Use these discussion questions to guide your next meeting.

ABOUT THE BOOK

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 words.
Afterlife is a compact, nimble, and sharply droll novel. Set in this political moment of tribalism and distrust, it 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 stay true to those glorious souls we have lost?

 

THE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Antonia and her sisters are close and clearly love one another; at the same time, like many siblings, they argue, put each other in boxes, and are not always supportive. How are the sisters similar and how are they different? Which parts of their relationships felt familiar to you, if you have siblings?


Antonia notes that in many ways, her husband, Sam, remains alive in her head: she often wonders what he would say or do, and she lets that guide her own actions. Do you think Antonia would have made different decisions about Mario, Estela, and Izzy if Sam had still been alive?


How do you feel about the actions Antonia ultimately takes to help Mario and Estela? Does their story change your thinking about immigration in America? If so, how?


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Afterlife

A Most-Anticipated Book of the Year: O, The Oprah Magazine The New York Times * The Washington Post *Vogue Bustle BuzzFeed * Ms. Magazine *The Millions The Huffington Post * PopSugar * The LilyGoodreads Library Journal * LitHub Electric Literature
The first adult novel in almost fifteen years by the internationally bestselling author of In the Time of the Butterfliesand How the García Girls Lost Their Accents
“A stunning work of art that reminds readers Alvarez is, and always has been, in a class of her own.” —Elizabeth Acevedo, National Book Award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller The Poet X