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Life After Life

3.33  ·  Rating Details ·  3,639 Ratings  ·  715 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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mary Challis okay, so different strokes for different folks I guess. I absolutely felt that this book was a very moving, very emotional and very heart breaking…moreokay, so different strokes for different folks I guess. I absolutely felt that this book was a very moving, very emotional and very heart breaking piece of literature. All the characters were so eloquently described that this was truly a most wonderful read. It will stay with me as it moved by very being. (less)

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Apr 15, 2013 Constance rated it it was ok
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
Sep 29, 2015 Connie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We live days and weeks and months and years with so little awareness of life. We wait for the bad things that wake us up and shock our systems. But every now and then, on the most average day, it occurs to you that this is it. This is all there is.”
― Jill McCorkle, Life After LI've

I had wanted to read this for some time as McCorkle is an author local to me. Then a coworker who visits a rural NC nursing home that I used to work in gave me a copy and said, " These are our folks." So I was so dis
Apr 18, 2013 Jan rated it it was ok
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
Mar 26, 2013 Noeleen rated it really liked it
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
Sep 16, 2013 Julie rated it it was ok
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
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Mar 16, 2016 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it really liked it
Shelves: women-s-fiction
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
Ron Charles
Nov 11, 2013 Ron Charles rated it it was ok
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
Nov 30, 2013 Carol rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
May 11, 2013 Pam rated it did not like it
Shelves: audible, 2013
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
Mar 31, 2013 Amy rated it it was amazing
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
Melissa Rochelle
Nov 30, 2013 Melissa Rochelle rated it it was amazing
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
Kelly Hager
Apr 29, 2013 Kelly Hager rated it really liked it
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
Apr 01, 2013 Jill rated it liked it
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
Jun 07, 2013 Maryellen rated it it was amazing
"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 sim
Heather Fineisen
Nov 27, 2012 Heather Fineisen rated it really liked it
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
Larry Bassett
Sep 15, 2016 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"My earliest idea for this novel came twenty years ago when I sat with my dad as he was dying. The idea was completely abstract, and I didn’t even begin to know how to pursue it. But I knew that I was interested in capturing and highlighting that moment when a person leaves. One minute you are in the room with someone who has a life filled with detailed history and memories, and in the next minute, the person is gone, and those details and memories (those that have been told to someone) are all ...more
Aug 01, 2013 Kristin rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
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
Jul 02, 2013 Dougald Blue rated it it was amazing
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.

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
Jun 21, 2013 Gloria Bernal rated it did not like it
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
Aug 03, 2013 E rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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Apr 06, 2016 Nancy rated it it was ok
I dunno, everyone in my book club enjoyed this heartwarming, down-to-earth read. But for some reason I found it difficult to get into. The first 100 pages were very episodic, very short-story-ish, and it felt like it was a little difficult to keep everyone straight and motivate me as a reader. However, I think if I had bothered to read more than just the first 100 pages, I probably would not have had these problems at all. One of the main complaints from my group was just that the ending was ver ...more
Chance Lee
Jul 26, 2015 Chance Lee rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
This is a disappointing book, one with more than a few very nice passages that add up to nothing, like a dance troupe full of brilliant dancers but an incompetent choreographer renders them clumsy oafs.

Most of the characters (and there are way too many of them), are well-rounded and interesting. We have a hospice worker, many residents of a nursing home, a twelve-year-old girl, her awful mother, and a cosmetician who works at the nursing home. The nursing home residents are the most interesting
No. Just no. This is a mellow, slow burning character study, whose ending has no business being in it. The setting of the old age home, the little chapters of the main actors of this story whose prime has already passed, it's all very beautifully written.

It was truly wonderful, dense more than slow, with characters the reader is compelled to care about. Gutsy Rachel Silverman with the memories of a past affair, Sadie the graceful and kind third grade teacher, Abby the little kid from next door
Mimi Meredith
Apr 06, 2013 Mimi Meredith rated it really liked it
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
Janet Lynch
Aug 06, 2014 Janet Lynch rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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
Jan 15, 2016 Jan rated it really liked it
Life After Life takes place in a nursing home in North Carolina and contains the stories of several well developed and quirky characters who either live, work or visit the home. A glimpse into the last days of several people will fill you with poignancy, humor, regret and wisdom, each life ending differently and impacting their friends and family in different ways as well.
May 08, 2013 Mandy rated it it was ok
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.
Apr 02, 2013 Lisa rated it liked it
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.
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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.” 5 likes
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