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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all itâ?TMs still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Life After Life: A Novel Hardcover – March 26, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: A Shannon Ravenel Book; First Edition edition (March 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565122550
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565122550
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #395,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Agatha Christie believed that an English village was a microcosm of the world, containing all the virtues and evils of the greatest metropolis. The same might be said of Pine Haven Retirement Center, the hub of McCorkle’s new novel, which interweaves the stories of residents, staff, and visitors in a small Carolina town. There is Joanna, the hospice worker, who records the lives of those passing; Sadie, the longtime resident and onetime schoolteacher, who believes everyone remains their eight-year-old self at heart; and the judgmental Marge, called “Extralarge Marge Barge” by the blustery, rude Stanley. Each tells his or her own story, and the bit player in one story becomes the protagonist of the next, providing an ever-clearer picture of the crisscrossing histories that have made these people who they are. By turns comic, insightful, and heart wrenching, Life after Life 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. --Lynn Weber


"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...You are undoubtly changed when you reach the novel's end."

(Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang )

"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, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright )

"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."

(Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard out of Carolina )

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Customer Reviews

And too many loose ends..
Maureen Miller
This book made me think a great deal about what I will make of my own life when I look back on it from its end.
After finishing the book I read the after-notes.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on April 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Pine Haven Estates, a retirement community in Fulton, North Carolina, houses a variety of older people who are served by staff members. Residents, employees and visitors are introduced to readers in descriptions so vivid that we feel as if we know them.

Joanna Lamb is a hospice volunteer who has returned to her hometown with a calling not only to assist the dying to a gentle, good death, but also to keep their memories alive by describing them in her notebook. Joanna's path to redemption has been long and bumpy, including several marriages, a near-death experience, and a final connection with her estranged father. Her best friend in Fulton is the tattooed and pierced C.J., a punk who lives above Joanna's hot dog joint with her baby boy. Joanna knows that C.J. likely would be voted the person least likely to be her best friend, yet the two women click in a tremendously satisfying way.

Resident and retired third-grade teacher Sadie Randolph is an eternal optimist who has her finger on the pulse of the town. She once taught most of the community and, in her heart, believes everyone is internally still around eight years old. Many of her former students visit her, including Ben Palmer and his sad 12-year-old daughter, Abby. Abby is awaiting and dreading the elaborate birthday party her mother is foisting on her, while grieving for the sudden loss of her adorable little dog, Dollbaby. Dollbaby has wandered before, but always has been found. All Abby wants for her birthday is the return of her pet --- although she believes a parental divorce would be another bonus (at least it would stop the incessant arguing Abby must endure).
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By B. Case TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Life After Life," by Jill McCorkle is an alluring, subtle, character-driven novel on the theme of life as illusion. The book revolves around Pine Haven Estates, a multi-tiered retirement community in small-town Fulton, North Carolina. Over the course of the novel, we meet a unique collection of fascinating characters. We view their past lives through their eyes as a collection of beloved memories. We also listen in on their current thoughts and witness their daily experiences. Slowly, we grasp the delicate dissonance between reality and illusion. We see life at Pine Haven--as it may be for most of us as we enter that last phase of our lives--as a perpetually morphing shadowland of life after life...mostly illusion, but necessarily so in the overall scheme of things.

McCorkle is an amazing craftsman at developing authentic characters and there are many here in this book to enjoy. That is ultimately the best reason to read this novel: to become immersed in a completely real savor the magnificent richness of ordinary life. But unfortunately, there is a type of claustrophobia that descends after a reader has spent a lot of hours involved with these characters. This is a small community, in a small town, in countryside of North Carolina. Think about that before you chose to open the covers of this book. After all, you will be with these characters, in this community, for a fairly long time.

In many ways, this book could have been a masterpiece, but for me, it slipped from five to four stars for the following reasons. First, it was just too slow. Yes, it was funny and these characters were marvelously normal and delightfully quirky, but that did not make for a compelling novel. I almost gave up on it twice. Second, it often left me feeling uncomfortably claustrophobic.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Beth on April 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
At first, I found the book really confusing. Then, once I got the flow of it, I really enjoyed it. My father is in an assisted living facility and I've never read any other book about one. I liked the perspective about life at that stage of the game and the other characters that came in & out of the facility. But the ending! I hated it! I felt like there must have some sort of deadline so bam! It ended with what should have been the start of another novel (does the culprit ever get caught, what's the impact on other characters)
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Amelia Gremelspacher TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For many of us, and end of life spent in a nursing home is one of life's dreaded outcomes. In a series of vignettes, McCorkle reveals a gentleness of spirit to be be discovered in a hospice facility. This book is kind , but not saccharine or precious. Certainly there are scenarios not to be envied. But there is one of my favorites Joanne who keeps a private notebook on each patient. There is an official day book, but Joanna's book contains the idiosyncrasies and seminal moments of each resident. Another caretaker is CJ who claims a scandalous past but raises a beloved son. Their past stories, and those of some of the residents form the backbone of the book. These two caretakers caught my mind in their own life struggles and their work at the home.

The residents of the home are in fact described in ways that allow us to meet the defining parts of themselves. It is not an easy task to discuss hospice without stooping to maudlin scenes, but I believe McCorkle does so. From experience, I know that not every resident of hospice is accorded this respect, but I think many caretakers do in fact rise to the challenge as do the staff in this novel. Although this is a point we all must reach, we tend to draw away from its telling. This book doesn't flinch away and impels in a non-melodramatic way to recognize the end of our days.
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