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Life After Life

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  2,666 ratings  ·  589 reviews
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, which is 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 ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 26th 2013 by A Shannon Ravenel Book
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Constance
I liked this more until the end. There are several interesting storylines though one is maddenly predictable (Rachel & Stanley). There are some complex characters, especially Joanna who turns her life around after hitting bottom and becomes a hospice worker. Kendra, on the other hand is purely, inexplicably evil and makes life miserable for her tragically sad daughter who finds a second home at Pine Haven. The men fare the worst in this novel, from Ned who can't recover from losing his unbor ...more
Jan
I suspect Jill McCorkle chose the title Life After Life to hint that there can be new life even after one’s family and professional responsibilities have ended, but for me “life after life” described the (too?) many people we meet in this somewhat rambling and uneven novel. After reading 60 pages I needed to return to the beginning to create a who’s who list (shades of Russian novels, but this is hardly Tolstoy). I then discovered I hadn’t forgotten who certain people were, but that a number of ...more
Julie Welch
I loved the first 3/4 of this book, and was planning on rating the book with 4 stars. The characters were so well developed and interesting, even the minor characters. I love how she had different points of view from the same event and the death of the characters. Wonderful. Then I read the last 1/4. It was abrupt and seemed like the author did not know how to end the book. After the characters were so well developed, I had trouble seeing certain events occurring. Why would CJ keep tolerating An ...more
Noeleen
Set in Pine Haven Estates, a North Carolina retirement home, Jill McCorkle’s novel, Life After Life, introduces us to a wonderful collection of uniquely different characters and through these characters, explores various events in their lives, their thoughts and experiences of life, their life after life and ultimately, their experiences of death.

This is an extremely character driven book. The plot is not important here and takes a necessary second place to the personalities we meet. It is throu
...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
One of my constant worries as a reader is that a beloved author will disappoint. It is especially true when the beloved author hasn’t published anything in a long, long time. Jill McCorkle is one such author for me and I must say that I was very, very worried that her new book, Life After Life, would be a disappointment. Happily, I will tell you that this did not happen.

Life After Life takes place in a nursing home. All the characters live in the nursing home or work in the nursing home or have
...more
Pam
This book was a big disappointment for me. It was not at all what I expected. Based on the summary, I thought the story would revolve around the life stories, lessons learned and wisdom of the residents of a home for the elderly as told to two younger women - a hospice volunteer and a hairdresser/manicurist who work there. That is not what the book delivered. The stories were disjointed, it was difficult to keep the characters straight and there were no life lessons or wisdom anywhere to be foun ...more
Amy
Readers looking for unforgettable characters and thought provoking issues need look no further than Jill McCorkle’s latest novel Life After Life. Meet the residents, staff, and neighbors of the Pine Haven retirement center in Fulton, North Carolina, and prepare to have your life changed by them. From the youngest visitor, twelve year old Abby, to eighty-five year old resident Sadie, there is a lot about life to be learned. Other residents include Stanley Stone, a once prominent lawyer now feigni ...more
Ron Charles
Jill McCorkle has been concentrating on short stories for a long time, and that form leaves a strong imprint on “Life After Life,” her first novel in 17 years. The early chapters read like a collection of stories as they rotate through the lives of people connected to the Pine Haven retirement center. It’s a cheery, one-stop institution that offers independent living with an eye to the undiscovered country: nursing care, hospice and, finally, a graveyard next door. Only later, as these tales acc ...more
Melissa Rochelle
My first instinct when I got to the end of this book was to throw it across the room. But since I read a digital ARC, I thought better of it. I wanted to throw the book, not my iPad. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED this book. McCorkle made me feel real emotions. REAL, ya'll.

While the events of the book only cover a couple of days, you get each characters story. You love some, you despise some, and some you want to hug. And in the end you realize that life isn't always easy, but it goes on. We lose
...more
Kelly Hager
This book is a complete surprise. I hadn't read any of Jill McCorkle's books before, although I had always heard good things.

All I knew going into this book was the fact that there were two books called Life After Life coming out almost on the same day, and that this one is likely to be overshadowed by the Kate Atkinson version. (The plots are completely different.)

This book focuses on the lives of people connected to an assisted living home, and it is absolutely beautiful. (And that's one of th
...more
Jill
Had Jill McCorkle kept with what I suspect was her original intention – to shine a spotlight on that creaky bridge between two places, the past and the present, the before and the after– this would have been a brilliant book.

But instead, she tries to mine her material to uncover human eccentricity and comedy and the result is a book that must settle on being entertaining.

With a nod toward Edgar Lee Masters and the Spoon River Anthology, Jill McCorkle focuses on the people of Pine Haven Retiremen
...more
Carol
After listening to Jill McCorkle's talk at a Booktopia Petosky, MI I had to move Life after Life up on my list. Hearing McCorkle speak about her intentions gave me a better understanding of where she was coming from. Forgive me if these are not quite what she said - It ain't over til it's over, that drama and humor tread a thin line, and that there can be a celebration of life even with the bleakest of topics - piqued my interest and got me reading.

I have mentioned before that as I get older an
...more
Maryellen
"The pain of losing people you love is the price of the ticket for getting to know them at all." The more you love someone, the higher the cost. This character-driven book isn't just about the life we live; it is about the life we leave behind. The bits and pieces of our very essence that fill the memories of those whose lives we've touched. Sometimes those bits and pieces are the cause of smiles and sometimes the cause of tears.

Joanna Lamb loved. And she lost. Just when Joanna decided to simp
...more
Kristin
As a nurse who has worked in an assisted living facility in the past, I really wanted to love this book, and the description made it sound great, as did all of the great reviews. I, however, was immensely disappointed. Each "chapter" is about a different character--in his or her perspective but told from a (usually) third-person point-of-view. I was over half-way through the book before I could piece together all the characters and their connections and relationships, as some are mentioned only ...more
Dougald Blue
This amazing book is a literary gem. It is centered on a nursing home in a small town near the North Carolina coast (sounds like Southport to me) and weaves together the lives of a disparate group of folks, young and old. It might sound dreary. It is anything but. It points to the resilience and creativity in all of us through all of life no matter how hard things can get for us. It is a selection in St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church’s summer reading program. Here is my comment on the book’s effect ...more
Elaine Drennon
I fell in love with Jill McCorkle when I read The Cheerleader in 1984 and have owned every book since. While her short story collections are my favorites of their genre, I always believed I could never love another novel as much as Tending to Virginia, which I swore she'd stolen from characters in my immediate family and from feelings I'd harbored that I'd never divulged to a soul. But it's 5 a.m. and I just finished Life After Life, and this is surely my "new" favorite novel of all time.

Worried
...more
Ed
There is some really lovely stuff going in Jill McCorkle's Life After Life, basically a collection of character studies that coalesce with each other and across time, from the past to present. Set in a retirement community (tho sort of combo'd with assisted living and nursing home), there is some wonderful meditations on the meaning of life and death. While many of the characters that populate this novel are elderly members of this community, central figures also include a hospice worker, a pier ...more
Gloria Bernal
The accolades from reviewers prompted me to expect much more. After completing about half of the novel I realized that the "masterpiece" promised by the editor on the back cover was not going to happen. I was expecting a luminosity of prose, something worthy of the term "masterpiece." I really can't imagine a novel being referred to as a "masterpiece" when on page 14, very early on, we are introduced to "C.J." whose opening line is "Speaking of things never to tell your kids: How about where you ...more
E
Aug 03, 2013 E rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather
Okay so I wrote this brilliant review filled with witticisms and profound observations and for some reason it didn't save. That said, Jill McCorkle has apparently been a well known, although not by me, southern writer who hasn't published a book in many years. I consider this an early holiday gift, as I have the joy of experiencing her other books. Life after Life is about a retirement community in North Carolina and the characters, and I do mean characters, who live and work there. Joanna, a ho ...more
Mimi Meredith
I finished reading this book while staying in my Dad's retirement community for a week. While I don't recommend that environment as it all feels "too real", I had often thought there should be a way to collect all the stories represented in communities like Dad's. These. Residents all come from somewhere else and no one really gets to know one another's storiesl. I thought McCorkle did a great job of expressing that and of creating very memorable characters.

I didn't feel some of the plot twists
...more
Janet Lynch
This stunning novel, brimming with eloquent yet quiet epiphanies, explores the meaning of a life lived and the anticipation of death, ambitious themes that both attract and repel me. It is set in Pine Haven, a retirement home, in a small town in North Carolina. Some of the characters include Sadie, a wise and loving retired teacher; Rachel, a retired lawyer who comes to North Carolina to trace the childhood of a secret lover; Stanley, also a retired lawyer, who feigns dementia in hopes his adult ...more
Cheryl
There's the nursing home story, which is nice - reminds me a bit of Maeve Binchy. There's a bunch of old people, with various life histories (some of which include mostly joy, some of which are laden with personal demons), who face their end-of-life processes, and Joanna, a hospice volunteer with some demons in her own past, who helps their deaths be as kind as possible.

But there's a second story. Joanna has a friend, C.J., a young adult who is still fighting her demons, and that story is not s
...more
Mandy
Awesome characters, good writing, interesting read but the ending took this from a 3/4 star book to a 2. The ending was so out of the blue that it seemed to come from a completely different book and made me really dislike the book. Barring the last chapter, totally worth reading.
Lisa
I wish I could rate this higher, and I would for 3/4 of the book. Love her writing, great characters.... But the whole thing seems to speed way up at the end, everything happens too fast and seems out of context, and many of the plot elements just don't seem to add up.
Sandie
The retirement home called Pine Haven is the place where a multitude of human lives converge. From the pierced and tattooed unwed mother known as CJ who styles the hair and massages the feet of the elderly residents to the thrice married Joanna who sits at bedsides, offering comfort while holding the hand of the dying. Each character in LIFE AFTER LIFE has a story to tell and even the dead come forth to comment on their own passing.

Everyone, be they caregiver, resident or visitor uses Pine Haven
...more
Janice
If I had a "Loved it, but puzzled" shelf, this book would go there. I loved most of this book, with it's quirky, complex characters, most supremely likeable, and the stories they told. The residents of the Pine Haven Retirement home, where this book is set, spend much of the time looking back at their lives, at both happy times, and at things they regret. Yet their current lives are often full, with loving and supportive friends, and sometimes family members as well. One of my favorites was Sadi ...more
Shani
I really liked the premise of Life After Life as it started off--the idea of a woman capturing the stories of the people she worked with at a nursing home just before they passed away. It seemed really peaceful and a way to keep their memory alive. Some of the pieces of the story though transferred too much between the past and the present and made it slightly hard to follow. The author did weave the stories expertly together. I would give this book 2.5 stars.

A few favorite quotes:

"The pain of
...more
Diane
Life After Life appealed to me because of its setting- an assisted living center and nursing home in North Carolina. The premise centers on Joanna, who has moved back home after an estrangement from her parents. She volunteers at the home, writing down the memories of those who are close to death.

Through this conceit, we meet many characters, and learn much about their lives. Rachel moved there from Boston after her husband died to be closer to the man she had a love affair with years ago. He di
...more
Barb
I'd read some of the mixed reviews this book received before I started it and still it sounded like a book I would enjoy. I like novels that are character driven, I like stories that start slowly. I liked reading about the dozen or so characters whose lives are connected through the Pine Haven retirement home, along with a variety of funny anecdotal stories that punctuate their memories, some made me laugh out loud.

I liked the characters McCorkle created and the way she revealed them to us, some
...more
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Gwinnett County P...: Life After Life 1 5 Feb 28, 2014 12:34PM  
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Five of Jill McCorkle's seven previous books have been named New York Times Notables. Winner of the New England Booksellers Award, the Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, and the North Carolina Award for Literature, she has taught writing at the University of North Carolina, Bennington College, Tufts University, and Harvard. She lives near Boston with her husband, their two children, se ...more
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“The simple rule: some get saved, but most don't. The choices are important before the years begin to go so very fast.” 5 likes
“The pain of losing people you love is the price of the ticket for getting to know them at all.” 4 likes
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