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Life After Life: A Novel | [Jill McCorkle]

Life After Life: A Novel

Jill McCorkle’s first novel in 17 years 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, and many more colorful characters.
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Publisher's Summary

Jill McCorkle’s first novel in 17 years 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.

©2013 Jill McCorkle (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.3 (44 )
5 star
 (10)
4 star
 (12)
3 star
 (7)
2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.2 (40 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
 (5)
1 star
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Story
3.1 (38 )
5 star
 (9)
4 star
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3 star
 (9)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (8)
Performance
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  •  
    Sherry L. Wright Flower Mound, TX United States 03-30-13
    Sherry L. Wright Flower Mound, TX United States 03-30-13 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    147
    ratings
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    328
    48
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    8
    9
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    Story
    "Too Bad"

    Great concept for a book but this one is all over the place and it doesn't help at all that the reader does nothing for the characters. Perhaps if each character were given a distict voice to match their personalities it would be easier to follow all the jumping from person to person from the past to the present, etc.

    I can't reccomend.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela BARRINGTON, RI, United States 05-11-13
    Pamela BARRINGTON, RI, United States 05-11-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
    ratings
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    33
    12
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    2
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    Story
    "Disappointing"
    What disappointed you about Life After Life?

    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 found. Most of the characters were unlikable and there was no resolution to any of the subplots.


    Has Life After Life turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Not at all. I'm attracted to novels that look back at a character's life with reflection and wisdom. This one was just not very well done.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Except for when there was dialogue (which was seldom), she droned on in a boring monotone with no effort to distinguish one narrator/character from another. I would not listen to another book narrated by her.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregory Radnor, PA United States 06-30-13
    Gregory Radnor, PA United States 06-30-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    54
    3
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    Story
    "Bored in the first hour"
    What disappointed you about Life After Life?

    The narrator was terrible: monotone to the extent that after a short time I could only react negatively to her voice, not listen to the story.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Never got there.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Holly Fielding?

    Can't say.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I think the different characters could have come to life with the right reader.


    Any additional comments?

    Can I get my book credit back?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    david Clermont, GA, United States 04-18-13
    david Clermont, GA, United States 04-18-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
    ratings
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    17
    13
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    "Has the the theme of "Our Town" for the aged."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Life After Life to be better than the print version?

    I didn't read the print. I listened to the audiobook twice.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Many realistic characters, Touchingly well described.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Emotional story of life as we age. Touching for an aging child of elderly parents from a small town.


    Any additional comments?

    Great book if you enjoy an ensemble, character driven story. Wonderfully read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kat ANNANDALE, NJ, United States 04-08-13
    Kat ANNANDALE, NJ, United States 04-08-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    104
    ratings
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    38
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    "So excited to see McCorkle's new novel!"
    What did you love best about Life After Life?

    I love the way that Jill McCorkle paints the characters in all of her books, and Life After Life is no different. I loved that this was a great story with some amazing character studies woven in.


    What does Holly Fielding bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Holly Fielding is a great storyteller, and really picks up on the subtleties of McCorkle's characters.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I really liked listening to Life After Life broken up in pieces on my commute - each time, I felt like I was digging into a different character's story.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    shopgirl Atlanta, GA USA 04-02-14
    shopgirl Atlanta, GA USA 04-02-14 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
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    57
    5
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    0
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    "Won Me Over"

    I got this because I really liked Tending Virginia years ago & because I like southern writers. The narrator was okay, though I wish she had asked some old person like me how to pronounce Serutan and I wished for someone who could have added an authentic Southern accent, like Jenna Lamia. I initially had some of the reservations of some of the other reviewers. I couldn't get the characters straight. They seemed to be wandering aimlessly. Then everybody clicked into place about a third of the way through, and although most of them didn't do what I expected or wanted them to, I got attached to them. They were unpredictable, foolish, reckless and wise. I got so I wanted to check in with them every day, just to see what they were up to, even if I only had ten free minutes. Even the ending, which caught me and apparently 90% of the other reviewers by surprise, felt heartbreaking, unexpected and irreversible, just like real life. To me, the measure of a good book is whether it sticks with me after I have finished it, and I think this one will be with me for a long time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Napier, New Zealand 01-07-14
    Carol Napier, New Zealand 01-07-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    65
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    120
    43
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    Story
    "Life in a retirement home"

    Told from the perspective of a volunteer at a retirement home and the retirees themselves, this book is insightful in a bittersweet and sad way. A lesson to learn from it is to be sure and tell the people you love that you do love them, and don't ignore them or take them for granted. This book tells the thoughts of older people who wish they had done things differently, but also those who had a wonderful life and are still happy.

    Towards the end there is a death that I think it is unnecessary, and this one thing almost spoiled the whole book for me. But that's probably because I'm a softie and always want a happy ending.

    I recommend this book, but beware that it is sad.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Winchester, MA 07-24-13
    Steve Winchester, MA 07-24-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "I bought the wrong book!"

    I can't believe I did that. I meant to buy Kate Atkinson's Life After Life and got this one instead. Talk about buyer's remorse. I listened to the first 30 minutes or so and, although it wasn't horrible, it wasn't the book I wanted to listen to...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Liz Santa Monica, CA, United States 03-31-13
    Liz Santa Monica, CA, United States 03-31-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Wrong book."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I had the right title but the wrong author.


    What was most disappointing about Jill McCorkle’s story?

    Just not the book I was looking for.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Holly Fielding?

    NA


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I liked the narrator.


    Any additional comments?

    none

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
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