When Isabel Allende's daughter, Paula, became gravely ill and fell into a coma, the author began to write the story of her family for her unconscious child. In the telling, bizarre ancestors appear before our eyes; we hear both delightful and bitter childhood memories, amazing anecdotes of youthful years, and the most intimate secrets passed along in whispers. With Paula, Allende has written a powerful autobiography whose straightforward acceptance of the magical and spiritual worlds will remind readers of her first book, The House of the Spirits.
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"Listen, Paula. I am going to tell you a story so that when you wake up you will not feel so lost." So says Chilean writer Isabel Allende (The House of the Spirits) in the opening lines of the luminous, heart-rending memoir she wrote while her 28-year-old daughter Paula lay in a coma. In its pages, she ushers an assortment of outrageous relatives into the light: her stepfather, an amiable liar and tireless debater; grandmother Meme, blessed with second sight; and delinquent uncles who exultantly torment Allende and her brothers. Irony and marvelous flights of fantasy mix with the icy reality of Paula's deathly illness as Allende sketches childhood scenes in Chile and Lebanon; her uncle Salvatore Allende's reign and ruin as Chilean president; her struggles to shake off or find love; and her metamorphosis into a writer.From the Publisher:
One of the most popular and acclaimed Latin American authors of our century presents this unforgettable memoir, an exquisitely rendered, deeply moving mother-daughter story that doubles as her autobiography.
Paula is a soul-baring memoir one reads without drawing a breath, like a novel of suspense. The point of departure for these moving pages is a tragic personal experience. In December 1991, Isabel Allende's daughter, Paula, became gravely ill and shortly thereafter fell into a coma. During hours in the hospital, the author began to write the story of her family for her unconscious daughter. In the telling, bizarre ancestors appear before our eyes, and we hear both delightful and bitter childhood memories, amazing anecdotes of youthful years, the most intimate secrets passed along in whispers. Chile, Allende's native land, comes alive as well, with the turbulent history of the military coup of 1973, the following dictatorship and her family's years of exile.
As an exorcism of death, in these pages Isabel Allende explores the past and questions the gods. The result is a magical book that carries the reader from tears to laughter, from terror to sensuality and wisdom. Paula is a prodigious evocation and a hymn to life, written from the heart of the courageous and estimable woman who created The House of the Spirits.
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