55 pages 1 hour read

Anna Quindlen

After Annie: A Novel

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2024

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Authorial Context: Anna Quindlen’s Experience With Grief

Known for her candid and reflective writing about grief, Anna Quindlen crafts stories that present a vulnerable and nuanced exploration of the impact of loss on communities and individuals. Quindlen’s work acknowledges the deep pain of loss while simultaneously illuminating the moments of resilience, growth, and unexpected beauty that can emerge amid sorrow. Her 10th novel, After Annie, highlights the experiences of three individuals who are left behind when Annie Brown suddenly dies from an aneurysm. One of the survivors is her daughter Ali, who is only 13 when she loses her mother. Also left behind are Annie’s husband, Bill, and best friend, Annemarie, who must contemplate the prospect of a life without Annie’s friendship and support.

Anna Quindlen was a teenager when her mother died of ovarian cancer, and even though she is now in her 70s, the loss is still an ever-present part of her identity. Twenty-two years after her mother’s death, Quindlen lost her sister-in-law, and when she was tasked with writing her obituary, she began to think about how loss changes those left behind. In her May 1994 New York Times article entitled “Public and Private; Life After Death,” Quindlen muses on the messiness of processing grief and the difficulties of navigating public settings while torn apart by the private depths of sorrow.