When Alice and Joseph meet, they fall quickly into a tentative but sincere relationship. She is a nurse, he a house painter, and while both are still young and hopeful about this new love, each of them carries an emotional burden. Alice's father has been a yawning absence all her life, and just recently her beloved grandmother—who helped to raise her-passed away. For his part, Joseph refuses to speak about his experiences as a soldier in Northern Ireland, and Alice suspects that his general reticence hides an even more deeply troubled past. In this powerful story of guilt and privacy, Seiffert asks: To love someone, must you know everything about them?
“Utterly authentic. . . . Afterwards [achieves] a coiling suspense driven more by psychology than by circumstance.” —The New York Times Book Review“Understated and offering no easy answers to the dilemmas it raises, Afterwards delves into how violence and trauma affect our ability to love. If relevance is what you look for in fiction, you need look no further. . . . Thought-provoking.” —Los Angeles Times “Like Pat Barker before her, Seiffert is examining the similar ways people protect themselves from heartbreak and their own bad deeds. It's not that the personal is political, but in Seiffert's eyes the historical is personal, too.” —Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel “Seiffert's superb new novel is her most integrated and accomplished work yet.”—Financial Times