Sunday, May 30, 2021

86 - 2021 - What Comes After; JoAnne Tompkins

 


TITLE/AUTHOR:  What Comes After; JoAnne Tompkins

PUBLISHER:  Random House Audio

YEAR PUBLISHED: 2021

GENRE: Fiction / Murder/Suicide/ Small Town Life

FORMAT:  audio download / LENGTH:  13 hours

SOURCE:  library download

SETTING(s):  Port Furlong, WA

ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY:  A dark, sometimes gritty story with lessons about loss and redemption.

BRIEF REVIEW:   In the small coastal community of Port Furlong, Washington. Two high school boys are dead. Daniel never returns home from football practice and eight days later, his friend Jonah commits suicide, leaving a note that admits he murdered his friend Daniel.  How could this happen and why? Those left behind search for answers while finding a way to cope and move forward.

Isaac is Daniel's father and a teacher in the high school, he now lives alone with his aged dog.  Lorrie is Jonah's mother, she is a widow who works in a low paying job while raising a younger daughter.  Evangeline, is the 16 year-old daughter of a drug addict and prostitute who was abused and abandoned and has been fending for herself.  One day after the boys have died she shows up at Isaac's door filthy and noticeably pregnant and it appears she may have a connection to the boys.

The novel is well written,  perhaps overly long, and told from alternating POVs. The story unfolds in such a way that the reader is constantly trying to understand how and why these tragedies have occurred.  It is a dark, sometimes depressing debut novel and most definitely a character-driven one. I found Evangeline to be a sympathetic and understandably hyper-vigilant young woman who had major trust and self esteem issues. This is a story which I listened to in smaller doses over multiple days: people die,  others have issues, a dog dies and other people leave. The audio book was well done with multiple narrators used. Although there was mention of the Quaker faith / beliefs particularly with Isaac, the story never felt preachy.  I was happy I tried this one and, if this sounds like one you might like to try, the audio was very good.

RATING:  4/5  

18 comments:

  1. This does sound like a dark and kind of depressing story. Not that it isn't good. Just maybe not the book to read if you need something a little more uplifting.

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    1. Yes, moods readers need to be aware of the darkness here, very good story though.

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  2. Sounds interesting, I'm looking for lighter reads right now but have bookmarked it. The parts about the boys and dog though, :(

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    1. I know, I wish authors would avoid pet deaths. We can often expect a person to die in a certain kind of story but, animal deaths (any manner) are never a good bet for an author to go with IMO.

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    2. I third the unnecessary pet deaths! They can really ruin a book for me.

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  3. Oh this story sounds really good. I mean, tough subject matter but I like that it has the alternating POVs and I think that would be a great way to explore how this tragedy affects everyone.

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    1. Yes, the POV narration worked really well. I read a suicide storyset in Japan last month where 3 friends were left behind to wonder and I really liked that one as well.

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  4. It does sound like a tough read. I often wonder about the difference of listening vs reading in the way I feel about a book. I think I could read this one more easily than listening to it.

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    1. Jen, I know what you mean. I definitely read the print when there are many characters and even with 3-4 sometimes, I like having both print and audio and doing a combo read/listen.

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  5. It seems there is a lot going on in this book, most of it intense and a bit depressing, but also well done.

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  6. I guess I think I will skip this one after all .... just too much tragedy, grief, and darkness. Too much for me now. ha

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    1. I know, I'm a mood reader and fortunately, I was in a good place last week for this one:)

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  7. This one keeps catching my eye, and it's been a long time since I listened to a good multi-narrator audio production...

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    1. The narrators were very good; I enjoyed just the audio even though it was a bit too long.

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  8. I love listening to audios with several readers, so I'm adding this to my wishlist. Thanks, Diane.

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