‘Zapatos’ by T. Coraghessan Boyle

Boyle, T. Coraghessan 1989

Zapatos by T. Coraghessan Boyle, 1989

The magic trick:

Establishing in the opening paragraphs a backdrop for the story’s conflict

T.C. Boyle tells you what is important in the beginning of the story. It might not seem important to you. In fact, to me, it seemed like the kind of thing we should be critiquing as a reader. We should be judging the narrator badly for thinking this is important. Italian shoes? That is what makes this story’s world go ’round? Really?

Too bad. If you find this frivolous or stupid, it really doesn’t matter. Italian shoes are indeed what makes this story’s world go ’round. Deal with it and read on. And that’s quite a trick on Boyle’s part.

The selection:

But the truth is, what everyone wants – for the status, the cachet, the charm and refinement – are the Italian loafers and ankle boots, hand-stitched and with a grain as soft and rich as, well – is this the place to talk of the private parts of girls still in school?

What do you think about this story? As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.


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