Home | Reviews | Blog | Daily | Glossary | Orrin's Stuff | Email

We shall always have the shoes.
-Lady Fashion, as related to the young Manolo

Let me begin by confessing my initial feeling of unsuitability to judging any work by the Manolo, the sensei of shoes, pedagogue of peds, fakir of footwear, sage of the sabots, well, you get the picture. After all, where he has mastered all the mystery and majesty of the beauty of shoes, I am such a philistine that I wept when Converse discontinued the Chuck Taylor and buy fake Crocs for $6 a pair at Wal-mart because the real ones cost more than I'd spend on wingtips. Suffice it to say, through much of this rumination on the conundrum of whether there are shoes in heaven, I was struck mainly by my own unworthiness to be led on the intellectual journey.

But the Manolo actually addresses the matter and puts our minds at rest:
“As with all works of art, both human and divine,” the young Manolo concluded, “it is not strictly necessary to own the object to ‘have’ it. And thus, to once see the object well isto keep it in the mind and be capable of bringing forth its mental image to enjoy as needed.”
See, you can be someone who's never owned anything more formal than Hush Puppies but still "have" that mental image of beatific brogues to contemplate and to console you.

Nor is it just shoes that we are asked to consider here, for the Manolo's spirit way takes us past eternal questions that reach much further than our feet:
In the fact, who really knows if there will be shoes in heaven, or if heaven even exists, for such things are beyond the ken of mortal man. And yet this is where the older and wiser Manolo, who recognizes this grave error in reasoning, still agrees with his youthful predecessor: there must be shoes in heaven.

But while the young Manolo could delude himself into accepting his emotions as facts, the older Manolo knows that some things cannot be encompassed by human reason alone, and in those places where belief and reason divide, only faith may bridge the gap. This knowledge is the great strength of age, when the illusion of youthful omniscience has been stripped away by time and replaced by humility in the face of the unknowable.
This is the central insight of human existence and just because we can discover it while staring at our loafers or mulling upon our mules does not mean that it even requires us to be shod to be enlightened. The clogs, like a koan, are a means of getting to a state of Satori, not simply a matter sartorial.

And when the master achieves his epiphany, the reader will be relieved to discover that he need not be ashamed of those desert boots he wore from 6th grade to college, where he learned nothing so valuable as the wisdom the Manolo shares herewithin.


Grade: (A)


See also:

Manolo Shoeblogger Links:

    -BOOK SITE: The Consolation of the Shoes (Manolo the Shoeblogger)
    -BLOG: Manolo's Shoe Blog
    -MYSPACE: Manolo the Shoeblogger
    -BOOK SITE: Consolation of the Shoes (New Pamphleteer)
    -ARTICLE: Shelf Life: Attack of the Pamphleteers (Danielle Maestretti, May/June 2007, Utne Reader)
    -REVIEW: of The Consolation of the Shoes (Roger Simon, Pajamas Media)

Book-related and General Links: