Synopses & Reviews
Isabel Allende's first memory of Chile is of a house she never knew. The "large old house" on the Calle Cueto, where her mother was born and which her grandfather evoked so frequently that Isabel felt as if she had lived there, became the protagonist of her first novel, The House of the Spirits
. It appears again at the beginning of Allende's playful, seductively compelling memoir My Invented Country
, and leads us into this gifted writer's world.
Here are the almost mythic figures of a Chilean family -- grandparents and great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends -- with whom readers of Allende's fiction will feel immediately at home. And here, too, is an unforgettable portrait of a charming, idiosyncratic Chilean people with a violent history and an indomitable spirit. Although she claims to have been an outsider in her native land -- "I never fit in anywhere, not into my family, my social class, or the religion fate bestowed on me" -- Isabel Allende carries with her even today the mark of the politics, myth, and magic of her homeland. In My Invented County, she explores the role of memory and nostalgia in shaping her life, her books, and that most intimate connection to her place of origin.
Two life-altering events inflect the peripatetic narration of this book: The military coup and violent death of her uncle, Salvador Allende Gossens, on September 11, 1973, sent her into exile and transformed her into a writer. The terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, on her newly adopted homeland, the United States, brought forth from Allende an overdue acknowledgment that she had indeed left home. My Invented Country, whose structure mimics the workings of memory itself, ranges back and forth across that distance accrued between the author's past and present lives. It speaks compellingly to immigrants, and to all of us, who try to retain a coherent inner life in a world full of contradictions.
"Marvelous....Allendes love for Chile is so evident and eloquent that many readers will consider packing their bags and booking the next flight to Santiago." BookPage
"Dazzling as a kaleidoscope: an artful tumbling and knocking that throws light and reveals strange depths." Kirkus Reviews
"Poignant....Allendes keen intelligence and lively prose keep readers wishing for more." San Diego Union-Tribune
"Charming and entertaining." New York Times Book Review
"At every bend [Allende] delights us with unexpected humor." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Riveting in its frankness and compassion...[Allendes] account of why and how she became a writer is profoundly moving." Booklist
"Isabel Allende [is] surely one of the most graceful and yet haunting writers alive." St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"A stunningly intimate memoir....Allende is that rare writer whose understanding of story matches her mastery of language." Entertainment Weekly
"Intriguing elements of the authors captivating history." Publishers Weekly
Allende evokes the magnificent landscapes of her country, a charming, idiosyncratic Chilean people with a violent history and indomitable spirit, and the politics, religion, myth, and magic of her homeland that she carries with her even today.
Hailed by Salman Rushdie as "one of the most important voices coming out of Latin America," the best-selling author and human rights activist Ariel Dorfman delivers a memoir excavating for the first time his profound and provocative journey as an exile. In September 1973, the military took power in Chile, and Ariel Dorfman, allied to deposed president Salvadore Allende, was forced to flee for his life.Feeding on Dreamsis the story of the transformative decades of exile that followed. Dorfman portrays, through visceral scenes and powerful intellect, the personal and political maelstroms underlying his migrations from Buenos Aires, on the run from Pinochets death squads, to safe houses in Paris and Amsterdam, and eventually to America, his childhood home. And then, seventeen years after he was forced to leave, there is a yearned-for return to Chile, with an unimaginable outcome. The toll on Dorfmans wife and two sons, the "earthquake of language" that is bilingualism, and his eventual questioning of his allegiance to past and partyall these crucibles of a life in exile are revealed with wry and startling honesty. Feeding on Dreamsis a passionate reminder that "we are all exiles," that we are all "threatened with annihilation if we do not find and celebrate the refuge of common humanity," as Dorfman did during his "decades of loss and resurrection."
About the Author
Isabel Allende is the bestselling author of eleven works of fiction, four memoirs, and three young- adult novels, which have been translated into more than twenty-seven languages with over 57 million copies sold. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She received the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award in 2012. Born in Peru and raised in Chile, she lives in California.
Nacida en Perú y criada en Chile, Isabel Allende es la autora de nueve novelas incluyendo más recientemente Zorro, Retrato en Sepia, Hija de la Fortuna e Inés del Alma Mía. También ha escrito cuentos cortos, tres libros autobiográficos incluyendo Mi País Inventado y Paula, y una trilogía de libros para jóvenes. Sus libros han sido traducidos a más de 27 idiomas y son bestsellers a través del mundo entero. En 2004, fue nombrada a la Academia de Artes y Letras de los Estados Unidos. Vive en California.