Staff Reviews: Creatures of Habit / by Washington Square

Creatures of Habit by Jill McCorkle

Each of the twelve short stories in Creatures of Habit pulls you in deep and quick, and each contemplates the basic, animal aspects of human behavior. They’re set in small-town North Carolina and feature, among other characters: a neighborhood witch and her turd-throwing monkey, a senile and murderous nursing home resident, a husband-snatching next-door neighbor, and a woman on a honeymoon with the wrong guy. It’s dirty, human stuff—reality TV stuff—brilliantly nuanced and rendered by the skillful Jill McCorkle. I met Jill McCorkle this summer at the Sewanee Writer’s Conference. In the words of Mike Yanagita, she’s such a super lady. She’s been compared to Flannery O’Connor and Eudora Welty, and I think the comparisons are merited. McCorkle’s insanely good at getting people right:  she unearths the most subtle and troubling aspects of human endeavor in her stories, and deftly exposes the humor in human frailty. Her prose is clear and confident, honest and funny, and very, very Southern. Highly recommended!

-- Mary Block, Interviews Editor