Meet Nina Schuyler, Author of Afterword

Bay Area author Nina Schuyler will join San Mateo County Libraries on Tuesday, January 23, at 6:30 PM! Get curious about how technological innovations and human complexity collide in her newest novel, Afterword.

Free, signed giveaway copies of Afterword will be available at your nearest San Mateo County Libraries location starting Monday, January 8, on a first come, first served basis while supplies last. Be sure to pick one up or borrow a copy from our collection!

An Insightful Exploration of Human Connection and the Ethics of AI

“For Schuyler, there are no easy answers when it comes to morality or what it means to be human. In part, this might be because at its core, Afterword is a love story. Are there any lengths that are too far to go in the name of love?” —Write or Die, opens a new window

A woman walks into her study and greets her husband. A perfectly banal scene—except that Virginia’s husband speaks from the computer, through the AI she has designed.

The human Haru is long dead, and Virginia herself is now 75. She’s spent her lifetime programming and perfecting Haru, feeding him with music and memories, building a replica of the man she lost and loved.

Soon, however, Virginia lends her innovative AI algorithm to a tech company, unaware that they will deploy it not to ease grief but to spy on Chinese citizens. And in the process of rebuilding Haru, Virginia is forced to confront the limits of how well we can ever know another person.

Afterword explores how each of us is built of complex memories, contradictory motivations and opaque desires. How fully can we replicate the construction of our loved ones when perhaps we hardly grasp the construction of ourselves?

Get to Know Nina Schuyler

“I hope I achieved what Marilynne Robinson says fiction can do: give the ‘illusion of ghostly proximity to other human souls...’ Rather than reducing motives, says my writer friend Kate Brady, you complicate them to avoid creating flat characters who neither convince nor trouble the reader.” —ZYZZYVA Interview, opens a new window

Nina Schuyler’s, opens a new window novel, Afterword, was published in May 2023 by Clash Books and was named a top book by Alta Journal and Bay City News.

Her short story collection, In This Ravishing World, opens a new window, won the W.S. Porter Prize for Short Story Collections and The Prism Prize for Climate Literature and will be published by Regal House Publishing in July 2024. Her novel, The Translator, was a finalist for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and the winner of the Next Generation Indie Book Award for General Fiction. Her novel, The Painting, was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award. Her nonfiction book, How to Write Stunning Sentences, is a bestseller. Her short stories have been published by Zyzzyva, Fugue, Your Impossible Voice, Santa Clara Review, Nashville Review and elsewhere. She has a new nonfiction book, Stunning Sentences: Creative Writing Journal.

She teaches creative writing for Stanford Continuing Studies, The Writing Salon and the University of San Francisco. Nina lives in California.

What Critics and Readers Have to Say

“AFTERWORD offers up every literary treat imaginable: a wildly inventive plot that keeps you turning pages, characters who steal your heart, big ideas that engage your mind and gorgeous prose that delights your senses. I’m a big fan of Nina Schuyler and this is her best book yet!” —Ellen Sussman, New York Times bestselling author

“AFTERWORD is complex and elegant…. This is a love story and a horror story, a mystery and a morality play. But above all, it is just so... beautiful. The whole book feels gently haunted. Nina Schuyler’s blend of literary intricacy and speculative fiction makes this read perfect for fans of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel or The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki.” —bookchew

“Riveting... a prescient yet eloquent third novel that’s as topical as tomorrow’s headlines. The literary page-turner prophetically taps into ethical and moral quandaries surging to the fore over the deployment and potential abuse of artificial intelligence.” —Mercury News , opens a new window

“Nina’s prose is near perfect, the story profound and compelling, raising the timely question: will A.I. actually force us to be more in touch with our humanity? Nina Schuyler’s writing is as brilliant as her protagonist.” —Page One Podcast, opens a new window