Saturday, July 13, 2013

Life After Life by Jill McCorkle

Surprisingly to me, this was Jill McCorkle's sixth novel; however it was her first in about 15 years.The center of activity of this novel is an assisted living facility in the Southeast, which is also located near a cemetery. THe novel introduces the reader to many different residents of the facility, its workers and their friends. Their memories and experiences are revealed to the reader through memories, journal entries and first person narrative. Slowly and surely, the reader begins to grasp the tension between illusion and reality and the difficulty that each person has determining what belongs to each realm.

I loved these characters - even the ones that were reprehensible. I appreciated the authenticity of the characters. It wasn't a stretch to believe that these were people that I would have known in real life. It moved somewhat slowly and yet I didn't mind that it moved slowly. It allowed me to get to know the characters and to immerse myself in the community. It's a small community - one where everyone knows everyone else. For instance, one of the residents was a teacher in the community and taught many of the children of the other residents - that's how small it is. I have lived in such a community so it didn't feel as claustrophobic as some people complained that the book felt. The novel was very poignant and I really enjoyed it.

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