Isabel Allende was born in 1942 Lima, Peru. She grew up in Chile and now lives in California.
She is the author of novels The House of the Spirits, Of Love and Shadows, Eva Luna, The Infinite Plan, Paula, Daughter of Fortune, Portrait in Sepia, My Invented Country, Zorro, Ines of My Soul The Sum of Our Days and The Island Beneath the Sea.
Chilean novelist Isabel Allende was a journalist for many years. She began to write fiction in 1981. The result was the worldwide best-seller The House of the Spirits, which was followed by the equally successful Of Love and Shadows and The Stories of Eva Luna (Penguin 1991). Her first work of non-fiction, Paula, was published in 1995 and is a harrowing chronicle of the death of her daughter. Isabel Allende lives in California.
A woman makes love to an Indian dying of snakebite, miraculously restoring him to life and engendering a daughter named Eva``so she will love life.'' Thus begins Allende's latest novel, a magnificent successor to The House of the Spirits and Of Love & Shadows. Set in a Latin American country, it relates Eva's picaresque adventures. Brought up in the house of an eccentric doctor devoted to mummifying corpses, where her mother is a servant, Eva is left an orphan at six. Her black godmother, or madrina , leases her as a servant to a series of bizarre households of metaphorical significance, the last of which she leaves in grand style upon emptying a government Minister's chamberpot over his head. Interleaved with Eva's story is her account of a certain Rolf Carle, with whom her life will become linkedshe tells of his youth in Nazi Austria and young manhood as a filmmaker in South America. Through a series of improbable and felicitous coincidences, Eva is taken under the wing of such exotic benefactors as a street urchin who becomes a guerrilla leader, a colorful whorehouse Madam, a kindly Turkish merchant and a stunningly beautiful transsexual. Like the author, Eva is a prodigious fabulist, weaving extraordinary tales that change reality at will, making it, as she says, easier to bear. Although the fabulist's art is seen as dangerously escapist, Allende's wonderful novel, crammed with the strange and fantastical, the sensuous and the erotic, also speaks powerfully in the cause of freedom. 40,000 first printing; BOMC and QPBC alternate. (October)
Born in the back room of the mansion where her mother toils, and herself in service from an early age, the enchanting and ever-enchanted Eva Luna escapes oppression through story telling. Rolf Carle flees Germany for South America, and ultimately works as a documentary film maker, to escape childhood memories of burying the concentration camp dead. The two are brought together by guerrilla Huberto NaranjoEva's lover and a subject for Rolf's camerain this dense, opulent novel that serves as a metaphor for redemption through creative effort. In her earlier works ( The House of the Spirits, LJ 4/15/85; Of Love and Shadows, LJ 5/1/87), Allende's rich language occasionally shaded into overripeness; but here the prose is more tightly controlled, the characterizations defter. Her best work yet. BOMC alternate. Barbara Hoffert, ``Library Journal''