What Comes After: Book summary and reviews of What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins

What Comes After

by JoAnne Tompkins

What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins X
What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Apr 13, 2021
    432 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

After the shocking death of two teenage boys tears apart a community in the Pacific Northwest, a mysterious pregnant girl emerges out of the woods and into the lives of those same boys' families - a moving and hopeful novel about forgiveness and human connection.

In misty, coastal Washington State, Isaac lives alone with his dog, grieving the recent death of his teenage son, Daniel. Next door, Lorrie, a working single mother, struggles with a heinous act committed by her own teenage son. Separated by only a silvery stretch of trees, the two parents are emotionally stranded, isolated by their great losses—until an unfamiliar sixteen-year-old girl shows up, bridges the gap, and changes everything.

Evangeline's arrival at first feels like a blessing, but she is also clearly hiding something. When Isaac, who has retreated into his Quaker faith, isn't equipped to handle her alone, Lorrie forges her own relationship with the girl. Soon all three characters are forced to examine what really happened in their overlapping pasts, and what it all possibly means for a shared future.

With a propulsive mystery at its core, What Comes After offers an unforgettable story of loss and anger, but also of kindness and hope, courage and forgiveness. It is a deeply moving account of strangers and friends not only helping each other forward after tragedy, but inspiring a new kind of family.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Deftly handled…readers coming to know [the characters] almost better than they know themselves. Expect some tears before the story ends, but also admire the art that the author brings to this exceptional literary thriller." - Booklist (starred review)

"Like Anne Tyler and Marilynne Robinson, who explore similar territories of the heart, Tompkins sensitively portrays her characters' pain, isolation, and hard path to redemption. A graceful debut." - Kirkus Reviews

"Tompkins's strong point is in deepening the emotional complexities of each character's actions with well-placed backstory...While anger, loss, and grief dominate the characters' lives, forgiveness and connection ease the pain. At its best, this illuminates the limits of faith when facing the darker corners of human behavior." - Publishers Weekly

"If you enjoyed The Searcher by Tana French, read What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins.… a mystery — and a gritty meditation on loss and redemption, drenched in stillness and grief." - Washington Post

"Atmospheric, propulsive... a grieving community grapples with two slain teenaged boys and the young pregnant girl who may hold the key to the their tragic fates. An American Tana French, Tompkins is a writer to watch." - O, the Oprah Magazine

"What Comes After is a tender, wise debut, both grave and hopeful. In telling the story of the violent act that rocks a small community—and what emerges from the ashes—JoAnne Tompkins explores responsibility and forgiveness, connection and loss, the families we're born into and the ones we create. What Comes After asks whether we are inevitably shaped by the wounds we inherit—and the ones we give ourselves—or whether transformation, and redemption, are possible." - Chloe Benjamin, New York Times- bestselling author of The Immortalists

"Though What Comes After begins with the quick jaggedness of sorrow, it soon becomes an intricate journey across the soft, tender landscape of solace. It offers faith without dogma, love without melodrama, and healing that leaves well-earned scars. I found it a beautifully satisfying portrait of people who are terribly wrong about themselves, who discover astonishing relief when they accept their heartbreaking truths." - Cara Wall, author of The Dearly Beloved

"A moving, life-affirming page-turner. JoAnne Tompkins has a deep appreciation for the power of human connection and the magic that can happen when people reach across biological relationships to create the makeshift family or community that they need. This novel is a reminder that family goes beyond blood, held in love, and we are not alone." - Whitney Otto, New York Times-bestselling author of How To Make an American Quilt

This information about What Comes After shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

JoAnne Tompkins

JoAnne Tompkins was inspired to become a writer by the human resiliency she observed in her first career as a mediator and judicial officer. She lives in Port Townsend, Washington.

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