The celebrated author of In the Time of the Butterflies and How the García Girls Lost Their Accents is back with her first adult novel in almost fifteen years—and it’s a tour de force. Author Julia Alvarez will join Gramercy’s popular book club discussion of her acclaimed novel, Afterlife, which will be facilitated by Nancy Gilson, former Arts Editor for The Columbus Dispatch and a frequent contributor to the paper.
Registration for this LIVE! book club discussion is on Eventbrite, where you will receive login information and full instructions. A general admission ticket to access the event is $5; A ticket that includes a copy of Afterlife waives the general admission fee and is $30. The book is available at Gramercy Books.
For Antonia Vega, the immigrant writer at the center of Afterlife, the rug has been pulled out from under her. She has just retired from the college where she taught English when her husband suddenly dies. Fiercely intelligent, sharply droll, and disinclined to engage, Antonia has always sought direction in the literature she has loved—lines from her favorite authors play in her head like a soundtrack. But when, on top of everything else, her bighearted but unstable sister disappears and a pregnant, undocumented migrant teenager appears on Antonia’s doorstep, she finds that the world demands more of her than words.
Afterlife is a compact, nimble novel set in this political moment of tribalism and distrust, a novel that asks: What do we owe those in crisis in our families, including, maybe especially, members of our human family? How do we live in a broken world without losing faith in one another or ourselves? And how do we provide an afterlife for those glorious souls we have lost—so we stay true to everything they represent?
Julia Alvarez left the Dominican Republic for the United States in 1960 at the age of ten. She is the author of six novels, three books of nonfiction, three collections of poetry, and eleven books for children and young adults. Alvarez has taught and mentored writers in schools and communities across America, most recently as a writer-in-residence at Middlebury College, until her retirement in 2016. She is a co-founder and convener of Border of Lights, a collective of activists committed to promoting peace and solidarity between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. In 2009, In the Time of the Butterflies was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for its national Big Read program. Her website is juliaalvarez.com.
“Afterlife is a succinct and powerful novel about human connection. Alvarez is a writer in full command of her form, reminding the world of her vast and venerable talent.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review