Here, from the remarkable novelist who wrote Ferris Beach, Tending to Virginia, July 7th, and The Cheer Leader, is Jill McCorkle’s first book of short fiction. These eleven sparkling, uninhibited stories address her favorite subject: women who take matters into their own hands. McCorkle has yet again produced irrepressibly frank and funny portraits of remarkable characters.
"A joyride through 11 stories of life, love, and regret in southern settings with McCorkle at the wheel. As she's demonstrated in her novels (Ferris Beach, etc.), she's doesn't mind trying a little stunt-driving, but, ultimately, she's completely in control. From the opening words--``Kenneth left me on a Monday morning before I'd even had the chance to mousse my hair...''--the title story draws us into the world of Sandra White Barkley, whose bartender husband has deserted her for another--thinner--woman. As Sandra's own bulk diminishes, her courage grows, and the result is the most satisfying of revenge scenarios, complete with lasagna, a black silk dress, and a cute psychiatrist wielding a yo-yo. In ``Sleeping Beauty, Revised,'' a young, divorced mother thinks her blind date may be Prince Charming, but on their outing to Captain Buck's Family Seahouse, with her young son in tow, all that's awakened in her is a dose of therapeutic anger. McCorkle has always been adept at using the comic clutter of modern-day young lives- -condos, answering machines, microwaves--to make a point about old- fashioned, everyday emotions: broken hearts, loneliness, false hopes. She does this to nice effect in stories like ``Comparison Shopping'' and ``First Union Blues.'' But more poignant still are two stories here where she shifts her focus to older women looking back on their lives. In ``Migration of the Love Bugs,'' a Massachusetts woman stacks up her new sunny Florida life against her old, worn, city apartment, and Florida loses in a big way. ``Departures,'' a haunting, wonderful story, recounts a happy marriage and a widow who now spends her days at airports and malls in an effort to escape the emptiness of home. The final story, ``Carnival Lights,'' unfortunately ends this collection on a weaker note--it's a tad too trite. But, on the whole, McCorkle's talent shines here. Freewheeling down the byways of the New South. With McCorkle driving, every detour is sure to take you straight through the human heart." -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
"In this peppery, potent collection by McCorkle ( Ferris Beach ), 11 memorable women, ranging from high school student to retiree, confide details of troubled relationships. Without fail, their voices, hopes and sorrows hit the mark; it's easy to empathize with them and to uneasily recall moments when our own lives have mirrored theirs. Optimism and sorrow are here in equal measure: the title story's chronic dieter, abandoned by her husband, surprises herself by coping with marital crisis and unwittingly losing weight. The selective, feisty narrator of "Man Watcher" admits that her search for a male partner may be a "snipe hunt," the undeniably odd main character of "Comparison Shopping" learns with dismay that a couple on The New Newlywed Game consider her their "weirdest friend," and the teenage heroine of "Carnival Lights" discovers that the hottest gossip in town is about her boyfriend's mom. In the wrenching "Departures," an inconsolable widow spends time utterly alone in busy airports and malls, and in "Waiting for Hard Times to End," a girl worries when an expected postcard from her freewheeling, fearless older sister fails to arrive. McCorkle imbues her capable women with extraordinary depth and dimension, and she resolves their situations with enchanting grace and wit." -Publishers Weekly
"In her first short story collection, McCorkle resumes her remarkable storytelling skills, already demonstrated in four well-received novels: The Cheer Leader (Algonquin, 1984), July 7th (Algonquin, 1984), Tending to Virginia ( LJ 9/1/87), and Ferris Beach ( LJ 9/15/90). Widows, recent divorcees, teenage girls, retired women, and single mothers populate these pages. Each woman imparts to McCorkle's fortunate readers a touching, downright bone-tickling account of her individual struggle in the New South. Despite the variety of voices, any of these women might easily conclude, as does Norlina in "Comparison Shopping," "I feel for the first time that there is a place for me in this world and I no longer need a passport to get there." Highly recommended for academic and public libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/92.-Faye A. Chadwell, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia
"Invigorating . . . Savagely effective . . . Displays the same wit and ironic compassion that gained so many fans for her novels."--The New York Times Book Review
meet the author
Jill McCorkle has the distinction of having her first two novels published on the same day in 1984. Since then she has published three other novels—her latest, Life After Life coming March 2013—and four collections of short stories.
Five of her books have been named New York Times notable books. McCorkle has received the New England Booksellers Award, the John Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature and the North Carolina Award for Literature. She is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.
McCorkle has taught at UNC-Chapel Hill, Tufts, and Brandeis where she was the Fannie Hurst Visiting Writer. She was a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Fiction at Harvard for five years where she also chaired Creative Writing. She currently teaches creative writing in the MFA Program at NC State University and is a core faculty member of the Bennington College Writing Seminars. She is a frequent instructor in the Sewanee Summer Writers Program .
She lives with her husband, photographer Tom Rankin, in Hillsborough, NC. Visit her online at www.jillmccorkle.com.