THE NEXT

Stephanie Gangi

Joanna DeAngelis may be gone from this life, but she has a score to settle before she can move on to the next.

Abandoned by Ned McGowan, her younger lover, and obsessed with his betrayal, Joanna falls into a dark afterlife, only to rise up as a restless, vengeful spirit. Anna and Elena, her loving daughters, grapple with grief. Her faithful dog, Tom, watches and waits. But Joanna has only one thing on her agenda: revenge. She streaks through contemporary Manhattan, chasing Ned down, determined to hold him accountable for leaving her alone in her darkest hour.

Along the way,

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Joanna DeAngelis may be gone from this life, but she has a score to settle before she can move on to the next.

Abandoned by Ned McGowan, her younger lover, and obsessed with his betrayal, Joanna falls into a dark afterlife, only to rise up as a restless, vengeful spirit. Anna and Elena, her loving daughters, grapple with grief. Her faithful dog, Tom, watches and waits. But Joanna has only one thing on her agenda: revenge. She streaks through contemporary Manhattan, chasing Ned down, determined to hold him accountable for leaving her alone in her darkest hour.

Along the way, Joanna revisits the beautiful life she once had, the choices she made and the consequences she suffered. She is transported by memory into desire and even deeper, into her very soul, where she searches for what’s been lost … and finds what is eternal. At the end of her journey, none of them—Jo’s daughters, her dog, Ned and the ghost Joanna—will ever be the same.

Fierce and funny, dark and uplifting, a sexy, lyrical page-turner, The Next is at its heart, a love story about a ghost who is determined to fix her life, even after she’s dead.

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  • St. Martin's Press
  • Hardcover
  • October 2016
  • 320 Pages
  • 9781250110565

Buy the Book

$26.99

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About Stephanie Gangi

Stephanie Gangi lives, works and writes in New York City.

Author Website

Praise

One of Library Journal’s Best Books of 2016
A Best 35 Over 35 Pick
Blogcritics Best Fiction of the Year

“A novel so startlingly original and so unafraid to approach complicated, bald emotion and anger.”The Brooklyn Rail

“A very cunning variation on the revenge fable.”The New York Times Book Review

“The lusty, livid Joanna is the hottest middle-aged/dead woman in fiction.”The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Discussion Questions

1. The Next is not simply a novel about the relationship between ex-lovers, but also one about the relationships between mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, siblings, and dogs and their human companions. Which characters and relationships did you connect with the most as you were reading? How do we see these various relationships develop and change as the novel progresses?

2. What are some instances where we see the important role that music has played in the lives and relationships of the characters in this novel? Does music play a similarly important role in your own life? What are some specific songs that come to mind as significant to you?

3. What role does social media play in this novel? How does it result in both the rise and fall of characters?

4. What are the differences and similarities in the ways that Anna and Jules express and process their grief? On page 137, Anna’s grief is described as “the wrong kind of grief.” What does this mean? How do they both work through this to a different sort of grief?

5. On page 282, Anna’s behavior toward Jules is described with this observation: “She had acted out precisely the behaviors she felt most aggrieved by, as humans do.” What is meant by this? Do we see other characters doing the same thing elsewhere in the novel? Why do you think it is that people often do this?

6. What does Ned get from his relationship with Trudi that he does not get from Joanna? What does he get from his relationship with Joanna that he does not get from Trudi? How do you think he should have handled the discovery of Trudi’s pregnancy?

7. On page 173, Ned’s relationship with women is described as a fear of being consumed: “Or maybe she would consume him, just like he had always secretly worried that she would—that any woman would, that all women would…”

8. Where does this fear stem from? Why does Ned feel the need to establish the “Ned-zone of plausible deniability”? Do you think he has changed at all by the end of the novel?

9. What do you imagine the future to hold for Ned? What about for Anna and Laney?

10. What was your reaction to the depiction of the waiting room Joanna goes to after she dies, and the depiction of her as a ghostly presence (and the other ghostly presences around her)? Is this how you would imagine it, or would you envision the ghostly world in a different way?

11. On page 182, Joanna rejects the idea that her lesson and her path to a Beaches ending is to “Feel it all, feel it all, leave it all behind. Love it and let it go.” What is it that ultimately brings her peace and enables her to move on?