Crack the Spine - Issue 185

Page 6

Tom Whalen Ladies Slippers

What to make of this slipper fancier, i.e., adorer, from a distance, often through shop windows, of ladies’ shoes? I notice that whenever a slippered foot enters the bedroom or parlor of this novel, which it has a tendency to do with a frequency not in access of reality, the prose raises its head, listens more closely, in one incident to wind rippling across Lake Thun as if over a dark evening gown the woman I adore would likely never be seen in, but whom, at the moment I read this passage, I imagine strolling across a lawn in that dress in moonlight at the birthday celebration of the town’s recently elected mayor, who, while at university thirty years ago, had loved the woman whose footwear this novel relishes pages upon, as if what graced her feet were not simply what any housewife and university instructor would wear, but something of such supreme rarity it deserves our admiration, even worship. I feel compelled to confess the elegantly shod heroine of Ladies’ Slippers reminded me in ways not altogether comfortable of a woman I know intimately only in my imagination. I would send her a copy of the novel or of my review, but I don’t want her or you to get the wrong impression. Unshod female feet, by the way, also meet my approval, though Ladies’ Slippers keeps this thought, if thought it is, under, so to speak, wraps. But back to the wind: the description of it goes on for four pages, a feat I in no way deride, any more than I do women who spend a sizeable portion of their incomes upon footgear. In fact, I admire any woman who can obtain money in our misogynistic society. When K. comes running up to the narrator in her gold and black, newly purchased Nikes, he fears for a moment

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