After You Died
Review: Anne-Marie Greiff
Fish Hoek writer and editor Maire Fisher once said “I can’t imagine a world without good stories to read” and After You Died is just that, a captivating contemporary novel, set in picturesque Fish Hoek that draws you in from the first page.
“When he looked up, she was already all over his windscreen.
“In slow motion his windscreen began to shatter and eat up her face; her long blonde hair seemed to fill the entire front of the car, tiny drops of blood suspended in thin air.
Then she was gone.”
Death – there’s no preparing for it.
A tragic accident that turns four friends lives upside down and tears them apart.
A devastated boyfriend’s life splinters as he spirals out of control.
A witness relives the gruesome accident while enduring her troubled marriage and abusive husband.
A taxi driver, struggling to make ends meet, has to cope with facing life without his leg, avoiding his vengeful taxi boss and coming to terms with killing Claire.
The ripple effect is felt as it spreads across all the lives left behind.
Life is changed forever.
Grief – it seeps into your bones like the Cape winter damp. It’s relentless.
Each chapter is a journey and time stands still as you fall deeper into the tapestry of these true-to-life characters’ lives and discover how they grapple with their devastating loss and attempt to move forward with their lives. Change is inevitable as they weave their way through the stages of grief and transition from shock and anger to forgiveness, hope and rebirth, but not necessarily in that order.
Each person lives the process at their own pace and the book explores the various coping mechanisms that people use to “numb out” – sex and alcohol – during times of trauma, along with the accompanying emotions that bubble up to the surface. A healing journey emerges for both the characters and reader alike.
The easy writing style keeps you immersed in this moving story of loss, love, betrayal and courage and you’re sure to devour it in a short space of time.
Anne-Marie Greiff is a reader of False Bay Echo, one of 15 titles published by Cape Community Newspapers.