Cover image for After
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Soho Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
371 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


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After is a deeply affecting novel about a widower and his reemergence into life and love by the Newbery Award-winning author of Shiloh.

Author Notes

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor was born in Anderson, Indiana on January 4, 1933. She received a bachelor's degree from American University in 1963. Her first children's book, The Galloping Goat and Other Stories, was published in 1965. She has written more than 135 children and young adult books including Witch's Sister, The Witch Returns, The Bodies in the Bessledorf Hotel, A String of Chances, The Keeper, Walker's Crossing, Bernie Magruder and the Bats in the Belfry, Please Do Feed the Bears, and The Agony of Alice, which was the first book in the Alice series. She has received several awards including the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Night Cry and the Newberry Award for Shiloh.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

There aren't that many domestic dramas told from the older middle-aged male viewpoint, and Naylor's story of Harry Gill, who has lost his wife of 34 years to ovarian cancer, will appeal to readers of both sexes with its warm, candid depiction of love, grief, and community. Harry's goal is simple--to survive the first year and show his grown children how it's done. He does that, even as he never denies his sadness. He returns to work in his Maryland neighborhood outside D.C., deals with his kids, hangs out at the local barbershop, fights off matchmakers, discovers secrets about his wife (or does he?), and begins to fall in love again. The appeal here is in the daily detail, as Harry mourns what he's lost, haunted by the intimate memories he can't relive with anyone else. This is, above all, a celebration of a happy marriage, and as such it represents quite a change of pace for celebrated children's author Naylor, whose Shiloh (1991) was a Newbery Medal winner. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Naylor's novel about 56-year-old Harry Gill's first year as a widower deals in the minutiae of daily life, focusing on the common but incontrovertibly human emotions surrounding death, marriage and family ties. Harry runs a garden shop in a Washington, D.C., suburb. When his wife dies of ovarian cancer, he grieves, but his grief is tempered with bouts of anger, exasperation and longing for other women. This longing is reciprocated. Neighbors, friends and even colleagues hurl themselves at Harry, who, although likable enough, seems to attract them simply because of his new status as an unattached man. Naylor, author of more than 80 books for young people and winner of the 1992 Newbery Medal for Shiloh, skips between an account of Harry's budding relationship with Iris, a 30-something boarder he takes in, and the dramas enveloping his children (one has marital problems; another struggles with a gambling addiction; a third lives with a partner he won't commit to, who's pregnant with their child). Naylor's concentration on the mundane makes for pretty dull reading, exacerbated by trite reflection ("He sat on the edge of his bed one Sunday morning, pulling on his socks and contemplating his golden years"). She spices things up with a little mystery, e.g., some minor vandalism (which turns out to be innocuous) and the discovery of a letter that says one of Harry's children isn't his own (which turns out to be fabricated). Still, readers grappling with the loss of a loved one may find solace in Naylor's unassuming tale. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved