• Rachel Penate

The Afterlife by Julia Alvarez


⁣SUMMARY: "As Antonia is grappling with the loss of her husband, her bighearted but unstable sister disappears, and an undocumented teenager in need of help shows up 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 words." (Adapted from Goodreads)


REVIEW: I'm so grateful to Libro.fm for opening my eyes to books I wouldn't normally pick up. At a short 6.5 hours, this audiobook was really well narrated and enjoyable to listen to. As a story, The Afterlife was beautifully introspective. Alvarez did a tremendous job of weaving in relevant and thought-provoking commentary concerning race and immigration, mental health, and dealing with loss all the while maintaining the integrity of the story.

What kept this book from 4 or 5 stars was the plot. While I think Alvarez achieved so much in this short novel, the attempt at packing in so many major issues into one small narrative, in the end, acted more as a detriment to the story than an enhancing quality of the narrative.

Overall, a story worthy of reading if character-driven novels are your thing. Antonia and those close to her felt real, and their hardships, relatable.

Thank you Libro.fm and Algonquin books for this free advance listener copy. I'm so grateful.

The Afterlife is out now!

SENSITIVITY WARNINGS: loss of a spouse & sibling, fear from being an undocumented immigrant, unexpected pregnancy, & mental illness.

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