Thursday, August 27, 2009

Going Away Shoes by Jill McCorkle

When I first began collecting fiction published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, two things attracted me: Kaye Gibbons’ Ellen Foster and the small format (5x7 inches) of their books. Jill McCorkle ranks number three. Ferris Beach and Tending to Virginia are high on my list of favorite novels. This seems like a year of reacquainting myself with favorite writers I have neglected lately (see Anita Brookner’s Strangers).

This fine collection of quirky stories mostly revolves around the theme of entrapment. Some of the characters find themselves cornered by parents, children, grandchildren, or relationships, and even a lie that takes on a whole life of its own. McCorkle’s easy, quiet prose subtly leads the reader through complex situations with humor and even a touch of biting satire.

My favorite story is “PS” – a letter from a dumped spouse to her therapist reviewing all the failures of her marriage and the attempts to mend the relationship. Unfortunately, this book will not be published until September 22, 2009, so I can’t quote from it, but take my word, you could find many, many worse ways to spend some quiet hours rather than read this collection. I highly recommend McCorkle, and if you have never heard of her, this is a great place to start. 5 stars

--Chiron, 8/27/09

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