Miss Me When I'm Gone by Emily Arsenault (William Morrow trade paperback, 31 July 2012).
Emily Arsenault's third novel, like the first two*, blew me away.
In this story, Gretchen Waters, the modestly successful author of a series of essays called Tammyland, written during a trip to Nashville after her divorce, dies after falling down a slippery staircase. Her dear friend Jamie Madden is asked by Gretchen's family to complete the follow-up book which was nearly finished.
Intrigued, Jamie, who is heavily pregnant, starts retracing the trail of Gretchen's research, contacting and visiting all the people her friend had, not really knowing why she's doing it.
What's wonderful is that Arsenault includes chapters excerpted from Tammyland, as well as Gretchen's notes for the new book. In essence, she has created three (well, almost) books in one. Any one of these stories would be fascinating on its own, but by intertwining them, Arsenault has taken what could have been a tangled mess, and turned it into awesome piece of work!
FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher, who sent me an advance copy of the book for review purposes.
*The Broken Teaglass (Delacorte, 2009) and In Search of the Rose Notes (Morrow, 2011)