Jill McCorkle’s novel 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.
McCorkle puts her finger on the pulse of every character’s strengths, weaknesses, and secrets. And, as she connects their lives through their present circumstances, their pasts, and, in some cases, their deaths, she celebrates the blessings and wisdom of later life and infuses this remarkable novel with hope and laughter.
"Jill McCorkle's Life After Life is a deeply satisfying and thought provoking novel. Pine Haven, a Retirement Community for the Next Chapter in Your Life is a microcosm through which McCorkle explores and honors the human experience. The residents, workers and friends of Pine Haven are young, old and middle aged, complicated, funny, dark and searching, generally looking at how to live their lives well.
The search for life's meaning and satisfying companionship doesn't end until life ends, and we bear witness to this in Life After Life. Joanna, a hospice worker brings love and dignity to the dying, Abby, a lonely child, abounds with light and energy, and is nurtured in return, and as the stories of the many characters are revealed the humanity of even those that seemed initially ridiculous comes through.
I was glad to spend time with the characters in this novel and take my hat off to Jill McCorkle for writing about the kind of place we ought and need to embrace and acknowledge as important to our aging society. And it was very entertaining!"