Life After Life by Jill McCorkle

Jill McCorkle’s latest book, Life After Life, is set in and around a retirement center in a small North Carolina town. Its chapters alternate between several different characters’ points of view. Some of them are residents of the center, some are staff, and others are visitors or just live nearby. One of the residents is a kindhearted retired teacher who has lived in the town all her life. She is a soothing presence, always looking at the sunnier side of life, but also seeing the hurts and needs of other people, just as she did when she was teaching third graders.
Another resident is a sharp-witted and feisty lawyer from Boston, who only retired in the south to be near the grave of a man that she had an illicit affair with years before. She needs to find a place for herself in an unfamiliar community without giving away the reason she is there.

Yet another character is a staff member trying to overcome a past strewn with broken relationships by working as a Hospice caregiver. Her high school best friend lives next to the retirement center with his wife and daughter, reminding her of the years she spent assisting him with his magic act as the ‘disappearing woman,’ while one of her dear friends is in danger of becoming a disappearing woman of another kind.

The chapters present separate portraits that gradually come together to reveal a larger picture. It was interesting to find out about each character’s background and what they think of themselves in one chapter, and then learn what other people think of them and how they fit into the larger context of the story in following chapters. By the time I finished Life After Life, I felt like I knew all of the characters personally, and shared their moments of humor, poignancy and pathos along the way.

Jill McCorkle is one of several North Carolina authors visiting our regional libraries in November. You can meet her and learn about her work at the Eva Perry Regional Library on Thursday, November 13, at 2:00 p.m.  Click here to register.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

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