Cover Image: What Comes After

What Comes After

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I’m judging a 2021 fiction contest. It’d be generous to call what I’m doing upon my first cursory glance—reading. I also don’t take this task lightly. As a fellow writer and lover of words and books, I took this position—in hopes of being a good literary citizen. My heart aches for all the writers who have a debut at this time. What I can share now is the thing that held my attention and got this book from the perspective pile into the read further pile. 

I’ve been gripped from the first pages. “The only relief ahd been the two boys who’d appeared in September, a brief island of company—both tender and ugly—in the middle of all that loneliness.”
Was this review helpful?
So much grief and guilt in this story. I was drawn into the characters quickly and felt anxious for them to find healing and closure. Not necessarily a light read, touching on many topics including depression, bullying, abandonment, and consequences as well as forgiveness and healing. Being a native of the Pacific Northwest, I enjoyed the setting. Overall I thought it was readable and well written, even as it covers a variety of very painful topics.
Was this review helpful?
Oh. What a difficult book to read.  Not because  it’s a terrible story - it’s just so jam packed full of emotions that I had to set it down a few times because it was killing me.  Seriously hit so close to home several times. I love Evangeline. So tough, but still with enough hope to keep her going. Glad neither boy was the father.  Glad it didn’t get too religious or I would have quit reading. The trauma these families faced!  I do not read murder mysteries. I’m not entertained by violence and gore and this pushed me to my limits. I would have quit reading if it went farther but the characters kept drawing me in. Isaac had to admit that his world was far from perfect and he had to acknowledge that his son wasn’t a saint.  Poor Lorrie who had seen horror before but then is dealt another crushing blow.  So many broken hearts. I think that’s why I’m drawn to this type of story.  As a mother who lost her firstborn and only son to suicide, I’m always looking to see how people deal with it, even fictional characters. I know authors do their research. When Jonah said goodnight/goodbye to his mom and sister it took me back to my own experience.  Tears flowed many times, especially when Isaac and Evangeline were singing to Rufus.  Ugh.  Ugly cry!  I don’t agree with letting a pet suffer like they did but I realize it had to fit the story.  Love the ending.  I will keep an eye on this author!
Was this review helpful?
Set in the atmospheric Pacific Northwest, this masterful debut novel rotates from family to tragedy to reconfigured family. It is a dark charcoal sky shot through with rays of blinding sunlight...
Was this review helpful?
An amazingly strong, beautiful, and touching debut novel! The mystery lover in me tore through the pages to uncover the hidden secrets and motivation in the characters’ lives. The literary part of my mind needed to linger over and appreciate descriptions of intense emotions and truths as they surfaced. Every character felt like an actual human to me, and how the author wove the many lives together with no hint of artifice or improbability amazed me. My most loved book this year so far!
Was this review helpful?
What Comes After is a question many of us ponder. What comes next, what comes tomorrow, what comes after we  die? This a question with so many nuances and Joanne Tompkins tackles it with great heart and insight. Evangaline is a 16 year old girl who has seen way too much of the bad things life can present. Isaac is a 50 year old man who has lost his only son, Daniel, in a brutal killing, Lorrie, Isaac’s neighbor, is also the mother of the boy who murdered Daniel. Somehow, these three have to learn to put aside the past in order to find What Comes After.
Was this review helpful?
Voices change with each chapter as different characters weave the details of the story together. What seems to be predictable is not. Beautiful book about found families, the love of a dog and for a dog, learning how to trust and how to forgive. Suspenseful but also heartwrenching.
Was this review helpful?
Secrets! Mystery! Loss and rage! A perfect combo for a perfect read. Loved Tompkins' prose and the way she gently pulled readers through the story.
Was this review helpful?
This is a compelling and interesting book about loss and possibility. It is a traditional plot driven book but there are meditations on stillness and grief seamlessly interwoven into it. They are beautiful and never distract from the book's forward movement. It was absorbing and thoughtful, and I recommend it highly.
Was this review helpful?