"Nail-biting wallop of a debut ... a thoughtful, unexpectedly optimistic tale." - The New York Times
After the shocking death of two teenage boys tears apart a community in the Pacific Northwest, a mysterious pregnant girl emerges out...Read More
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.
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.
"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
"Nail-biting wallop of a debut novel. . . Tompkins delivers a thoughtful, unexpectedly optimistic tale." - The New York Times
"This debut vibrates with mystery. Why would a teen kill his friend, then himself? Why does the victim's dad take in a pregnant stranger? As the dots slowly connect, the characters reveal their complex humanity and help us touch our own." - People Magazine
"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
"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
"Deftly handled... readers coming to know [the characters] almost better than they know themselves... exceptional literary thriller." - Booklist
"One of the most moving, challenging, and unique novels of 2021 introduces a cast of characters marred with trauma and subsequently clinging to a very unexpected hope." - Shondaland
"While there's mystery at the heart of this book, Tompkins creates a relatable thrill with reflections on suffering, loss, anger and the powerful effects of forgiveness." - Parade
"At once a mystery and a meditation on how to move forward in the wake of a tragedy, What Comes After by Joanne Tompkins is a moving tale of two parents grappling after the sudden deaths of their teenage sons." - Popsugar
"[A] reflective tale of grief and redemption." - E! Online
"What I loved most about What Comes After is the way the characters--in the wake of a great tragedy--quietly, kindly reach out to one another. The loss of two teenage boys forces the characters to face truths about the boys, and therefore themselves. JoAnne Tompkins writes about the people in this small town with wisdom and grace, and I'm grateful to have read this novel." - Ann Napolitano, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Edward
"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