Read advance reader review of Afterlife by Julia Alvarez, page 3 of 3

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by Julia Alvarez

Afterlife by Julia Alvarez X
Afterlife by Julia Alvarez
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2020, 272 pages

    Apr 2021, 288 pages


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There are currently 20 member reviews
for Afterlife
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  • Carol Pawleys Island, SC
    Glad She's Back
    I'm thrilled that Julia Alvarez has finally written another adult novel. "Afterlife" is the story of Antonia Vega and her life after unexpectedly becoming a widow. It's about four sisters, Mona, Antonia, Tilly and Izzy and life after upheaval and intervention within the family. It's also life after a young pregnant undocumented Estela arrives to join Mario, also without papers.
    The novel is ultimately a story of love - spousal love, sisterly love, young love and love of our fellow human being.
    I love her prose and the moments of humor actually provided a physical release in some of the more tense moments between the sisters.
    I think the story would make an excellent book club selection with much to discuss. So glad to have read this.
  • Sandra L. (Delray Beach, FL)
    On surface, a very easy read. Antonia is reeling from her husband's death. She looks to him for guidance through the many upsets in her life.

    Having lost a Mom and two siblings within the past 3 years, I too have found great comfort in 'mind-talking' to them thus keeping them 'alive' thru the afterlife. I guess we all do that...

    This novel is filled with ethical questions left for the reader to answer and would be suitable for book clubs. Loved the ending!
  • Elizabeth K. (Naples, FL)
    Life goes on. Perhaps differently than one's master plan. After newly retired college professor Antonia's husband, Sam suddenly dies, she faces living her shattered life. She finds herself facing many side shows. There is a strong Latino bond of sisterhood with her three scattered sisters. Heartbreaking decisions must be made without dishonoring a sister's turf.

    What does she do when an undocumented young girl shows up at her door? How can she protect other undocumented men who live in her area?

    Life as she once knew it is shattered, but it can go on in a different way after it is put back together.
  • Daryl B. (Poolesville, MD)
    Thoughts on Afterlife
    Although Antonia is recently widowed shortly after retiring her career as an English professor, she has little time to mourn her husband. As women we tend to be caretakers to everyone but ourselves. Her crazy sisters and an undocumented pregnant teenager that showed up in her garage pull her attention away from grieving. She is torn between not getting involved and doing the right thing. I liked this little book and easily finished it in a couple days. I would recommend it to book clubs as it touches on a lot of issues that would spark good discussions.
  • DLA
    Touching and Timely
    It's hard not to compare this novel's protagonist, Antonia, to Job and his biblical trials. She is a recently retired professor dealing with also recent widowhood, her mentally ill sister's disappearance, all while becoming unintentionally involved in the plight of a neighboring undocumented worker's crisis. The novel explores these tribulations through her childhood, her close relationship with her three siblings, and her own struggle as a Latino woman trying to fit into her New England community. Alvarez weaves an almost mystical approach to these challenges via Antonia's multigenerational memories, her recall of lines from her favorite authors during her teaching years, and her strong ties with her sisters. We come to understand that these issues will always be present, are life-changing for those involved and we can't help wondering how we ourselves would fare
  • Jennifer G. (Henrico, VA)
    Just Okay
    I'm not sure what I was supposed to get out of this book. It's about Antonia, her sisters, how she navigates life with a mentally ill sister, and how she copes with her dead husband. Then, halfway through the book, she encounters a pregnant teenager and takes the girl under her wing. There is a lot of detail about each character and how Antonia thinks about everyone. I didn't leave this book feeling satisfied because it was a lot of build-up with no payoff. I know so much about each female character, but don't know what to do with this information. I thought I was going to learn more about immigration, coyotes, and life as a Hispanic/Latinx person, but I don't feel like I learned anything.
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