The life story of Isabel Allende – one of the world's favourite writers – is as exotic, passionate and inspiring as one of her novels.
'The biggest straitjacket is all the prejudices that we carry around, and all the fears. But what if we just surrender to the fear? There are things greater than fear. The great, wonderful quality of human beings is that we can overcome even absolute terror, and we do.'
Just three when her parents divorced, Isabel Allende was raised in her grandparents' home in Chile. She left school at 16; and married Miguel Frías at 19. She then juggled her work as a journalist, editor, advice columnist and television interviewer with looking after her two children.
But when her cousin the Chilean president Salvador Allende was assassinated in 1973 in Pinochet's right-wing military coup, her life changed profoundly. It was too dangerous to stay in Chile; and she, her husband, and their two children fled to Venezuela. During her impoverished exile, she started writing The House of the Spirits. Based on her memories of her family and the political upheaval in her native country, it became an international bestseller and everything changed again…
Paula, Allende's book written to her dying daughter detailing the developments of her emotional life has sold 150,000 in B format paperback alone. My Invented Country will tie these experiences into a larger political and geographical framework, making her life at once exotic and comprehensible, its events at once historical and immediate.
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"Nostalgia is my vice," admits Isabel Allende in My Invented Country. A question about nostalgia propels an exploration of her past, including the complicated history and politics of Chile, where she spent the better part of her childhood. Despite her strong connection with Chile, Allende says she has been an outsider nearly all her life. Her stepfather was a diplomat, so her family moved quite frequently. However, in her travel diary Allende compares everything to Chile, her "one eternal reference" point.
"From saying goodbye so often my roots have dried up," she notes. She successfully reclaims them, however, through two channels. Allende relays anecdotes about what she calls her untraditional family--whom she has based some of her novels upon, including The House of the Spirits. Like a few of her novels, though, her own story is lost in heavy policy analysis. Interspersed among her ancestors' tales is an all-too-exhaustive report of Chile: the terrain, its people, customs and language, its heroes and villains and its government.
Allende fled Chile after the military coup on September 11, 1973. Twenty-eight years later and now living in the United States, she is haunted by this date when terrorists attack New York City and Washington, DC. Allende admits that the place she is homesick for may have never existed. In spite of that, Allende asserts that she can live and write anywhere: "I don't belong to one land, but to several, or perhaps only to the ambit of the fiction I write." The irony is that she steadfastly has "one foot in Chile and another here". --C.J. Carrillo, Amazon.comReview:
‘Allende’s writing is so vivid we smell the countryside, hear the sounds, see the bright birds, the scorched earth, smell and even taste the soft fruit.’ The Times
‘Allende has a gift for conversational writing and a sharp sense of humour… I very much enjoyed this visit to the other Chile, that half-remembered country of her imagination" New Statesman
‘Allende is incapable of telling a bad story. She writes of her own experience with a kind of wild candour. Her heroically sustained narrative, her lovingly prepared plots and surprise inventions explode in an exaltation.’ Independent
‘Lucid, original and expounded with an unquestionable sense of humor…part essay and part autobiography… When Allende poses sweeping general truths, she leaves room for argument… But the book gets my undivided attention when it expounds on the relationship of the author to that country of hers, invented, imaginary, fictional, to the story of her family, which is itself invented memory, and to her vocation as a narrator… It will provoke curiosity. And that is where everything begins.’ LA TIMES
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Book Description Flamingo, London, 2003. HARDCOVER. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. Octavo size (8vo) in brown faux cloth, gilt lettering to spine. 199pp . . . . . [ CONDITION : Pages a little tanned else a NEW unread copy in NEW unclipped Dust Jacket ] . . . . . . . . . . . . To see more of our Literary monographs, biographies etc type DbbLBIOG in the Keywords search box. Bookseller Inventory # TE19924
Book Description Flamingo, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0007163096