Here's an excerpt:
In the first pages of Jill McCorkle’s luminous new novel, Life After Life, a dying man instructs his caregiver to keep a written account of each patient she tends, recording a few facts about their lives, as well as their favorite memories and bits of wisdom, and, of course, their last words. “Don’t ever let us disappear,” he says. That directive takes on an ironic cast as the multi-layered story of progresses. Virtually every character in this heavily populated novel, from a lonely little girl to an eighty-five-year-old woman on the cusp of death, is haunted by the memory of some lost loved one. Far from disappearing, the dead are ever-present.
The novel is set in a retirement home, Pine Haven, in fictional Fulton, North Carolina, where an assortment of feisty old folks has created a contentious little community that mirrors the world they’ve retreated from. There’s a yoga-loving lesbian; a lecherous, wrestling-obsessed man with dementia; a Bible-thumping widow who keeps a scrapbook of clippings about murder; and a former lawyer—a Jew from Boston—who has made the unlikely choice to come to Pine Haven for reasons she can’t reveal. The eighty-five-year-old, Sadie, is a former schoolteacher who functions as the peacemaker and social core of the group. A loving woman who “has always seen the sunnier side of life,” Sadie creates fantasy photographs of herself and her fellow residents, providing artifacts of the lives they wish they had lived.