The Pequod Review:
Julia Alvarez was born in New York but is of Dominican descent, and her novels often involve Dominican-American protagonists (usually women) navigating the complexities of American culture. Afterlife, her sixth novel, centers on Antonia Vega, a retired literature professor at a small Vermont college whose life takes a series of sharp turns after the unexpected death of her husband. Alvarez writes simple but engaging characters (especially Antonia’s three sisters), and the chestnuts of wisdom sprinkled throughout the text (“Antonia lifts a hand casually in greeting, a performed rather than an innocent gesture. One may smile, and smile, and be a villain.”) have a certain charm.