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.
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?