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Anna Julia Stainsby on ugly truths, isolation, and The Afterpains

By Kobo • May 15, 2024Kobo in Conversation Podcast

"So many women, so many mothers, find themselves in isolation because they don't admit the uglier truths of their lives."

Nathan spoke with novelist Anna Julia Stainsby, author of The Afterpains. It’s the story of Rosy, whose grief over the loss of her infant daughter nearly twenty years ago has all but cut her off from her husband and teenage son. And it’s about Isaura, an immigrant from Honduras raising her daughter in Toronto and trying to keep her out of the grip of a centuries-long curse.

The Afterpains by Anna Julia Stainsby

Nearly twenty years after the death of her infant daughter, Rosy is still reeling from all that she's lost. Desperate to repair the connections to the family she does have—her husband, Desmond, and her eighteen-year-old son, Eddie—she's determined to lay her grief to rest by the twentieth anniversary of her daughter’s death.

At the same time, Isaura dreads what may be coming for her teenage daughter, Mivi. For centuries in her homeland of Honduras, the young women in Isaura's family have been subjected to a curse of teenage motherhood and the untimely death of the men they loved. But even after moving thousands of miles away from Pespire to Toronto, Isaura fears that her daughter will not be spared.

Soon, Rosy and Isaura, essentially strangers, become connected in a way neither of them could predict. As they try to look to their future and their children’s, they struggle to put the past behind them—all while Eddie and Mivi contend with the weight of their mothers’ pain and guilt.

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