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June 14, 2013 4:41 PM

Jill McCorkle weaves funny, insightful narrative in 'Life After Life'

Jill McCorkle is one of our finest short story writers, and at first her new novel seems to be a series of loosely connected short stories. Set in the Pine Haven Retirement home in the town she has named Fulton, N.C., each chapter focuses on one of the people who live or work there. Most are Southerners but they come from very different backgrounds and seem to have little in common. But as she goes on their stories begin to blend, and by the end we are not only deeply moved, but see why she wrote it the way she did.

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