Life After Life

A Novel

McCorkle, Jill

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
Life After Life
In this novel the author illuminates the possibilities of second chances, hope, and rediscovering life right up to the very end. We are taken on a journey through time and memory. She has conjured up an entire community that reminds all of us that grace and magic can, and do, appear when we least expect it. 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. What they eventually learn about themselves and one another will transform them all. They include some of the most true-to-life characters that you are ever likely to meet in fiction. There is retired 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, a 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; Rachel Silverman, recently widowed, whose decision to leave her Massachusetts home and settle at Pine Haven is a puzzle to everyone but her; C.J., the pierced and tattooed young mother who runs the beauty shop; and Joanna Lamb, the hospice volunteer who discovers that her path to a good life lies in helping people achieve good deaths. As each character begins to connect with another, the mysteries and consequences of their lives are revealed.

Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2013.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 1565122550
Characteristics: 344 p. ;,21 cm.


From the critics

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Aug 04, 2014

Even though the style was a little odd, I did enjoy reading it up until the end (and found it to be a surprisingly quick read despite the style). However, unlike the printed summary about the book being uplifting, there was little in the ending that was left on a positive note. It didn't leave an ending that promised much hope for the characters in the future, which was disappointing. And one of the stories ends in a very disturbing way that doesn't seem necessary.

May 31, 2014
  • anitafournier rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

I got halfway through this, suspected I was wasting my time, read the final chapter and my suspicions were confirmed. bored to tears. Underwhelmed

Sep 16, 2013
  • Alana01 rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

I couldn't get into this book. To me it was bizarre. I only lasted about one chapter

May 20, 2013

"Though perhaps easily confused with the recent novel of the same name by Kate Atkinson, this book does not deal with a single life lived over and over again. Rather, in this Life After Life, residents of Fulton, N.C. - many at the Pine Haven retirement facility - share the stories of their lives in turn; a minor character in one tale becomes the narrator of the next. Though death is a constant presence (hospice volunteer Joanna keeps a notebook of every passing she's a part of), it never overwhelms, nor becomes maudlin or depressing, and author Jill McCorkle has a deft hand with humour and her indelible characters." May 2013 Fiction A to Z newsletter


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