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Going Away Shoes [Kindle Edition]

Jill McCorkle
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The foibles of the people in Jill McCorkle’s world are so familiar that we want nothing so much as to watch them walk into—and then get out of—life’s inevitable traps. Here, in her first collection in eight years, McCorkle collects eleven brand-new stories bristling with her characteristic combination of wit and weight.

In honeymoon shoes, mud-covered hunting boots, or glass slippers, all of the women in these stories march to a place of new awareness, in one way or another, transforming their lives. They make mistakes, but they don’t waste time hiding behind them. They move on. They are strong. And they’re funny, even when they are sad.

These stories are the work of a great storyteller who knows exactly how—and why—to pair pain with laughter.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A lack of narrative distance and interchangeable protagonists sink McCorkle's latest short story collection. The constant barbs aimed at the siblings and the cold-hearted, overmedicated mothers of the parade of ubiquitously decent and forlorn heroines in Another Dimension, Going Away Shoes and Happy Accidents reveal little about either the abusers or the so-called victims. Most of McCorkle's analogies and insights into human nature come from television shows and feel one note, such as when a character in Another Dimension owns Manolos in order to be like Sarah Jessica Parker. Too many of the protagonists are motivated by identical feelings of self-pitying vindictiveness. There is Ann in Another Dimension, whose relationship has soured with her abusive and manipulative brother, Jimmy, as well as Debby in Going Away Shoes, who sacrificed her career to care for a dying mother and spoiled siblings. McCorkle (Creatures of Habit) does manage a few heartfelt descriptions, but the pervasive venom too soon becomes toxic. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"McCorkle is an expert at engineering catharsis through good salty rants, but the best thing about these stories is the sense of romance and wonder in long-overdue journeys of self-discovery." --New York Times Book Review
(The New York Times Book Review)

"[A] remarkable collection . . . Bold and addictive, Going Away Shoes is a find." --People
(People Magazine)

"There are writers who seem to write it like it is--the quietness of their characters is not exaggerated, nor is their drama. They could live down the street or in the next apartment. Jayne Anne Phillips, Antonia Nelson--these are writers whose characters have no special aura, no golden ticket. Jill McCorkle's characters are like this." --Los Angeles Times
(Los Angeles Times)

"McCorkle's latest book gives us 11 reasons to smile . . . 11 cheerfully furious stories about women who have come to a screeching halt in their pursuit of happiness . . . The joy of reading and rereading each of these marvelous stories is to discover the truths encoded into each step of every hard-won journey--and to find ourselves along the way." --Atlanta Journal Constitution
(Atlanta Journal Constitution)

"The stories are small tributes to tenacity and spirit and choice--even when that choice is simply to keep putting one foot in front of the other." --Miami Herald
(Miami Herald)

“McCorkle is an expert at engineering catharsis through good salty rants, but the best thing about these stories is the sense of romance and wonder in long-overdue journeys of self-discovery.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“The joy of reading and rereading each of these marvelous sto- ries is to discover the truths encoded into each step of every hard-won journey—and to find ourselves along the way.” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

"Bold and addictive, Going Away Shoes is a find.”


“Bold and addictive, Going Away Shoes is a find.”


“The joy of reading and rereading each of these marvelous stories is to discover the truths encoded into each step of every hard-won journey—and to find ourselves along the way.” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

“These gems are written by a master craftswoman. Each story deserves savoring, as melancholy and humor work beautifully together in this artful collection.” (The Boston Globe)

Product Details

  • File Size: 497 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; Reprint edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004BLIH04
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #389,351 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening... November 3, 2009
I liked the dark tone of the book in respect to its attempt to uncover and shine a light on what middle age women really think and feel. The various levels of depression, resignation, anger, frustration, and overall sadness of many of the women feels real and as deserving of a voice as anyting else. It's almost as if these stories are the other side of the stories we almost never hear. However, McCorkle and a few other recent authors' both fictional and autobiographical are beginning to talk more about these emotions as the central theme in their stories. McCorkle also does a great job of offering a full story in just a few pages and makes it look easy in the process. I wasn't overwhelmingly in love with any of the characters or the book as a whole but I was glad to have taken the time to read it. The thing I liked best is the way that McCorkle really nails the "you would be surprised" factor of the mothers, daughters, and wives who make up her central characters. Some examples of this are you would be surprised to know that not all mothers like the people their children have become, or that caring for an aging and sick parent might be pure drudgery and filled with unresolved resentments, an overwhelmingly isolating task. Jill McCorkle succeeds in getting us to look within and ask those hard questions and hopefully to look at others and realize that most of the time, we have little to no idea of who they really are.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Prior to reading Going Away Shoes, I was not a major fan of the short story, but now, after reading this collection, I am tempted to go out and search for more. The stories in this collection are exceptionally well crafted and are able to deliver a Dickens length novel's worth of character development and emotion in a surprisingly short number of pages. The characters and topics in each story are so different that each story seems to deliver the impact of an entire novel. Wow. Most of the stories in the collection tickled my funny bone and touched me..... great combination.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eleven touching novels in one little book! October 10, 2009
Even if your preferences lean toward novels rather than the short story form, you should still give Jill McCorkle a try. The author of
several novels, she has also produced a number of excellent short story collections; her latest, GOING AWAY SHOES, is wonderful. All of the eleven stories in this volume center around a similar theme--women
leading lives of varying degrees of quiet desperation, or as one character puts it, "the comfort of discomfort." They examine
their less than satisfactory relationships and regrets for what might have been. And then they go on the best they can.

Yet the stories here are more than a series of vignettes of
depressed, frustrated women. How each of these women cope with their
lives makes for a touching, heartwrenching, yet often funny mix of
emotions. Each story is as memorable as the last; from the regretful
"Another Dimension," to the frightening "Magic Words" to the lovely,
heartbreaking "Intervention," to the bitterly funny "P.S.", each
examines a similar theme, yet each is special in its own way. My
favorite is "Happy Accidents," in which the heroine manages to
gain spiritual guidance from noted philosopher Bob Ross, the star
of the old PBS series, THE JOY OF PAINTING. How she manages to
hold onto her bearings through paint-by-number kits and a TV painting show is by turns funny, sweet and profound.

The book is expertly summed up in its last story, "Me and Big
Foot," in which the protagonist experiences a "perfect" relationship--does it exist, or is it as illusory as the legendary
creature known as "Big Foot"? By the time you reach this final story, you may realize the answer. And you may look back on these
stories as you might remember a month's worth of enjoyable novels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The hidden depths of outwardly ordinary people November 8, 2010
I'm dismayed by the negative reviews of this book that I've seen. Yes, the stories as a whole are dark, and the themes are similar, but there is nothing one-note or prefabricated about them. Jill McCorkle has always been interested in the inner lives that go on beneath apparently placid surfaces, and "Going Away Shoes" is excellent overall. Anyone who enjoys realistic short stories with some depth and wit should enjoy these.

One of my favorite stories here is "Intervention." In relatively few pages McCorkle captures the complex dynamics of a family that has a legitimate concern about the father's drinking, but that fails to understand the mother's ambivalence about confronting him. The interplay between the mother's memories of her husband's youth and her recognition of his current impairment is believable and terribly sad. But although the overall tone of the story is dark, it didn't feel overdone or needlessly depressing to me. The memories of youth and joy are so strong, and so vividly rendered, that they lift the characters with them. Maybe I identify with this book because I see myself and my friends dealing with aging parents, and this book was a timely reminder of how much we -- even family members -- don't know about each other.

"Going Away Shoes" reminded me of Elizabeth Strout's "Olive Kitteridge" in terms of theme and tone. Like that book, "Going Away Shoes" doesn't offer easy answers or uplift, but it does offer the pleasures of strongly-rendered characters and insight into particular human struggles. This collection is well worth reading.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars boring
I was expecting a much better read. Instead, the only story worth reading was the first one. The rest were boring. I couldn't find any take away message from the others.
Published 5 months ago by pandabear
1.0 out of 5 stars do not remember
Made no impression on me at all....not great, not terrible. It takes a great or terrible book for me to remember.
Published 7 months ago by NiNi
5.0 out of 5 stars Going Away Shoes
nicely written, interesting, funny, moving-a good quick read that you wish wasn't at the end when you get there. Thanks
Published 8 months ago by Lori Holmes
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I had hoped for.
I'm always looking for fresh new writers and had thought perhaps this was one of them. While her book was new , I found the stories to be rather dull and sad. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Martha B. Stuart
5.0 out of 5 stars Going Away Shoes
A fabulous book of short stories, the author, Jill McCorkle, captures the good and not-so-good of human nature as it plays out in every-day experiences of today's life in America. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Don
2.0 out of 5 stars All the stories seem to blend together
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. Read more
Published on September 21, 2011 by Donna C
2.0 out of 5 stars A Huge Disappointment
I had looked forward to reading this book of short stories for some time, but what a disappointment. Of the eleven depressing stories, only one contains a shred of hope. Read more
Published on September 1, 2011 by Margaret H
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Short Story Master
What I found so amazing in these stories is that Jill McCorkle broke all the "classical" rules of drama. Read more
Published on April 22, 2010 by Southern Bard
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome
Thoroughly enjoyed these short fiction tales, told by a series of female protagonists. Snarky, heartfelt, and intriguing, each story read had me hooked, which is extremely rare for... Read more
Published on January 21, 2010 by KEEPitREAL
3.0 out of 5 stars meh
I was unfortunately less impressed with this book than I wanted to be. Maybe it was the mood I was in, but everyone in it left me feeling rather depressed. Read more
Published on January 11, 2010 by CTMom
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