This surprise bestseller is Sebold's first work of fiction. Susie Salmon, the novel's 14-year-old narrator, is raped and killed, yet her spirit lives on to tell the story, recounting the murder and its aftermath from heaven. Her Indian boyfriend, Ray Singh, is initially accused of the killing by the police. Her grieving mother engages in an affair and runs off to California, while her father tries to find the man responsible for the crime. Susie narrates the scenes of life after her death, as well as memories of her time on earth, with detachment and humor. Watching her emotionally damaged family from on high, she has one real wish to somehow help them heal. Sebold has written a brave narrative about the human capacity to transcend tragedy, about the ways for better and worse life goes on after loss.