Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Life after Life
Author: Jill McCorkle
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: A Shannon Ravenel Book (Algonquin)
Publication Date: March 26, 2013
Jill McCorkle’s first novel in seventeen years is alive with the daily triumphs and challenges of the residents and staff of Pine Haven Estates, a retirement facility now home to a good many of Fulton, North Carolina’s older citizens. Among them, third-grade teacher Sadie Randolph, who has taught every child in town and believes we are all eight years old in our hearts; Stanley Stone, once Fulton’s most prominent lawyer, now feigning dementia to escape life with his son; Marge Walker, the town’s self-appointed conveyor of social status who keeps a scrapbook of every local murder and heinous crime; and Rachel Silverman, recently widowed, whose decision to leave her Massachusetts home and settle in Fulton is a mystery to everyone but her. C.J., the pierced and tattooed young mother who runs the beauty shop, and Joanna, the hospice volunteer who discovers that her path to a good life lies with helping folks achieve good deaths, are two of the staff on whom the residents depend.
A book chock full of characters. Each chapter is a different one, though of course there are repeating ones. It starts with Joanna, who works at the retirement home and begins to keep a journal while there. Various chapters are journal entries after someone has died, describing them and what Joanne knew about their lives. So I would describe this book as being filled with little vignettes of lives - some sad, some happy, how they ended up in the a retirement home, others that make you think, "what if it was me?"
I would call this an emotional book that might make you ponder your current life a bit more and where it might be heading in the future.