Readers who have access to the Greensboro News & Record’s lively book page will find my interview with North Carolina native Jill McCorkle there today, along with my review of her wonderful new novel, Life After Life, just being published by Shannon Ravenel Books (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill).
Her fans will recall that McCorkle made quite a stir back in 1984, when her first two novels were published on the same day. Those were followed by more novels and some short-story collections, all well received. But Life After Life is her first new novel in 17 years. In the interview, McCorkle talks about how real life – such things as divorce and remarriage, raising her children, teaching – interfered with her writing of novels. But she also talks about how real life – her father’s death, her mother’s descent into dementia – enriched her writing of this novel. Life After Life is, she says, a novel she’d wanted to write for a long time, but it took her a lot of living to feel confident about doing so.
I’ll be reviewing the book for Our State magazine later in the year as well. It’s set in an assisted-living home. Sure, you’ve probably read other fiction set in nursing homes. But be prepared: This book is not like any of those others. It’s much, much better, and more ambitious.
The News & Record doesn’t immediately make its book-page articles available free online to nonsubscribers, so I can’t provide a link to the interview and review. It will be interesting to see, now that both newspapers are owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., if the Winston-Salem Journal will revive its local coverage of books for adults, which it discontinued a couple of years ago in favor of AP wire-service reviews.
– Linda C. Brinson