Anna in the Afterlife: A Novel by Merrill Joan Gerber
"Once her dying got underway, Anna could not really complain about the way the process moved along." So begins this deftly amusing, wryly perceptive look at the passing of a feisty, funny woman. During the four-day limbo that bridges her death and burial, Anna, who is "infinitely present, never dead, never stupid, and never done with it all," gets to investigate the preparations for her own funeral, the true nature of her sister's suicide attempt, and the revelations of her own sexual abuse by her half-brother. She contemplates her parents -- her impoverished Polish Jewish mother, her father who was obsessed with his digestive system -- and she longs to remember her beloved husband, who is all but buried by time. She considers the origins of her bigotry and her reluctant capitulation to romantic and physical love. In her final moments of consciousness, Anna has the last word on her own secrets and crimes before stepping into eternity.