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"Muske-Dukes has shaped an exquisitely written tale with raw emotional appeal,
a deeply humanistic story of death, grief and survival."
-- Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Intelligent, sometimes luminous."
-- Kirkus

Life After Death
Carol Muske-Dukes

Random House is pleased to publish the beautifully written seriocomic new novel by acclaimed poet and writer Carol Muske-Dukes, LIFE AFTER DEATH (Random House; $23.95; June 19, 2001). Writing with the exquisite grace one would expect from a poet, Muske-Dukes tells the heartrending story of one woman's search for the meaning of life.

Boyd Schaeffer knew Russell had trouble with the truth when she agreed, impulsively, to marry him. "Russell was a liar - so relaxed and so appealing a liar that his lying seemed less like deception than a kind of good cheer, a revisionist's optimism: Life should be the way I'm telling you it is" After years of putting up with bad behavior excused by boyish charisma, Boyd has had enough. One day Russell leaves their young daughter in a park and wanders off -- his excuse: during a game of hide and seek he'd become stuck in the statue of Sneezy the Dwarf. After hearing this story, Boyd tells him, "I'd prefer you dead. Throw yourself out that window, for God's sake… You left her in the park? ... Do me a favor, Russell. Die".

He does. Of heart failure the next morning. Afier Russell's death, Boyd begins to find out who he really was and what her own feelings about him really are. And so LIFE AFTER DEATH becomes a meditation on the border -- the unknown, undefined, powerful line -- between life and death. Boyd embarks on a journey of grief, self-reproach, and self-discovery so profound and surprising that her individual life in its quiet small town setting takes on mythic proportions. With a lonely undertaker, a very serious embalmer, a mother-in-law who refuses to face the truth, and her four-year-old daughter, Boyd begins to reclaim her life and to understand that endings often turn out to be beginnings.

Powerful, comic, harrowing and, finally, redemptive, LIFE AFTER DEATH is an unforgettable read.
-- Random House



Carol Muske-Dukes
Random House; $23.95
ISBN: 0-375-50515-6
On-Sale Date: June 12, 2001
Publication Date: June 19, 2001



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