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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  75 ratings  ·  40 reviews
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

Antonia Vega, the immigrant writer atthe center ofAfterlife, has had the rugpulled out from under her. She has justretired from the college where she taught Englishwhen her beloved husband, Sam, suddenly dies.
Hardcover, 272 pages
Expected publication: April 7th 2020 by Algonquin Books
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  75 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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Nilufer Ozmekik
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another beautiful, heartfelt, exhilarating, insightful reading shakes you to the core, makes you question so many things you’ve done with your life.

The author tells us many thought-provoking issues starting from how to gather the pieces of your life after you lost your loved one, dynamics between sisterhood, their complex relationships, learning to put your needs first but also listening to people’s needs and extending your helpful hands, real and heartbreaking issues about undocumented
3.5 stars

We women often tend to put other people's needs above our own. Even when we are facing crucial issues in our lives, we will set those issues aside if we think someone else's problems are more pressing. This is exactly what Antonia Vega does in Afterlife. Less than a year ago, her husband Sam died suddenly, and the pain of loss is still raw. She keeps telling herself she is going to make herself number one, but she gets sucked into other people's drama and puts her own healing process on
Kasa Cotugno
Right up to the current minute, this lovely book contains many hot button issues without being preachy. Antonia, the central character who has been dealt a double blow, triple or quadruple if you count outside influences, had immigrated from the Dominican Republic. Her husband, who dies suddenly on the first page, was the town optometrist and was regarded as something of a local saint. They live in a small Vermont town where she has just retired from her position as a professor of English Lit at ...more
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks to Netgalley for providing a copy of this book for review.

This novel tackles how we care for each other. Antonia, the main character, is a recently retired professor of English originally from the Dominican Republic. Just as she retired, her husband died of a heart attack, which means that her retirement has turned into a time of mourning. Antonia lives and secludes herself in her house in the Vermont (I believe) countryside. She starts getting pulled back into the world when a young
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Afterlife by Julia Alvarez is a wonderful piece of literary fiction. This is the first book I have read by Ms. Alvarez, but as I enjoyed this so much, I am going to be sure to read more.

This book brings into play a lot of family and social dynamics: sisters/relationships with siblings, family death, death of a spouse and soulmate, mental illness, and balancing one’s needs while also addressing other’s needs.

This book also addresses a lot of emotional issues as well: love, loss, and acceptance
Michael  Berquist
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received a copy of this book from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review as part of First Reads.

This book hooked me on this winter holiday and I read it in one sitting.

Afterlife is a beautiful meditation on the themes of love, death and the lives we live in between. The characters are rich, funny, and engaging. I loved the main character and her reflections on the lives of her sisters, her husband and the literature that she loves and lives. Another great addition to the Latin American
Jan 23, 2020 added it
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this arc, which I received in exchange for an honest review. I’ll post that review upon publication.
Afterlife is author Julia Alvarez's first adult novel in 15 years and is also the first book I have read by the author. I won this book via goodreads giveaways and had entered because the story seemed like something I would like and would tackle themes that are exceedingly important in the world we are currently living in. Unfortunately, to get right to the point, the book was just not very good. I had to force myself to finish it.

The writing style does remind me somewhat of an author who tries
Joy Messinger
[4 stars] Julia Alvarez’s first adult fiction release in 15 years is a story of sisterhood amidst grief, loss, hurt, and repair. One thing I love about Alvarez’s writing is the depth with which she writes women and their relationships, and Afterlife is no exception. Unlike her best known works, this timeline is relatively linear, stays neatly within its given decade, and roots itself primarily in rural Vermont rather than jumping back and forth to the Trujillo-era Dominican Republic. Afterlife’s ...more
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
For such a short book, Afterlife packed a lot of power. Antonia is a recent widow and the second of four sisters. She is trying to navigate her new life after her husband Sam's death and her retirement as a college professor. Her older sister is missing and not well. A pregnant young Mexican girl desperately needs her help. When in doubt, Antonia often thinks of what Sam would say or do in her place. Sam, who Antonia thinks was kinder, more patient than her, would know the answer to all her ...more
MK Brunskill-Cowen
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First of all - thank you Algonquin for the ARC. This book is absolutely beautifully written. Alvarez's pr0se is poetic - the cuckoo still inspires a longing. While I don't get a chance read much, I read this book in one day, and wanted to re-read it as soon as I finished. A book for our times.
Oct 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Almost a year after the unexpected death of her husband Antonia wanders through life in her small Vermont town, alternately bewildered and angry. Her fog is lifted as she helps a very pregnant undocumented teenager with no place to stay. Antonia feels herself becoming alive through the good deeds she does in Sam’s name. Read the rest of the review on my blog: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress....
Dawna Richardson
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
AfterLife by Julia Alvarez is the story of Antonia, a Latina lady originally from the Dominican Republic. She has just lost her husband Sam, a popular, well regarded doctor in small town Vermont.
Sam always went out of his way to be kind to everyone. He also advocated for undocumented workers who are vital to the local farming economy but constantly in fear of deportation.

Antonia has also just retired after many
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Julia Alvarez's Afterlife is both an exquisite and a straight forward exploration of how we manage loss and the changing shape of family. Her central character, Antonia, is one of four sisters originally from the Dominican Republic, now living in the U.S. Antonia has spent her life as a college English professor and writer. On the day of her retirement, her beloved husband Sam is felled by a heart attack and never makes it to the restaurant where they plan to meet and celebrate. Sam was the ...more
Kim McGee
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Antonia is a recent widow- drifting on a turbulent sea and unsure of where a port is. Her sisters all look to her for guidance so when one of them, a particularly eccentric sister, goes missing they call Antonia. Others look to Antonia for guidance as well and she helps translate the migrant workers of her neighbor's farm. One of them needs more than a translation and Antonia soon finds herself helping a very pregnant Mexican teen who is lost in a country she is little prepared for. Caught ...more
Dec 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Thank you to Goodreads for this giveaway opportunity.
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
4.5 stars. Lovely, honest storytelling. I love Julia Alvarez.
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
I won an advanced copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. The style of the story is almost hypnotic and very tranquil. It reads very poetic which I suppose makes sense given the author is a poet. That being said, I had a hard time getting into the story because I felt it was bogged down with pages of over-the-top descriptions and emotions. I put this book down for about a week and had to work up the patience to pick it up again and finish it. I wanted to DNF it but decided to give it a fair ...more
Laura Hill
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Algonquin Books and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on April 7th, 2020.

Antonia Vega: recently and painfully widowed, recently retired Professor of English, of Dominican descent, the second of four sisters with wildly divergent but equally strong personalities. While trying to focus on her Afterlife — “No longer a teacher at the college, no longer volunteering and serving on a half dozen boards, no
Kathy Meulen Ellison
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american-dream
Julia Alvarez’ first adult novel in over a decade! Readers of How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents will appreciate this mature, reflective and very contemporary novel. Antonia, the second oldest of four sisters from the Dominican Republic, is grieving the sudden death of her much adored husband, Sam. His loss has left her questioning how much energy she wants to give the outside world. She has been taking “little sips” of sadness, in an attempt to not become overwhelmed.

A series of events
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
This book was received as an ARC from Algonquin Books in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

I did not know what to expect from this book but I can definitely tell you that I was thinking in a whole different direction than the book actually took. Antonia has one thing happen after another; Her husband dies, she retires from her job as a professor, her sister disappears and to top it all off, there is an undocumented pregnant
Jessica Villarreal
Jan 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Thanks to Algonquin for sending me an arc for review.

I was kind of disappointed with this book tbh. I liked where the book was going in the beginning as Antonia is confronted with the death of her husband and the pregnant teen. She needs to essentially do a lot of soul searching to figure out what kind of person she wants to be when she doesn't have her husband pushing her to be "good." However, I feel like it just verged into this whole story about the relationship with her sisters and some
Shelley Sherman
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Book Browse for providing an ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

Afterlife is a thoughtful ,nuanced book whose title conveys the great changes in its characters’ identities- only some associated with death and mourning and others with longing and an immigrant’s sense of being “other”. Antonia, the protagonist is in transition, She has recently lost her husband and retired from her career s an English Professor. She has always relied on words and literature to guide her and her
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
By Julia Alvarez

What a beautifully written book, touching on subjects that are so timely and relevant to my life: sisterhood, mental illness, death, immigration. I found myself highlighting passage after passage, hoping to remember the creative and insightful way Alvarez uses descriptive phrases. I felt drawn to the main character, Antonia, as she negotiated her “after life,” following her retirement and the death of her husband. Her “rules of sisterhood” felt so familiar,
Jan 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemp-fiction
Thanks you to Netgalley for this advanced cop for review.

As I approached the end of this book my mind already started wandering as to how I was going to review it. It was a quiet story full of rich themes. Important themes. And the one word that pops into my mind if I had to summarize my feelings about this book is appreciate. I appreciate this book. The same way I might appreciate what goes into a good meal even if it wasn't memorable. I felt like I was on the outside looking in on this story
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: february-2020
Julia Alvarez is one of my favorite authors. Her roots lie in the Domincan Republic and all of her books are in some way related.

Alvarez is to the English language as Mozart is to music. Deeply entrancing, thought inducing and her writing is like a kaleidoscope held to the light that changes the way you see the world.

This book includes a series of sisters, as many of her books do. One of the sisters, Antonio, is recently widowed and is living in the depth of grief. Her husband, Sam, was an
Jan 26, 2020 added it
The tragic beginning of the story immediately caught my attention and caused me to wonder how the main character Antonia would be able to adapt with the significant changes in her life. Loss of husband and a sibling, and trying to take care of a young undocumented pregnant teenager.
It just seemed like her life was nothing but challenges, with her trying to figure it out.
I appreciated the literary quotes she’d use to help provide clarity and help her get through her circumstances. The facetious
Karli Cude
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars: I really enjoyed the explorations of grief, redemption and purpose (and I'm cheering for a shoutout of The Highly Sensitive Person!), but the story felt unfinished to me - like the book ended just when Antonia was starting to regain a sense of self and stability. I was really hoping for more, especially with the way Antonia and Estela's relationship develops - felt like the book could have been a prequel to the larger story of Antonia's shifting relationship with Estela, Mario and the ...more
Anne Simpson
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked this little book. It’s about a woman from the Dominican Republic, recently widowed, and retired from teaching literature. Her method of grieving is to pull back from other people. She has 3 sisters and lives in rural Vermont, where there is a significant migrant population because the farmers need cheap labor. One of her sisters goes missing, then a migrant worker living at a farm next door needs help, and she finds herself pulled back into the world. Memories of her very kind and ...more
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review is from an ARC Goodreads giveaway. Such a poignant set of intertwined stories of grief, loss, relationships, sisters, mental illness, and undocumented people in the U.S. The author asks questions about responsibility, compassion and "which one comes first" when multiple people need your help, including yourself. Tough experiences and a sense of loss abound with every character ending with sadness and having to move on. The characters, stories, and questions will sit with me for days ...more
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Julia Álvarez was born in New York City. Her parents moved back to the Dominican Republic when Álvarez was 3 months old and she was raised there until she was 10, when the family moved back to NYC.

She is currently writer-in-residence at Middlebury College and the owner of a coffee farm named Alta Gracia, near Jarabacoa in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. The farm hosts a school to teach
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