extraordinary debut. Beaten down by life and barely limping along, Kay does the best she can to care for her ailing, yet domineering mother, Ida, her disinterested health-freak husband, and her son, Nicky. Trying to wean herself off the comfortable haze induced by alcohol, Kay turns to her eccentric and troubled friend, Zabeth, for advice and comfort; and obsesses over the mysterious Charles Lichtman, who frequents the library where Kay works.
But Kay is stuck. Not who she wants to be, certainly not who her mother, father, or her husband want her to be, Kay is the black to her family's white. Her mother is (or rather was) a glamour-puss. Kay, by comparison, is heavy-set and ungainly. Her father dreams of Kay's illustrious, and now lost, career as a concert pianist, while Kay sweats over a local concert at a nearby church. Her husband, Neal, obsessed with taking the correct vitamins and ingesting only the proper foods, watches in horror and disgust as Kay lustily consumes quantities of dairy and meat, and more than her fair share of alcohol. But when her mother truly begins to die, Kay must face the music of her life-and either do something about it or continue to wallow in the mire, no hand in sight to pull her out.
A deeply honest look at a woman weighed down with the concerns of others, Iron Shoes is a dramatic and deeply moving first novel.