Arts & Leisure

Book review: Afterlife — by Julia Alvarez

(Algonquin Books)
At long last, the wait is over because readers who loved “In the Time of the Butterflies” and “How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents” finally have a new novel by Middlebury’s own Julia Alvarez. Antonia Vega is a retired professor of literature living in a small Vermont college town, a sister to a gaggle of women, and newly widowed. She is drawn into a situation involving an undocumented, pregnant, young woman and the farm workers next door. It is Antonia’s voice that carries the novel, unspooling a ceaseless interior monologue shot through with poem fragments, literary references and most enjoyably, gentle, loving adages on how to live a life. In this contemplative, emotional novel, Alvarez explores immigration, mortality and spirituality; all with passion, empathy and insight. She hones in on much that worries us in this world of ours; familial obligations, the dying planet, undocumented workers, life and death. A devastating turn of events near the close of the book brings the issues Antonia is struggling with into sharper relief as she struggles to do the right thing; taking care of herself and her family and also doing her part to care for the other people who have come into her life. 
— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.
 

7 more Hispanic & Latino fiction books
Dominicana, by Angie Cruz
Lost Children Archive, by Valeria Luiselli
The Lost Book of Adana Moreau, by Michael Zapata
Hurricane Season, by Fernanda Melchor
Fiebre Tropical, by Juli Delgado Lopera
All Fires the Fire, by Julio Cortázar
Sabrina & Corina, by Kali Fajardo-Anstine 

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