Publication Date: January 29,
Genre: Womens Fiction
Publisher: Grand Central
Buy: Paperback | Audiobook
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
This is a small book but it asks a lot of questions and makes you think.
What is the right way to grieve? Why do so many people stop
talking about the person who died in front of their relatives etc...?
How do you honor and remember your loved one who has passed? Mixed in
with all of this is also the question of immigration and humanity,
mental illness and family.
On airplanes we are asked to put the mask on first before helping
others. This is hard for so many to understand but if we don't care for
ourselves first how can we care for those around us? Is it selfish to
think of ourselves first before others? When do we put ourselves second?
or do we?
Antonia is the 2nd sister of 4 daughters. She is deemed the
practical one, when her oldest sister goes missing on her way to see her
on her birthday the sisters all get together to find her. But
Antonia just lost her husband, she is still grieving and now has an
immigrant farmer who she has said she would help. Leaving seems
like a betrayal of the sisterhood but where does the sisterhood end and
her life begin? Can she have a life outside the sisters?
In a world where illegal immigration is a hot button issue and farmers
can't survive without immigrant workers who is right and who is wrong?
And if they are caught and have children they are separated sent to
different places, is this humane? Is this just? How can we protect those
who are just trying to survive without reducing them to something less
I don't know if I can give a concrete review of such a complex book but
it is beautifully written, and really makes you think. Where do we
put our loyalties? With ourselves, our siblings, our family or with
humanity? I don't believe there are any answers in this book but since
losing someone so recently it made me think about how we honor those
that have passed. For us we remember them by talking about them,
laughing at what they would have found amusing and bringing them back to
life through stories.
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