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Afterlife : a novel – tekijä: Julia…
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Afterlife : a novel (vuoden 2020 painos)

– tekijä: Julia Alvarez

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
2721874,481 (3.97)17
"A literature professor tries to rediscover who she is after the sudden death of her husband, even as a series of family and political jolts force her to ask what we owe those in crisis in our families, biological or otherwise"--
Jäsen:spnvgriffin
Teoksen nimi:Afterlife : a novel
Kirjailijat:Julia Alvarez
Info:Chapel Hill : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2020.
Kokoelmat:Family room, Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):
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Afterlife (tekijä: Julia Alvarez)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 18) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Antonia, a middle sister of four, originally from the Dominican Republic, suffers the loss of her beloved husband Sam, who has a heart attack on the way to the dinner at which they were to celebrate her retirement from teaching at a Vermont college. It has been nearly a year, and Antonia is still grieving when the world intrudes: first in the form of her neighbor's undocumented worker, who is trying to bring his girlfriend up from Mexico, and then in the form of two of her sisters, who want to have an intervention for the fourth; they suspect that Izzy is bipolar.

Antonia is guided and grounded by lines of poems and stories that live in her head after so many years of teaching; she misses her students, but most of all, she misses Sam, and she muses on the afterlife - will he send her a sign? Or is his only afterlife the one he has in her head, when she asks herself what he would say or do in her situation?

See also: Life After Life by Jill McCorkle; Simon Van Booy

Quotes

Occasionally, she takes sips of sorrow, afraid the big wave might wash her away. (6)

Her mind is full of quotations, the slate never wiped clean, always the feeling that she is plagiarizing someone else's wisdom. (15)

A part of you dies with them, Antonia now knows, but wait awhile, and they return, bringing you back with them. So, is this all the afterlife will amount to? Sam-inspired deeds from the people who loved him? (27)

The landscape of grief is not very inviting. Visitors don't want to linger. (44)

...whether true or not anymore, by now their roles have self-perpetuating lives of their own. The mask stuck to the face; take it off at your own peril. (53)

...there is an aggression to fame, a violence to it, whereas anonymity is companionable; we're all in this together... (61)

It has always worked, a guardrail of the best that has been thought and said. (87)

She recalls friends consoling her...saying that the hole in her heart would heal with time. But Antonia suspects this is not quite what will happen. More likely she will learn to live with a hole in her heart. (97)

What...does it mean? An afterlife? All she has come up with is that the only way not to let the people she loves die forever is to embody what she loved about them. (115)

We all have to make peace with that longing, learn to live with the holes in our hearts. (146)

The default for most of the world is not happiness. Why then do we feel aggrieved when suffering strikes us? (171)

If I try to be like you, who will be like me? (Yiddish saying, 175)

How can her own sister not know immediately what she, Izzy, is thinking? It's a great effrontery to discover other people aren't you. (196)

Even in her worst crisis, Izzy has these moments when her heart opens and makes room for someone else. (197)

Antonia's never known Izzy to lie in order to deceive or mislead. It's more that she lies to make things more like they ought to be. (201)

..their grievances momentarily bigger than their hearts. (214)

...pessimism would be an ethical catastrophe. (re: climate change, 229)

...the lines of repair showing up as lines in poems and stories she has loved, evidence of the damage done. (re: kintsugi, 256) ( )
  JennyArch | May 11, 2021 |
The afterlife is usually a reference to what lies beyond death. In a twist, this novel is about life after loss. Four sisters, one recently widowed, one in the midst of a mental health crisis, struggle with the meaning of love, family, loss, life & death. Grief drives the plot, love holds the sisters together, and the reader is drawn in by lovely prose. ( )
  hemlokgang | Dec 16, 2020 |
A beautiful, haunting novel about grief and rebuilding a life. The writing is stellar and reminds me that Julia Alvarez is one of our finest authors. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
This is my own first experience with something from Julia Alvarez, but I know that she is a deeply respected author who has been well rewarded in the past. Her In the Time of the Butterflies, for instance, is said to have over one million copies in print now, and was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts as part of that group’s Big Read program. Also, in 2013, President Obama presented Alvarez with the National Medal of Arts because of her “extraordinary storytelling.” Granted, Alvarez is known primarily as an author of coming-of-age novels for younger readers, and this is her first novel for adults in some fourteen years, so the fact that I’ve been pretty much oblivious to her work up to now is not really all that much of a stretch.

Sadly enough, even though I came to my first Julia Alvarez story so late into her career, I have to say that Afterlife did not really worked for me.

Afterlife is the story of a “sisterhood” of four women somewhere in their sixth or seventh decades who immigrated as children to the United States from the Dominican Republic. The novel’s central character is Antonia Vega, who has just retired from the college at which she’s taught English (of all things) for four decades. Just when she’s having to make that adjustment, Antonia’s husband dies very suddenly, and leaves her all alone. Now she feels broken.

Soon, there will be plenty to help take Antonia’s mind off of her retirement and the loss of her husband. First, despite herself, she decides to help the young Mexican working illegally on the farm next door after he tells her that he is desperate to get his fiancé away from the coyotes who helped sneak her into the United States. Then, Izzy, the oldest of the four sisters, disappears while traveling to an out-of-state birthday party. After the sisterhood meets to decide how best to find their lost member, Antonia comes home only to find an obviously pregnant Mexican teen waiting for her. And that marks the official end of any semblance of the solitary life of a recently widowed retiree for which Antonia feared she was destined.

The premise of Afterlife is interesting enough, but because most of the characters remained stick-figures to me right to the end of the novel, I never felt moved by the plight of any of them. None of them, including Antonia herself, ever felt real enough to me to make me forget that I was reading just another version of a story I’ve already heard too many times for it ever to seem fresh again.

I do rather like Antonia’s idea about an afterlife, however, when she reaches the conclusion “that the only way not to let the people she loves die forever is to embody what she loved about them. Otherwise the world is depleted.” I was struck, too, by Antonia’s realization that she “has to live the only mortal life she is sure to have,” and how she uses an old Yiddish saying, “If I try to be like you, who will be like me?” to explain herself to herself.

Bottom Line: I never managed to get myself in sync with Afterlife, and I wonder if I would have even finished it if it had been much longer than it’s just under 300 pages. Perhaps it is because the novel is so politically correct and predictable that I found myself growing bored with it about half way through. ( )
  SamSattler | Nov 23, 2020 |
Afterlife, Julia Alvarez, author; Alma Cuervo, narrator
I looked forward to reading this book. This is an author I have admired in the past. The book is short and since this author makes every word count, I expected to enjoy the book. I am sorry to say that while it was interesting, it was disappointing. It read like a Progressive Primer.
Antonia lives in Vermont. She is an immigrant, originally from the Dominican Republic, but now she teaches English to university students. She loves words. She was going to meet her husband for dinner to celebrate her retirement, although she was not really celebrating the event. He was a beloved doctor who never showed up to meet her. On his way to the restaurant, he suffered from a medical event and died. Now a widow, she was adrift.
Her neighbor employed illegal Mexican workers. One day he offered to help her because he noted that the gutters on her house had been neglected and now needed cleaning. Her husband used to do that job. He sent Mario, one of his workers, to do the job for her. Mario asked for a favor. He wanted to call his girlfriend, Estella. Could he use her phone? She was in America with the coyotes who smuggled her in, but they refused to release her without more money. He also needed to get money for bus fare to bring her to him. Antonia becomes involved with her travel arrangements and then her care. She sympathizes with the plight of these illegal immigrants. So, apparently, does the local sheriff.
At the same time as Antonia faces the dilemma of the immigrants, her three sisters, all past middle age, call her to arrange to celebrate her birthday. This is the first birthday she is celebrating without her husband. Although not always on the same page, they are very close. They are worried about one sister, Izzy, who has behaved erratically all her life. They plan an intervention to try and get her medical help. However, when she fails to show up at their birthday celebration, they launch a missing person’s investigation and hire a private detective to try and locate her.
These two issues, immigration and mental illness, are the main threads guiding the novel. Because of Antonia’s profession as an English instructor, it is fitting that the title word inspires many variations as the novel’s themes and the characters are developed. The following issues are touched upon, some deeply and some superficially; racism, illegal immigration, feminism, mental illness, and universal healthcare are just a few of them. The title, “Afterlife”, as a double entendre can refer to life after death or life after a traumatic event of some kind or after a possible major change in one’s life. Each of the characters will deal with the definition of “afterlife” in their own particular way.
The message of the book is definitely filled with a progressive message, as are most books today in an industry that is decidedly left-wing. Sometimes the novel felt contrived with an interjection of a topic just because the author wanted to make her personal feelings known. She obviously had no love for the current administration. The use of profanity seemed out of place, as well, but many authors seem to feel it is necessary for the success of a modern novel. ( )
  thewanderingjew | Nov 11, 2020 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 18) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu

» Lisää muita tekijöitä (2 mahdollista)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Julia Alvarezensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetcalculated
Miceli, JayaKannen suunnittelijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
Kanoninen teoksen nimi
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Alkuteoksen nimi
Teoksen muut nimet
Alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi
Henkilöt/hahmot
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Tärkeät paikat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Tärkeät tapahtumat
Kirjaan liittyvät elokuvat
Palkinnot ja kunnianosoitukset
Tiedot venäjänkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Epigrafi (motto tai mietelause kirjan alussa)
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
We die with the dying;
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
--T. S. Eliot, The Four Quartets, "Little Gidding"
These fragments I have shored against my ruins...

...Shantih    shantih    shantih

---T.S. ELIOT, The Waste Land
Omistuskirjoitus
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Maury
Ensimmäiset sanat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
She is to meet him / a place they often choose for special occasions / to celebrate her retirement from the college / a favorite restaurant / and the new life awaiting her / a half-hour drive from their home / a mountain town / twenty if she speeds in the thirty mile zone /
Sitaatit
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
She recalls friends consoling her after Sam's service, saying that the hole in her heart would heal with time. But Antonia suspects this is not quite what will happen. More likely she will learn to live with a hole in her heart.
The best thing you can give the people who love you is to take care of yourself so you don't become a burden on them.
If I try to be like you, who will be like me?
Viimeiset sanat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Erotteluhuomautus
Julkaisutoimittajat
Kirjan kehujat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Alkuteoksen kieli
Canonical DDC/MDS

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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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"A literature professor tries to rediscover who she is after the sudden death of her husband, even as a series of family and political jolts force her to ask what we owe those in crisis in our families, biological or otherwise"--

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