This Is the Afterlife

By Jeff Chon

With warmth and a touch of the sardonic, Jeff Chon’s stories in this volume (the followup to his critically acclaimed debut Hashtag Good Guy With a Gun deal with how we navigate the fallout of what came before—and the ways we’re then destined to navigate the fallout of those subsequent actions: disaffected Goth teens sneer their way through a Christian Fundamentalist rally where a mound of “Satanic” LPs are set ablaze in response to the hospitalization of one of their classmates; a young teacher returns to his hometown to reckon with the suicide of his friend, who was recently exposed as a necrophiliac, unable to shake the inevitability of all those desecrated lives; a local comic store sponsors a “Draw the Prophet Muhammed” contest, aided and abetted by a right-wing shock jock and a local biker gang. This Is the Afterlife is a study in the recursive nature of fate, how the end of one action’s lifespan leads to the birth of another, and how the most unexpected and bizarre twists in our lives are inevitable, even when they’re undeserved.