AFTER LUCY by Daniel Jones


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A compassionate, quietly compelling debut from prizewinning short-story writer Jones, about a young husband attempting

to come to terms with his grief after his wife's death, while helping their two children do the same.

Trying to pick up the pieces in Pittsburgh following Lucy's death from breast cancer, Porter can't face returning to his

graphic-design job, for which he’d abandoned a promising start as a painter when the first of his kids was born. On impulse,

he trades in Lucy's Mazda for a gaily painted camper truck and plans a cross-country trip with Kaylie and Ben, as much to

escape his domineering in-laws as to have an adventure. On the road one step ahead of his mother-in-law, who disapproves of

the trip and the vehicle, Porter and the kids stop their first night at an Indiana campground, the flyer for which they found in

the truck. But morning brings revelations: their campground is a gathering place for Deadheads, and the camper’s previous

owner had left his girlfriend there, then ran off with someone else. Taking in the tepees and tie-dyes, Porter and family are

initially dismayed, but with the help of Delilah, the jilted, pregnant girlfriend, they soon find their way around and begin to

relax—which is good, because their truck's transmission is shot. When Porter relaxes a bit too much, however, with the help

of some killer weed supplied by the Deadhead mechanic, he fails to get back to the camper, and Kaylie calls Grandma on the

cell phone in a panic. His in-laws flying to the rescue, Porter realizes the adventure is over, yet as he and Delilah nurse the truck

back to Pittsburgh, the children having been airlifted to safety, the tentative outline of a new beginning for everyone emerges.

Equally funny and full of grief's nuances, with just a few abrupt transitions: a moving story of love and loss and all that

comes between.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-688-17456-6
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2000