Creatures of habit : stories

by McCorkle, Jill, 1958-

Format: Print Book 2001
Availability: Unavailable 0 of 1 copy
Unavailable (1)
Location Collection Status
CLP - Main Library First Floor - Fiction Stacks CHECKED OUT
Location  CLP - Main Library
 
Collection  First Floor - Fiction Stacks
 
Status  CHECKED OUT
 
 
Summary

Jill McCorkle's new collection of twelve short stories is peopled with characters brilliantly like us-flawed, clueless, endearing. These stories are also animaled with all manner of mammal, bird, fish, reptile-also flawed and endearing. She asks, what don't humans share with the so-called lesser species? Looking for the answer, she takes us back to her fictional home town of Fulton, North Carolina, to meet a broad range of characters facing up to the double-edged sword life offers hominids. The insight with which McCorkle tells their stories crackles with wit, but also with a deeper-and more forgiving-wisdom than ever before. In Billy Goats, Fulton's herd of seventh graders cruises the summer nights, peeking into parked cars, maddening the town madman. In Monkeys, a widow holds her husband's beloved spider monkey close along with his deepest secrets. In Dogs, a single mother who works for a veterinarian compares him-unfavorably-with his patients. In Snakes, a seasoned wife sees what might have been a snake in the grass and decides to step over it. And, in the exquisite final story, Fish, a grieving daughter remembers her father's empathy for the ugliest of all fishes. The success behind Jill McCorkle's short stories-and her novels-is, as one reviewer noted, her skill as an archaeologist of the absurd, an expert at excavating and examining the comedy of daily life (Richmond Times-Dispatch). Yes, and also the tragedy.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "This is McCorkle's third collection of short stories, following, most recently, Final Vinyl Days (1998). All 12 stories are set in the fictional town of Fulton, North Carolina, and are named after animals, which either loom large as central metaphors or serve as background. Much darker than is typical of McCorkle's often whimsical fiction, these stories are shot through with a sense of deep sadness that is only partially concealed by the author's dry and acerbic humor. In "Snakes," an "evolved" married couple tries to shut out a poisonous, nosey neighbor by reciting a hilarious litany of television trivia. In "Snipe," two siblings, the victims of a cruel practical joke pulled by older relatives, are able to comfort each other with small talk. The best of her work is, at once, unsettling and moving. McCorkle, author, too, of five novels, writes near-perfect dialogue and is able to create powerful emotional moods within the space of a few paragraphs. Her stories will appeal to fans of Jane Hamilton and Lee Smith. --Joanne Wilkinson"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "The title creatures of McCorkle's third short story collection and eighth book are humans with animal qualities and animals with human qualities. In lesser hands, such a setup could be formulaic, but McCorkle has a poet's skill and the necessary restraint to make the conceit work. The interconnected stories follow the arc of a life span, beginning with the memory of a summer evening in 1970 in smalltown North Carolina. Running in a pack, the neighborhood children follow the mosquito truck and get high on its fumes, talk about murder and suicide, and swim clandestinely in a motel pool. The way these seventh graders deal with their impulses and fears foreshadows their way of handling life's crises as adults. Their candid voices, the foundation of any McCorkle fiction, are heard in the remaining 11 stories. In "Snipe," six-year-old Caroline realizes how vulnerable her bullying older brother is. "Chickens" features another unmasking, this one performed by the narrator, a woman on her honeymoon with perhaps the wrong man. In "Hominids," the husbands duke it out for the role of Alpha Male at a reunion, while the wives retreat to the kitchen. This is all background to the narrator's recollection of her sympathetic reaction to a model of Lucy at the science museum. McCorkle's two chief strengths are her earthiness and her command of narrative voices, and she is at the top of her game here. The stories are at once intricate and compulsively readable, redolent of the small failures and triumphs of human life. 16-city author tour. (Oct. 12) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Human-animal relationships -- Fiction.
Animals -- Fiction.
North Carolina -- Social life and customs -- Fiction.
Publisher Chapel Hill, N.C. :Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill,2001
Edition 1st ed.
Language English
Description 240 pages ; 19 cm
ISBN 1565122569 (hardcover)
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