Synopses & Reviews
The classic and deeply moving memoir by Pablo Neruda, the most widely read political poet of our time and winner of the Nobel Prize
The south of Chile was a frontier wilderness when Pablo Neruda was born in 1904. In these memoirs he retraces his bohemian student years in Santiago; his sojourns as Chilean consul in Burma, Ceylon, and Java, in Spain during the civil war, and in Mexico; and his service as a Chilean senator. Neruda, a Communist, was driven from his senate seat in 1948, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. After a year in hiding, he escaped on horseback over the Andes and then to Europe; his travels took him to Russia, Eastern Europe, and China before he was finally able to return home in 1952. The final section of the memoirs was written after the coup in 1972 that overthrew Neruda's friend Salvador Allende.
Many of the century's most important literary and artistic figures were Neruda's friends, and figure in his memoirs--Garcia Lorca, Aragon, Picasso, and Rivera, among them--and also such political leaders as Gandhi, Nehru, Mao, Castro, and Che Guevara. In his uniquely expressive prose, Neruda not only explains his views on poetry and describes the circumstances that inspired many of his poems, but he creates a revealing record of his life as a poet, a patriot, and one of the twentieth century's true men of conscience.
"A sort of distilled essence of [Neruda] in both substance and form . . . the starting point for all future biographers." --Robert Maurer, Saturday Review
"Some of the descriptions of places--India, China, Mexico especially--are brilliant, but it is Chile that emerges most clearly with lights and shadows."
--Selden Rodman, National Review
About the Author
(1904-73), one of the renowned poets of the twentieth century, was born in Parral, Chile. He shared the World Peace Prize with Paul Robeson and Pablo Picasso in 1950, and received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971.