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Afterlife Kindle Edition
A Time Magazine Must-Read Book of 2020
A Most-Anticipated Book of the Year: O, The Oprah Magazine * The New York Times * The Washington Post *Vogue * Bustle * BuzzFeed * Ms. magazine * The Millions * Huffington Post * PopSugar * The Lily * Goodreads * Library Journal * LitHub * Electric Literature
The first adult novel in almost fifteen years by the internationally bestselling author of In the Time of the Butterflies and How the García Girls Lost Their Accents
“A stunning work of art that reminds readers Alvarez is, and always has been, in a class of her own.” —Elizabeth Acevedo, National Book Award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller The Poet X
Antonia Vega, the immigrant writer at the center of Afterlife, has had the rug pulled out from under her. She has just retired from the college where she taught English when her beloved husband, Sam, suddenly dies. And then more jolts: her bighearted but unstable sister disappears, and Antonia returns home one evening to find a pregnant, undocumented teenager on her doorstep. Antonia has always sought direction in the literature she loves—lines from her favorite authors play in her head like a soundtrack—but now she finds that the world demands more of her than words.
Afterlife is a compact, nimble, and sharply droll novel. Set in this political moment of tribalism and distrust, it asks: What do we owe those in crisis in our families, including—maybe especially—members of our human family? How do we live in a broken world without losing faith in one another or ourselves? And how do we stay true to those glorious souls we have lost?
From the Publisher
About the Author
--O, The Oprah Magazine
"A sweeping tour de force . . . one of the most significant Latina writers of her time."
"A stunning work of art that reminds readers Alvarez is, and always has been, in a class of her own."
--Elizabeth Acevedo, National Book Award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller The Poet X
"Alvarez's prose is magnetic as she delves into the intricacies of sisterhood, immigration, and grief, once again proving her mastery as a storyteller. This stirring novel reminds readers that actions (big and small) have a lasting impact--so they should always act with love."
--Library Journal, starred review
"A funny, moving novel of loss and love . . . Alvarez writes with knowing warmth about how well sisters know how to push on each other's bruises and how powerfully they can lift each other up. In this bighearted novel, family bonds heal a woman's grief."
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"A charming novel of immigration, loss, and love."
--Booklist, starred review
"Alvarez's poignant return to adult fiction . . . raises powerful questions about the care people owe themselves and others . . . Alvarez blends light humor with deep empathy toward her characters, offering a convincing portrait of an older woman's self discovery. This will satisfy her fans and earn new ones."
"A tart, lovely book about rising to the challenge of understanding and accepting others."
--The Philadelphia Inquirer, "Spring 2020's Best Books"
"The queen is back with the exact novel we need in this fraught era. A powerful testament of witness and humanity written with audacity and authority."
--Luis Alberto Urrea, bestselling author of The House of Broken Angels
"Ravishing and heartfelt, Afterlife explores the complexities of familial devotion and tragedy against a backdrop of a world in crisis, and the ways in which we struggle to maintain hope, faith, compassion and love. This is Julia Alvarez at her best and most personal."
--Jonathan Santlofer, author of The Widower's Notebook
"From the very beginning, Julia Alvarez has proven herself a wise and funny writer with a sharp eye and ear for the joys and obligations of love and family. Now, in Afterlife, she applies her gifts to last things, as her Antonia struggles to move beyond the consolations of poetry and embrace the buzzing, blooming confusion of the world again."
--Stewart O'Nan, author of Emily, Alone and Henry, Himself
"This novel gives the immigration debate a deeply human face, chronicling the story of a recently bereaved retiree who takes in a pregnant and undocumented teenager."
--Vogue, "41 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2020"
"A book that strives to elevate from the anger and tribalism of our times, Afterlife wonders aloud about the obligations we owe to our human family."
--Goodreads, "33 Highly Anticipated Books of 2020"
- ASIN : B07VQCLT6H
- Publisher : Algonquin Books (April 7, 2020)
- Publication date : April 7, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 2810 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 272 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #201,536 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- #163 in Hispanic American Literature
- #165 in Sibling Fiction
- #218 in Marriage & Divorce Fiction
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on March 27, 2021
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Top reviews from the United States
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Reading Julia Alvarez is like talking to your best friend - or sister - over a few glasses of wine. The conversation is comfortable and warm. Laughter is often mixed with tears, as often happens when women who love each other get together, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s necessary. I would recommend Afterlife for anyone who has experienced a deep and profound loss, who finds themselves at a crossroads in life, and/or who maintains close, complicated, annoying yet beautiful life-giving relationships with siblings, natural or chosen.
I appreciate having current writers of fiction, such as Elizabeth Strout, who don’t neglect those of us who reach the status referred to as “senior citizens,” a bit of a euphemism for just plain “old age.” What a treat when Ms. Strout did a follow up of Olive Kitteridge with Olive, Again! I could only wish for more of Olive only that just can’t happen given what the reader discovers in the follow-up inter-connected short stories that becomes a novel.
Julia Alvarez, most noted for her much earlier novel In the Time of Butterflies, has provided me with, in Afterlife, that most wonderful senior-citizen read. Antonia, a retired college professor, is newly widowed, living alone in her Vermont out-in-the-country home where down the road are farm workers illegally there from Mexico. And beyond Vermont are Antonia’s senior citizen sisters, what the four of them refer to as “the sisterhood.” And with these ingredients, Ms. Alvarez has created a novel that I shall be recommending to the many others like me who love to read quality literature.
But on a more personal note, this is a novel that seems more like a third-person memoir (not that a memoir is ever written in third person, or so I believe) because, you see, I know something about this author having lived in Middlebury, Vermont, for several years. The central character was originally from the Dominican Republic as is true of the author. That, of course, is the setting for her butterflies novel. Julia also has three sisters. And like the central character who lives in Ferrisburg, Vermont, Julia Alvarez has lived either in or near the town of the nearby college which, of course, is Middlebury College. Antonia’s husband was a doctor. Julia is married to a well-known doctor.
The writing is brilliant! Antonia is about to have her next birthday, the first one alone as the recent widow. And down that road is a young Mexican man who is desperate to get his Mexican girlfriend, temporarily in Colorado, to find a way to be with him. But there is the problem of both money and, of course, a country in which the administration is cruel to immigrants from south of the border.
The reader will love these sisters although I have a favorite, the one who lives in Chicago and has little use for any type of fundamentalism. The dialogue for these women is so wonderful. This particular sister, Tilly, says such things as “We have more churches per square root than anywhere.” And she doesn’t live in the South. It’s Chicago. Or this from her: “That bitch was like a wolf in cheap clothing.” Or this regarding us elderly in gym classes: “Nobody’s perfect in an elders exercise class—everyone’s fat, hurting from arthritis, needing to recover some skill they’ve lost. ‘We love each other as we are,’ she brags.
This is a novel, as has been true with the Olive ones, that I will read more than once. That’s the optimistic me as I sit home with my elderly husband while around us the coronavirus is spreading. Maybe Julia Alvarez and/or Elizabeth Strout will deal with that topic next, one that certainly can’t have too many humorous dialogues.
Top reviews from other countries
Some of them I LOVE, unfortunately
I really didn’t enjoy this one.
The characters were very weak, superficial, beautiful set of circumstances ,and the theme Could be very interesting, but it was boring .
Sorry Julia, maybe next time....