Life After Life: A Novel

( 16 )

Overview

Award-winning author Jill McCorkle takes us on a splendid journey through time and memory in this, her tenth work of fiction. Life After Life is filled with a sense of wonder at our capacity for self-discovery at any age. And the residents, staff, and neighbors of the Pine Haven retirement center (from twelve-year-old Abby to eighty-five-year-old Sadie) share some of life’s most profound discoveries and are some of the most true-to-life characters that you are ever likely to meet in fiction. Delivered with her ...

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Overview

Award-winning author Jill McCorkle takes us on a splendid journey through time and memory in this, her tenth work of fiction. Life After Life is filled with a sense of wonder at our capacity for self-discovery at any age. And the residents, staff, and neighbors of the Pine Haven retirement center (from twelve-year-old Abby to eighty-five-year-old Sadie) share some of life’s most profound discoveries and are some of the most true-to-life characters that you are ever likely to meet in fiction. Delivered with her trademark wit, Jill McCorkle’s constantly surprising novel illuminates the possibilities of second chances, hope, and rediscovering life right up to the very end. She has conjured an entire community that reminds us that grace and magic can—and do—appear when we least expect it.

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Editorial Reviews

Unpublished endorsements

"Who knew death, regret, and lengthy ruminations about days past could add up to a novel this vibrant, hopeful, and compelling? . . . Gorgeously written . . . McCorkle's greatest gift is in illuminating the countless tiny moments that make up our time on Earth." —O: The Oprah Magazine

"Clever, bighearted, and wise." —Vanity Fair

“The elderly residents of Pine Haven live and yearn and challenge one another with an exuberance that jumps off the page.”—The New York Times “Home & Garden” section

“Leave it to McCorkle to plumb the ultimate new beginning in this down-home, Southern-style Book of the Dead. Illuminating, reassuring, and enlarging our understanding of the crossing from this world to the next, her novel sings with the mystical, the magical and the fragility of this thing called life.”—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Balances humor and sorrow.” —NPR’s All Things Considered

“A vividly voiced round-robin of interlocking stories set in and around a North Carolina retirement home . . . Great . . . Sharply real.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Funny and painful, Life After Life explores not dying, but rather the mysteries of living — the second chances, the human connection, the love. The result is an impressive and poignant interweaving of vibrant characters; overlapping tales create a whole that is greater than the separate parts. McCorkle returns to the novel with a deeper wisdom and moral intensity. With a Southern flair, she invites the reader to muse on what matters most in the days we are given. Was it worth the wait? In a word, yes.” Richmond Times-Dispatch

“McCorkle’s masterful microcosm invokes profound sadness, harsh insight and guffaws, often on the same page.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A powerful gift for dialogue has always animated Jill McCorkle’s fiction, and here we hear some astonishing voices . . . As readers, we feel honored to witness their passages.” —The Boston Globe

“A story and characters that readers won’t soon forget.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

Reviews

"Who knew death, regret, and lengthy ruminations about days past could add up to a novel this vibrant, hopeful, and compelling? . . . Gorgeously written . . . McCorkle's greatest gift is in illuminating the countless tiny moments that make up our time on Earth." —O: The Oprah Magazine

"Clever, bighearted, and wise." —Vanity Fair

“The elderly residents of Pine Haven live and yearn and challenge one another with an exuberance that jumps off the page.”—The New York Times “Home & Garden” section

“Leave it to McCorkle to plumb the ultimate new beginning in this down-home, Southern-style Book of the Dead. Illuminating, reassuring, and enlarging our understanding of the crossing from this world to the next, her novel sings with the mystical, the magical and the fragility of this thing called life.”—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Balances humor and sorrow.” —NPR’s All Things Considered

“A vividly voiced round-robin of interlocking stories set in and around a North Carolina retirement home . . . Great . . . Sharply real.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Funny and painful, Life After Life explores not dying, but rather the mysteries of living — the second chances, the human connection, the love. The result is an impressive and poignant interweaving of vibrant characters; overlapping tales create a whole that is greater than the separate parts. McCorkle returns to the novel with a deeper wisdom and moral intensity. With a Southern flair, she invites the reader to muse on what matters most in the days we are given. Was it worth the wait? In a word, yes.” Richmond Times-Dispatch

“McCorkle’s masterful microcosm invokes profound sadness, harsh insight and guffaws, often on the same page.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A powerful gift for dialogue has always animated Jill McCorkle’s fiction, and here we hear some astonishing voices . . . As readers, we feel honored to witness their passages.” —The Boston Globe

“A story and characters that readers won’t soon forget.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

O: The Oprah Magazine

“Who knew death, regret, and lengthy ruminations about days past could add up to a novel this vibrant, hopeful, and compelling? . . . Gorgeously written . . . McCorkle’s greatest gift is in illuminating the countless tiny moments that make up our time on Earth.”

Vanity Fair

“Clever, bighearted, and wise.”

author of "The Cove" Ron Rash

“Great writing, poignancy, humor, wisdom—all are in abundance here. Jill McCorkle is one of the South’s greatest writers; she is also one of America’s.”

Booklist

“By turns comic, insightful, and heart wrenching . . . Shows how old age can give us a second chance: to see ourselves rightly, be truer to those we love, and inspire those we leave behind.”

Library Journal
It takes a skillful author to write a book about death that leaves the reader feeling uplifted, and McCorkle (Going Away Shoes) is such an author. Her multilayered new novel centers on the colorful residents of Pine Haven Retirement Center in small-town North Carolina. We learn why each resident is at the center, and about their lives and families, but two women who work at the facility are also central to the story. Most intriguing is the intersection between life and death created by entries from the journal of a hospice worker named Joanna. Joanna's recollections of a patient's death are immediately followed by the dying person's last thoughts and memories. Characters are introduced then exit, reinforcing the theme of disappearing, of moving in and out of life and relationships, with some characters quickly letting go and others holding on to the past. VERDICT This excellent novel, unusual in its shifting construction, will be appreciated by readers drawn to stories about older characters, or death and dying, but there is much more to it. Fans of Southern writers such as Lee Smith and Kaye Gibbons should definitely give it a try.—Shaunna E. Hunter, Hampden-Sydney Coll. Lib., VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616203221
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • Publication date: 11/5/2013
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 246,210
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jill McCorkle

Jill McCorkle is the author of nine previous books—four story collections and five novels—five of which have been selected as New York Times Notable Books. The recipient of the New England Book Award, the John Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, and the North Carolina Prize for Literature, she teaches writing at North Carolina State University and lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Visit her online at www.jillmccorkle.com. 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2013

    I can't tell you why I didn't love this book, because that would

    I can't tell you why I didn't love this book, because that would ruin it for you. I can only say that if it were a TV series, everybody would want to watch the second episode, would maybe even put it on their calendars, so they'd be sure not to miss it. Jill McCorkle is an excellent writer. Her characters seem so real, you almost forget that they aren't. The detail that I can't tell you about will not keep me from reading her other books and short stories, and so I do recommend them to you.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2013

    I was enjoying book so much and I turned the page and it was ove

    I was enjoying book so much and I turned the page and it was over with SO many unanswered questions, I couldn't believe it.  Is there going to be a sequel, what happened?  A very disappointing ending.  In fact this is the first time I've posted any rating on any book, I was that upset. 

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 5, 2014

    The novel drags in places, but the premise of following a few ch

    The novel drags in places, but the premise of following a few characters as they prepare for death or that final adventure provides many inspiring moments. Joanna stands as the Greek chorus, forever giving her insight into the life and death of the characters. Many of the individuals speak and relate their story: Sadie, Rachel, Kendra, Stanley, Abby, and Kendra. McCorkle foreshadows the tragic ending early in the novel, so I was not surprised when the event happened. My disbelief is that the criminal walked away from the crime. Many of the deeds of the residents in the nursing home created a sense of the façade that many individuals create. Stanley stands out as a remarkable and lonely man. I like the fact that a nursing home is not always a prison cell, but can be a lively and beneficial environment. This is the type of novel that requires reading to be completed in a timely manner or the reader quickly loses interest in the topic.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2013

    Sadly,mediocore

    This book has an outstanding premise--that the dying want to be remembered and how we view individuals who are facing the end of their lives. Portions are absolutely riveting. Sadly the author seems to run out of energy for her topic half way through the text and can't quite recover. The ending was disappointing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2013

    Tigerclaw and flametail

    They follow solarstar in...

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2013

    SnakeWhip

    He leaps down from his tree, going back to camp.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2013

    I enjoyed this book BUT....what happened to the doctor? The marr

    I enjoyed this book BUT....what happened to the doctor? The marriage of Ben & Kendra? Abby? Good premise but to me an unfinished book.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2013

    BORING

    This writer makes no sense

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    Why so much $???

    Why does this book cost so much

    0 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    Bji

    Bji

    0 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted May 24, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted July 1, 2014

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    Posted February 2, 2014

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