Old Crimes: and Other Stories
Beloved author Jill McCorkle delivers a collection of masterful stories that are as complex as novels—deeply perceptive, funny, and tragic in equal measure—about crimes large and small.
McCorkle, author of the New York Times bestselling Life After Life and the widely acclaimed Hieroglyphics (“One of our wryest, warmest, wisest storytellers” —Rebecca Makkai), brings us a breathtaking collection of stories that offers an intimate look at the moments when a person’s life changes forever.
Old Crimes delves into the lives of characters who hold their secrets and misdeeds close, even as the past continues to reverberate across generations. And despite the characters’ yearnings for connection, they can’t seem to tell the whole truth: A woman uses her hearing impairment as a way to guard herself from her husband’s commentary. A telephone lineman strains to communicate with his family even as he feels pushed aside in a digital world. A young couple buys a confessional booth for fun, only to discover the cost of honesty. A family reunion, ripe with treasured memories, takes place amid a secret that will alter all of their futures. Throughout, McCorkle takes us deep into these conflicted and sympathetic characters, puzzling to figure out the meaning of their own lives.
Profoundly moving and unforgettable, for fans of Alice Munro, Elizabeth Strout, and Lily King, the stories in Old Crimes reveal why McCorkle has long been considered a master of the form, probing lives full of great intensity, longing and affection, and deep regret.
Praise for Old Crimes: and Other Stories
"A splendid, wide-ranging collection that once again proves McCorkle is a master of the form."—Jenny Offill, author of Weather
“Jill McCorkle has had an extraordinary ear for the music of ordinary life since the beginning of her career, able to work with the voices we know so well to write these stories about they will not tell us, what they would rather not tell us, what they hope to tell us, what too often goes unsaid. And this collection is a new wonder.”
—Alexander Chee, author of How to Write An Autobiographical Novel
“Each story here is so carefully wrought yet wildly original at the same time, deeply wedded to the real world in all its complexity and detail. It seems to me that each one contains an entire life---and often, a whole novel. What a beautiful book.”
—Lee Smith, author of Silver Alert
“With her wry humor, deep understanding of human connection and disconnection, and a tremendous sense of fun, Jill McCorkle has given us another dazzling collection of stories.”—Lily King, author of Five Tuesdays in Winter
Named a Most Anticipated Book of Winter/2024 by Atlanta Journal-Constitution, LitHub, & Tertulia
“Steeped in loneliness while drilling straight to the heart of emotion, these standalone narratives collectively deliver a stunning study on the shared experience of isolation… Jill McCorkle has assembled a stunning collection of survivors who share something far more important than location, time or identity.”—Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Jill McCorkle returns… with a sharpness and intensity only the briefer form can provide… One of the great pleasures of reading McCorkle’s work is her gift for taking readers into the layered depths of characters’ minds, revealing them in flashes of thought and feeling that seem utterly natural and effortless on the page. She’s a masterful tour guide to the human psyche. Though the stories in Old Crimes are often dark and rich in sorrow, they resonate with sympathy for the way we all struggle, many times in vain, to make peace with ourselves and the people we love.”—Chapter16
“Often funny, evenly darkly comic at times, McCorkle's memorable collection calls to mind Alice Munro and Charles Baxter.”—Booklist
"McCorkle is a brilliant storyteller... Wonderfully rich and emotionally complicated stories."—Kirkus Reviews
"[A] satisfying collection… McCorkle serves up plenty of humor and heartache… and often pushes her stories toward empathetic and surprising climaxes. McCorkle fans will gobble this up."—Publishers Weekly
“[R]ich with wry dialogue and insights into lives shaped by moments that can resonate for years… Unexpected and compelling repeat appearances will send readers back to reread, and to savor the skillful writing of a first-rate storyteller.”—Shelf Awareness
“A short story collection that showcases Jill McCorkle’s ability to create a life, a history and a realization in only a few sketches… Jill McCorkle has created 12 tiny masterpieces here.”—Book Reporter
“The sweet spot of McCorkle’s stories… is where her characters have moved unprepared through an important intersection of their lives, and must now sort out their situation.”—The News of Orange County
“I’ve rarely read a collection that has stayed with me like this one has… I was stunned by the depth of this new work… you are in for a treat with this brilliant collection.”—Seattle Book Review
“[McCorkle] is at the top of her game here, with a diverse and memorable cast of characters that plumb the depths of the human condition—but somehow manage to flutter with hope."—The Hippo
“Jill McCorkle is a master of her craft, and while I am tempted to call “Old Crimes” one of her greatest books, I will instead just call it equal to her others. There are no bad choices here, only greatness.”—Colorado Sun
“Jill McCorkle takes ordinary people, puts them in common situations and makes extraordinary stories. She has done it again in her latest collection of short stories, Old Crimes and Other Stories. All beautifully written… [she] proves again why she is one of America’s favorite authors.”—The Wilson Times