About the stories in A Cupboardful of Shoes
Most of the stories selected for this collection have been published in literary journals and demonstrate the author’s remarkably eclectic range of styles. While all are “literary fiction,” some are “realistic,” others are satirical, and some are frankly experimental with unreliable narrators. Normally they have male narrators—except for the first (title) story, told by a female.
“I’m a librarian and I kissed a film star once. I touched her nipples too. At least, I think I did.” So begins the second story. Horatio Humphries (one of the unreliable narrators) strikes up a brief friendship with a movie star on a rough Atlantic crossing, while his “twin” brother doesn’t believe him.
In “A Pregnant Woman with Parcels at Brock and Bagot,” an unnamed woman may or may not have an affair with a man she met at a party, depending on whether she can get by a woman in front of her.
“Distantly from Gardens” (a variant on the theme of the “double” found often in Russian literature) presents a man with a split personality, inhabited by two narrators who are his past as well as his present. While others are told in either the first or third person, the subject here demands the use of the second.
Their subjects are largely disappointed love, violence and war, sometimes with an underlying religious theme. They are set in North America and European countries the author knows well from being fluent in six languages.