A joyride through 11 stories of life, love, and regret in southern settings with McCorkle at the wheel. As she's...



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.

Pub Date: May 1, 1992


Page Count: 272

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1992