Final Vinyl Days

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

All of the nine stories in Jill McCorkle’s FINAL VINYL DAYS: AND OTHER STORIES deal with a human drama whether it is divorce, marriage, birth, death, or a variation of these topics. Many of the stories take place in the south or at least have a hint of it, so that you can almost hear the North Carolina accent of the characters. The characters whether good, bad, or indifferent are entirely real and could easily be the neighbors next door.

The title story is about an aging hippie who still works at the same record store he has been at since college, but his rock-and- roll musical tastes are being replaced by 1980’s pop music and compact discs. “Paradise,” the story which opens the book, describes the courtship of a modern professional couple. Told mostly from the point-of-view of Adam, who pursues Eve Lyn, the story follows his “fall” into marriage and family. “Last Request” and “Dysfunction 101” both show how some of life’s little challenges turn into life’s biggest obstacles. “It’s a Funeral, RSVP” is a completely charming story about a woman who throws funerals for dying people so that they get to take part in the memorial before they die. One of the most entertaining and completely original of the stories is “Your Husband Is Cheating on Us.” This is a one-sided conversation told by a long-time mistress to the wife of her lover. The husband has now taken up with a new girlfriend and the mistress wants to conspire with the wife to kill him.

It is hard not to instantly be taken with McCorkle’s writing style. She has such an easy sense of humor and creates her characters so artfully that once you start reading her work it is hard to stop.