Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Going Away Shoes by Jill McCorkle + Contest!

Published September 22, 2009.

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. From the first tale to the last, McCorkle's stores are the genuine article, the work of a great storyteller who knows exactly how - and why - to pair longing and laughter. (book back blurb)

The thing with short story collections is that unless you're familiar with the author, you have to be careful because you're not going to know what you're getting into. My favorite short story author is Flannery O'Connor. That woman can do no wrong with the short story. They're so dementedly elegant that you can't put them down. But she is only one of a very few whose short stories I like. The rest . . . meh.

This is one of the meh. I'd never heard of Jill McCorkle before I snagged this book at BEA but I knew it was pretty chicky just from the title. Usually I like some variety with my short stories. This one . . . not so much.

Every single story, save for one, sounds like it could have been the same woman telling the same story over and over again. I didn't see any stretch of the imagination, I didn't see any stretch of writing talent; I just saw a woman cranky with the world telling the same miserable story over and over and over again. Needless to say, I was bored and disheartened.

The only short that carried any weight, that pulled me in at all an invigorated me with the words was "Magic Words." The way it's written reminded me of Ellen Hopkins's book Tricks, where you have a bunch of different stories converging into one plot by the end. That's what this one did and while is had the same disparaging "I am woman in bad relationship" tone, it was meatier, it meant more. The voices varied and I actually believed in the talent I was reading.

Other than that, at the end of the day, I couldn't tell any of the other stories from the rest. I understand the overall theme of the book but it is possible to write different stories within that theme. Really. If you get your hands on this book, pick a story at random and read it. You won't need to read any of the others because they're all the same. But make sure you read "Magic Words," if nothing else. That one's the best out of all of them, by far.

Contest Time!

Want my ARC? Just leave a comment with your email to enter.

US residents only and the contest will end on October 28th at midnight, EST. Good luck!


Melissa said...

The book looks interesting count me in.

My 5 Monkeys(Julie) said...

this book looks interesting :)

aprilmom00 at gmail dot com

Lindsay's Photographys said...

I would LOVE to win this!!
Thankyou!! :D:D:D


Froggy said...

Please enter me!!

A Blog with Bite!

Debbie F said...

Sounds good! Count me in! Thanks
dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Llehn said...

I'd love to play please!


Andrea [Buried In Books] said...


Jaime said...

add me to the list, I would love to read this
copperllama at yahoo dot com

Sam said...

It would be amazing to read this!! Good luck to everyone else too!!


robin_titan said...

Hmm I'm curious about this one :)


Nancye said...

This looks like a great book!! Please sign me up!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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