Life After Life–Jill McCorkle!

Last night I went to a reading by Jill McCorkle of her new book, Life After Life. I went because Jill is a Southern literary author on par with other women I know and love and respect (are they reading? Hope so! Brown nosing doesn’t work if the ass you’re trying to kiss is completely out of range). And I wanted to hear her speak again. I’d attended a writer’s conference in Chattanooga a few years ago where she gave the luncheon keynotes address, the theme of which seemed to be that she was a proud southern woman who liked to curse, damned all you zealously religious readers who want all southern women to represent a repressed south full of women with all their glory piled up into buns atop their grayed heads and their canckles hidden behind their flowing denim skirts. I like Jill a lot.

Her new novel is apparently about a woman training to be a hospice nurse and we get to live inside the dying minds of her patients in each chapter. I am daunted by the depressing feel to this book, but as the reading and Jill herself proved, there is a going to be a lot of humor there, too. How could I not love a book that includes an English teacher lamenting the fact that her high school students no longer have names like Bill, John, and Ted but are instead named for places and objects, Like Montpelier and Fedora?  This same English teacher wishes dearly for a student to write a tired story of her dying grandmother or a time when a grandpapppy makes them shoot a deer. Instead, she gets nothing but dwarf sex scenes and vampire romances. Dead grannies would be damned good reading after all that nonsense, we are told.

And I can I get up on my soapbox here for small, independent book stores? Carmichael’s here in Louisville hosted the event at their Frankfort Avenue location. Among the audience in attendance last night were several elderly people and they weren’t just cute (though I’m of course obliged to say they were). One bald gentleman wanted to know how she was able to include the experiences of so many elderly characters so vividly in her book. Jill described how lucky she had been growing up to know elderly people. And then the old fellow piped up and said, “You’ve got us pegged!” What a compliment! The bookstore did a wonderful job of advertising, welcoming, and serving us. They had an abundant supply of Jill’s books front and center, ready to go. And they couldn’t have been more helpful in securing a copy of an obscure Charlie Harper coloring book for my son, as well. It should also be noted that my mom, Jymemia Hamilton herself, joined me last night. And it was a wonderful mother-daughter event. My mom even laughed at the dwarf sex comment, and I’m proud of her for it.

I cannot wait to finish Life After Life. No, that’s not true. I cannot wait to be in the middle of it, because once that and David Sedaris’s Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls are over, I’ll be needing some more reading material. I’ve got lots of summer left!


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  1. Discussing Yonahlossee Part 3: Wrap Up | Becky and Bridget Read Good Books July 17, 2013 at 6:45 pm

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