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Going Away Shoes: Stories    by Jill McCorkle order for
Going Away Shoes
by Jill McCorkle
Order:  USA  Can
Algonquin, 2009 (2009)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Jill McCorkle says that most of her work employs humor. When the writer opens with something funny, as she does in PS, one of the stories in this collection, McCorkle says she then 'feels obliged to flip the rock over to see what's housed below'.

The North Carolina resident continues, 'I know that we can rarely take a person or situation at face value and it's at this point - where face value intersects with what's underneath the rock - that you can show human complexity most vividly.'

That is exactly what occurs in the eleven stories that make up this collection of short fiction she has written. Featuring characters whose foibles are so familiar, that the reader wants nothing more than to see these people walk into and then out of life's inevitable traps.

As you'll quickly realize, shoes figure prominently in these stories which mine the complications that accompany being in and out of love. No matter what they slip on, honeymoon shoes, mud-covered hunting boots, or glass slippers, they march, strut or tip-toe to a place of new awareness which transforms their lives in some manner.

From a little girl who loves to push her grandmother's buttons as a means of garnering attention to mask a great sorrow to a woman in an epistolary piece who rakes her former marriage counselor over the coals for his lack of insight, these stories elicit moments of mirth and pathos.

Jill McCorkle is the author of three collections of short stories and five novels, and her work has been highly praised and honored with a number of literary awards. Her excellent, short fiction provides ample proof that the short story is still an exciting and viable literary genre.

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