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.
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.