Reading guide for Afterlife by Julia Alvarez

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Afterlife

by Julia Alvarez

Afterlife by Julia Alvarez X
Afterlife by Julia Alvarez
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2020, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2021, 288 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. Antonia and her sisters are close and clearly love one another; at the same time, like many siblings, they argue, put each other in boxes, and are not always supportive. How are the sisters similar and how are they different? Which parts of their relationships felt familiar to you, if you have siblings?
  2. Antonia notes that in many ways, her husband, Sam, remains alive in her head: she often wonders what he would say or do, and she lets that guide her own actions. Do you think Antonia would have made different decisions about Mario, Estela, and Izzy if Sam had still been alive?
  3. How do you feel about the actions Antonia ultimately takes to help Mario and Estela? Does their story change your thinking about immigration in America? If so, how?
  4. Discuss the sisters' plan to get help for Izzy and the ways that it backfired. What do you think about how they handled the situation?
  5. The sisters all have distinct roles in the sisterhood, and Antonia also had a defined role in her relationship with Sam (bad cop to his good cop). How did Sam's death change the way Antonia viewed herself? How do you think Izzy's death will alter the roles of the sisterhood? What is your role in your own family? Is it accurate, fair?
  6. Antonia is often viewed as the selfish sister. Despite this, she struggles with recognizing and asking for what she needs. In Afterlife, she is frequently called on to assist others. How do you think this helps her better understand her own needs?
  7. Antonia frequently recites lines from her favorite authors and poets, and their words provide comfort and wisdom. Do you think these literary references are always helpful? Do you have poems, songs, books, or other stories that you return to when you need comfort? How have the arts helped you in a dark time?
  8. When we have identified an injustice or problem in our world or in our family, do we have a responsibility to address it? Antonia remembers a Tolstoy story with three questions: What is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do? How do you decide the balance between taking care of yourself and taking care of others?
  9. Antonia observes that ethnicity and race are often used by the sisters as their personal loophole. How do ethnicity, race, or culture qualify how we care and commit to community, self, family?
  10. Why do you think this book is set in Vermont, a state with a relatively small Latino population? How might the demographics of her home influence Antonia's choices?
  11. Does the Japanese repair technique described in the epilogue feel relevant to your own life?
  12. Who in this book has an afterlife?
Click here for the full Book Club Kit from Algonquin.

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Algonquin Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Aneurysms

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Ground Breaking
    The Ground Breaking
    by Scott Ellsworth
    While there has been a concerted effort in recent years to educate the nation about what happened ...
  • Book Jacket: Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch
    Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch
    by Rivka Galchen
    Rivka Galchen's novel Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch is a historical fiction tale set in the ...
  • Book Jacket: Paradise, Nevada
    Paradise, Nevada
    by Dario Diofebi
    In Dario Diofebi's novel Paradise, Nevada, the neon allure of Las Vegas is pulled back to reveal ...
  • Book Jacket: Things We Lost to the Water
    Things We Lost to the Water
    by Eric Nguyen
    Spanning over 30 years, Eric Nguyen's debut novel Things We Lost to the Water is epic in scope but ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Book of Lost Names
by Kristin Harmel
A heartrending novel of survival, inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    At the Chinese Table
    by Carolyn Phillips

    Part memoir of life in Taiwan, part love story—A beautifully told account of China's cuisines with recipes.

  • Book Jacket

    Morningside Heights
    by Joshua Henkin

    A tender and big-hearted novel about love in the face of loss, from the award-winning author of The World Without You.

Win This Book!
Win Together We Will Go

Together We Will Go
by J. Michael Straczynski

A novel as much about the will to live as the choice to end it.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

C T T Chase

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.