Going Away Shoes by Jill McCorkle

Going Away Shoes is a collection of eleven short stories written by North Carolina’s own Jill McCorkle.  McCorkle has written several acclaimed novels and short story collections featuring Southern women of different ages and stages, and exploring the deeper meanings in their everyday activities and relationships.

The stories in Going Away Shoes are multi-layered and thought provoking, some of them heartwarming, and some heartbreaking. The first story in the collection is “Going Away Shoes.” It portrays a single, middle-aged, daughter who is the caregiver for her elderly mother. She ruminates about her family’s history, which she recalls by remembering her mother’s different shoes and purses, while watching soap operas and tending to her mother’s gradual decline.

Another of the stories in this collection, “Magic Words,” takes place one evening while a mother ferries her children to the movies and a party – a typical suburban weekend. She is also on her way to embark on a long-anticipated illicit affair, until she notices a young girl desperately in need of help. Meanwhile her husband is at home worrying about coyotes recently seen in the neighborhood, while another type of predator, a vengeful teen, is on the prowl in this complex story.

My favorite story of the collection is “Midnight Clear,” featuring a lonely and unsure newly divorced mother who is overwhelmed with household issues, most notably the strong smell of her septic tank which appears to be overflowing on Christmas Eve. Help and encouragement arrives with humor and grace from an unexpected source.

I especially enjoy McCorkle’s use of language and shrewd observations of character. Her writing is literary without being long and cumbersome, packing a subtle punch.

Jill McCorkle is one of several North Carolina authors visiting our regional libraries in November. You can meet her and learn about her work at the Eva Perry Regional Library on Thursday, November 13, at 2:00 p.m.  Click here to register.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

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