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Life After Life: A Novel
     

Life After Life: A Novel

3.8 48
by Jill McCorkle
 

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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)

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. 

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Unpublished endorsements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

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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781616203337
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
05/26/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
223,436
File size:
1 MB

What People are Saying About This

author of SERENA Ron Rash

“Like Flannery O’Connor, McCorkle’s genius is to give us both philosophical speculation and a riveting narrative filled with unforgettable characters. 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.”

Unpublished endorsements

“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.” —Ron Rash, author of The Cove


“I have always loved Jill McCorkle’s books: her characters are such characters! But in Life After Life, she has outdone herself . . . There’s talk about magic in this wonderful novel, and Jill McCorkle displays her own sleight of hand in delivering a powerful message in such a subtle and beautiful way.” —Elizabeth Berg, author of The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted


“With Life After Life, Jill McCorkle knocks it out of the park and into the cosmos. Each character holds unique surprises that unveil the intricate magic of this brilliant novel.” —Beth Henley, author of Crimes of the Heart


“Jill is going to break your heart, but along the way make you glad you went with her. She has written a book that will haunt me for a long time--in the best way. She has given me people to populate my dreams." —Dorothy Allison, author of Cavedweller


"[McCorkle] finds that space where the humor and the sadness in these characters' lives come together, that space where she has always worked the best of her magic. Few writers can shift your emotions in such subtle ways that you are undoubtly changed when you reach the novel's end." —Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang

author of THE DAY I ATE WHATEVER I WANTED Elizabeth Berg

“I have always loved Jill McCorkle’s books: her characters are such characters! But in Life After Life, she has outdone herself . . . There’s talk about magic in this wonderful novel, and Jill McCorkle displays her own sleight of hand in delivering a powerful message in such a subtle and beautiful way.”

Meet the Author

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. 

Customer Reviews

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Life after Life: A Novel 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
lildirtydesigner More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to like this book...really I did and I would give it 2.5 stars because I wanted to like it so much. I was hoping for a mix of Golden Girls and Steel Magnolias and what I got was a whole lot of nothing. There was some good parts, some so-so but others I was just thinking WTH? The premise of the story is a good one - how do people cope with life after loved ones leave this earth. Do people freeze up or do they keep on living? Mix that with life in a nursing home and a kid whose friends are the older generation. You should get a great book of "when I was your age..." and "darn kids...". What you get are stories of the residence pasts and how they live now. Pretty sad really...you live your whole life to end up and in a room? Not my idea of old age. It seems like Mrs. McCorkle didn't know how to end the book so she crammed in so much in the last few chapters that you thought you were reading a different book altogether. If you are a fan of Mrs. McCorkle you might like this book but for me, I wanted more than what I read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read quite a few of her booksand they are all quite very good. This one is a bit depressing but still entertaining.
Anonymous 9 days ago
PatAK More than 1 year ago
I expected to like this book since I am an older person. I just couldn't get into it, though, because of the writing style. I found it a bit confusing, so I gave up and quit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok shes getting annoying. Go to 99 coffins. Only if you want to see her. And oh yea i made new upgrades too. So have fun dying inside.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Delphimo More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Half the reviews are off topic
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
SUEHAV More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book BUT....what happened to the doctor? The marriage of Ben & Kendra? Abby? Good premise but to me an unfinished book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is a chat at july first result
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I fly in. "Here's the place." I fly to the castle ((or whatever)). I knock on the doors. "May I join?" I ask.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Where is hades
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Ember || Age: 2 months old || Looks: brown, curly hair, golden hazelnut eyes, freckles, pale skin, a small red tail, with an arrow shape tip, white small fangs || Clothes: a white frilly dress with lace decorations, a white ribbon headband tucked on her wavy hair, no shoes || Parents: Fire Queen Shadow & Aregon || Species: De<_>mon || Personality: a cheerful mood, always playful. Very curious and cute all the time. Shes very sensitive and loves chocolate. ||