What Comes After: A Novel (Hardcover)
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One of O, The Oprah Magazine’s MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2021
"An American Tana French, Tompkins is a writer to watch.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
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.
About the Author
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.
Praise for What Comes After:
“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.” —The Washington Post
“Tompkins’ atmospheric, propulsive tale puts the thrill into thriller as 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 is a book for the ages. A powerful, compassionate page-turner, What Comes After dives deep into the best and worst of humanity and comes out singing. This is a story of families failed and made, of lives lost and found and taken, and of anger and forgiveness—elusive, precious, and overwhelming. Joanne Tompkins is a clear-eyed reader of souls, and she gives them to us in all their complicated and terrible beauty.”—Erica Bauermeister, New York Times-bestselling author of the Reese’s Book Club Pick The Scent Keeper