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Portrait in sepia [sound recording] : [a novel]
Isabel Allende
Adult Fiction ALLENDE

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Isabel Allende was born in 1942 in Lima, Peru, the daughter of a Chilean diplomat. When her parents separated, young Isabel moved with her mother to Chile, where she spent the rest of her childhood. She married at the age of 19 and had two children, Paula and Nicolas. Her uncle was Salvador Allende, the president of Chile. When he was overthrown in the coup of 1973, she fled Chile, moving to Caracas, Venezuela. While living in Venezuela, Allende began writing her novels, many of them exploring the close family bonds between women. Her first novel, The House of the Spirits, has been translated into 27 languages, and was later made into a film. She then wrote Of Love and Shadows, Eva Luna, and The Stories of Eva Luna, all set in Latin America. The Infinite Plan was her first novel to take place in the United States. In Paula, Allende wrote her memoirs in connection with her daughter's illness and death. She delved into the erotic connections between food and love in Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses. In addition to writing books, Allende has worked as a TV interviewer, magazine writer, school administrator, and a secretary at a U.N. office in Chile. She received the 1996 Harold Washington Literacy Award. She lives in California. Her title Maya's Notebook made The New York Times Best Seller List in 2013. (Bowker Author Biography) As niece of fallen Chilean president Salvador Allende, Isabel Allende attracted immediate interest when she appeared on the U.S. literary scene in the mid-1980s. On its own merits, though, The House of the Spirits (1982; English translation 1985) is a superb novel. Four generations of Chilean women-female descendants of an oligarchic family-provide a unifying thread and feminine consciousness for a fictional history of a Latin American society. Allende is often compared to Colombia's Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whose One Hundred Years of Solitude is something of a Marxist fictional history of Latin America. Allende skillfully constructs a novel in which one generation of women pass on to the next a legacy of survival strategies and profound human understanding within oppressive social structures. Allende's combination of the personal and the political in the person of the youngest women unmistakably evokes Allende's socialist government, the subsequent military overthrow and neofascist dictatorship, and resistance to tyranny. Allende's fiction after The House of the Spirits, both novels and short stories, is weaker but remains commercially successful in English translation. Some of its elements reinforce U.S. myths about Latin America, especially the questionable concept of a subaltern feminist solidarity. This matriarchy, captured in the person of Eva Luna, who gives her name to one novel and a collection of short stories, threatens to usurp the legendary patriarchy. Nevertheless, along with Argentina's Luisa Valenzuela, Allende remains the most prominent Latin American woman writer on the U.S. literary scene, and the critical response to her writing has indeed been impressive. Allende, who lives a good part of the time in the United States, is much in demand as a speaker. (Bowker Author Biography)

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main characters Aurora del Valle
Female
Age: 30
Chilean
Privileged; from an affluent family; returns to Chile to revisit her past; women's rights activist.



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