De amor y de sombra books –

my most favourite isabel allende novel i would learn another language just for the pleasure of reading her in her native tongue if the translation is so beautiful i can only imagine how heartbreaking it must be in spanish i have to explain that i review the books i have read not on their objective merit but on the ways in which they speak to me of love and shadows weaves a love story into the middle of a frightening political situation that is disturbingly real precisely because it has been and still is a reality for nations all over the globe and most notoriously in latin america yes, the love irene and francisco have for each other is incredible, but the intense beauty of the novel shines through in so many of the characters, differing in their motives perhaps but so real in their intricacies allende s gift is capturing the complexity of such political and social situations without reducing them to simple dichotomies of good vs evil her writing is intensely beautiful and poetic, stirring the imagination as her plot lines move the soul. Nothing I wasn t expecting I must confess, though, it annoyed me the similarity to The House of Spirits Isabel Allende s style is predictible, she tries to hook you, to pull you in the story I don t know about others, but she just couldn t do it with me I was permanently noticing her style, habit of describing everything to the little detail annoying and useless, if you ask me , reducing to characters to one, two presentations that say no thing it just puts them in category bleah then, she lets them grow, and they grow teribly in this one D Of course the main characters are good looking, hot and have that attractive South American beauty of course they are interested in politics and fight for freedom and democracy with the cost of their lives rrrright I think Allende has a thing for politics in the country again, the name isn t mentioned better this way..Oh, and the action is so fast, things happen, minor habits are all described, usual picture in picture techinque blahblah, that pisses me off I don t think I want to read anything else written by her. I m gonna explore what I ve never done before all the works of a single author Can t think of another writer I d rather journey with. This is Isabel Allende s second novel Her first, The House of Spirits, is deeply immerse in the Magic Realism style of the masters of the genre This one, also Magic Realism, has a urban tone, setting a style that would become prevalent later, when English speaking writers took over the genre.The book at its core is a love story, one plagued by shadows The shadows of the totalitarian military regimen imposed in Chile by Augusto Pinochet.Many fans of Allende s first book, find this one lacking in magic I don t agree with them It s simply a different kind of magic The magic in this book is of a modern type, without so much lace and horses, but with a lot of motorcycles and journalists.There s a heavy political tint in this book, an unfiltered view of what Chile was during the Dictadura, with clean, fenced rich neighborhoods, surrounded by misery, and nothing in between As readers we travel from one of those fancy houses to a small shack in the country where a family s younger daughter has been kidnapped, raped and buried by soldiers Everyone knows what happened, but no one will do anything, except for Irene Beltran and Francisco Leal, a young journalist daughter of a Chilean Socialite and a young, idealist photographer son of Spanish immigrants.They will discover a mass clandestine grave, and expose Pinochet to the world as if the world was not just pretending not to see In the process they will fall in love and become exiles, escaping in the shadows, trying to reach the safety of a neutral country, one that would not simply return them to the hands of the Chilean military.In my opinion this book is as much of a master piece as The House of Spirits, but it s also much harder to read for the violence it contains, while not explicit, it s just too real I love Allende s styles full of regionalisms and landscape, full of hope, despite the fact that as the niece of Salvador Allende, the president assassinated by Pinochet, she has lived her life in Exile, just as Irene and Francisco. Wonderfully written novel The language is so lyrical that you enjoy it like a ballad It s so real and touching that you see triumph, ecstasy, defeat and despair of those people in a land under a despotic regime and political hypocrisy The book indeed draws a colorful picture so vivid and natural that it makes you think from a different perspective Development can not be at the cost of natural justice to people of the land, oppression and suppressed torments breeds violence in the long run Wherever natural justice and freedom are hindered or denied in the name of development , there you see chaos in the end It s a beautiful love story that leaves you scars and pain in your heart long after you ve finished reading However I felt it strange and it left me surprised at times that Ms Allende slipped to a pulp fiction style on a few pages But she has displayed control throughout, the mastery of a talented craftsman who carries clarity of perception.She deserves to be recognized better.Happy reading This was a re read I read it several years ago, my pre goodreads days and shortly after reading my favorite Allende book, The House of Spirits I love most of her books and this was one was no exception She truly is a superb storyteller When I first read it, I know that I would have given it 5 stars, but since this was a re read, I didn t think it was as compelling as before.One of my favorite quotes was advice for expatriates and pretty much anyone really All you will have is the present Waste no energy crying over yesterday or dreaming of tomorrow Nostalgia is fatiguing and destructive, it is the vice of the expatriate You must put down roots as if they were forever, you must have a sense of permanence. Esta Obra Encierra Los Temas Sobre Los Que Giran El Amor Y El Odio Sobre Estos Dos Sentimientos Se Desarrollan Los Acontecimientos De La Novela Como En Dos Caminos Probables Que Pelean Por Sobreponerse Uno Al Otro Finalmente Vence El Amor Con La Fe Puesta En La Libertad Y En La Dignidad Humana El Inicio De Un Amor, El Sentimiento Patri Tico Aun En El Exilio La Novela Esta Narrada En Tercera Persona Omnisciente El Narrador Omnisciente Por Momentos Se Vuelve Objetivo En La Selecci N De Los Acontecimientos Narrados Toma Partida Por Los Protagonistas Y Acompa A Los Hechos De Manera Comprometida Con Esa Realidad Social De Injusticia Que Vive El Pueblo Y Se Quiere Denunciar En Algunas Partes Hay Di Logos, O Son Los Personajes Quienes Cuentan Historias Pero Por Lo General Es La Narradora Quien Lo Hace As the title suggests, this is a book about love Not just romantic love, but love in all its shapes and forms, love between family members, parents and children, friends and strangers Even people who are strangers to each other, during the course of this novel prove their capability for love by acts of great personal courage That kind of personal initiative is always very touching to read about and this novel handled that nicely Human beings coming together to help one another, often at great peril for themselves and their families One of those human beings is Irene, a young woman engaged to a handsome military officer She grows up in an upper class family, protected from poverty but not from personal tragedies Having to witness her parent s violent arguments in childhood made her somewhat withdrawn and dreamy Despite being very perceptive at times especially when on duty as a journalist , Irene seems to prefer to live in a world of her own As the novel unfolds, Irene learns about the place she lives in, as she makes the discovery of widespread suffering of the majority of people in her land, revealing traces of violence and injustice Many families have valid reasons for crying rivers of tears and our Isabel together with her photographer soon to be love interest Francesco follow these rivers that seem to lead to a lake of grief I love the way Allende potrays her characters For example, Irene s character development is very believable It is not that she starts of as a superficial girl, but the sensitivity that has lead her toward wanting to know , is often not enough and she is forced to develop a new level of personal courage and determination Further, she is not portrayed as all mighty, she often has to and does rely on help of others, for example Francesco, who is by personal experience, used to the desperate but subtle game of fighting the regime you happen to live in The members of Francesco s family are also a very important part of this novel that often travels back in time to give us insight into the soul of its residents Trust to Allende to create amazing family portraits.Nevertheless, all of this mentioning of love doesn t mean that this novel is only about emotions On the contrary, I would say it is a very realistic representation of what life in a controlled state is like I would even go so far as to compare it with 1984 when it comes to the depths of the psychological study of the oppressed and the oppressor The seriousness of its appeal against government control is reinforced by those aspects of the novel that are most brutal but probably most honest in portraying the effects of physical and pyschological violence If we are going to be honest with ourselves, we will have to admit that what happens in this novel is not a thing of a past, but sadly it is still a very relevant story for our time As hard as it was to read at times because of the painful descriptions of tragic human destinies and hopeless struggles against a military regime , this novel still felt like a ray of light There are graphic scenes in this novel They weren t overwhelming to read and IMPO this novel still managed to send a message of love and hope but if you can t take reading about murders, torture, rape and dead bodies, this may not the novel for you In addition, there is a parallel love story in this novel that resembles the one in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte Allende is much explicit in these descriptions of erotical desires at young age than Bronte was, so that is another element that might bother some people, even if brother and sister in question aren t real siblings and are aware of that when they daydream about each other Personally, I don t have anything negative to say about the novel, I would just have liked to know a bit about some characters that disappeared too suddenly for my liking Another 5o or 100 pages would have made me perfectly happy Not that the novel left any loose ends, it just left me with wanting.The House of Sprits and Daughter of Fortune were just perfect lenght for me If you have read and loved this novel, I would recommend reading those two novels On the other hand, if you haven t read anything by Allende this is a good novel to start with It is also not as long as her other novels, so if you have a preference for a lesser number of pages, or you can t spare the time for a longer novel, consider giving this one a try My edition numbers 290 pages It also came with a beautifully illustrated cover that captures the spirit of the novel wonderfully, but I wasn t able to track it here on goodreads To conclude, this novel describes love in time of shadows that come in a sinister form of a military regime and it does it brilliantly, showing the best and the worst in human nature The writing is touchingly beautiful, it deserves to be considered among the best in magic realism You can find a longer version and slightly different version of this review here One of those books that cannot be set aside to catch up on sleep.Allende s warm personality, her wisdom and experiences keepsthe reader mesmerized. If novelists are to deserve a voice, priority should surely be given to novelists who tell stories of the forcibly silenced While I get the fact that The Disappeared is a tragedy of epic proportions, and the world needed to sit up and notice when it was endemic in South America, to choose the medium of a shmaltzy, 1980s, Lady Diana hairstyle romance to portray it is just the wrong thing to do It s not equally tragic, but it s somewhere on the scale.Allende could write For sure I m just not convinced, after two of her novels, that she could write well This seems a shame for someone who apparently, according to the source of all knowledge i.e Wikipedia writes on a computer, working Monday through Saturday, 9 00 A.M to 7 00 P.M If spending 84 hours a week produces the likes of this novel, then I for one am thankful she had all that time to edit Goodness knows what state the book would have been if she d knocked off early at 3 in the afternoon each day for a tequila.So, there s this country ruled by a military dictatorship but it s a fictitious country, right I mean, it can t be Chile can it Anyway, there s this country and no wait a minute let s cut the political scene and zoom in from this broad perspective to focus on one poor family struggling to survive with a husband who is a peripatetic circus entertainer no kidding They have a daughter who has fits This, in the spiritual land that is South America, becomes something of a local attraction when it turns out that someone was apparently healed during one of her bouts.Okay, let s pan over to this couple working for a newspaper and start the shmaltz He s a young, handsome, intelligent photographer She s a young, handsome, intelligent journalist Now, because this is post Austen, we need some kind of reason why these two can t get together so we can spend the rest of our efforts getting them together despite the odds which we created in the first place Uhmmm let s see oh yes she s engaged to this high up military guy hark back to the politics who she obediently loves without passion See what she did there Yep, gotta have that passion vacuum.Right, the ingredients are prepared, let s throw them together.She and he head out to write a story on this epileptic girl and the military show up while she s fitting and she kind of upsets one of them and so later gets abducted and disappears.Having hauled ourselves up to the peak, we can now coast downhill to the finish gaining momentum all the way investigate the disappearance, discover a cave full of bodies, risk their lives, fall out of obedience to the military guy and into a bed of passion with the photographer and then run for the hills Sorted.First off a third of the novel is a waste of time We actually don t need to know anything at all about the girl who is abducted In fact, it would have been poignant had we started the book at the point of the investigation and then, like the investigators, piece together the stories of these apparently nameless corpses Neither do we need the love story and scenes of sex in the moonlight which, quite frankly, insults the memory of the Disappeared in much the same way that a romance between investigators in the horrors of Auschwitz would denigrate the story of the victims.More disturbing is the self serving narrative Allende has, from birth, been privileged, and there is little doubt that the character of Irene the journalist is based on her in some way because of the similarities in the narratives of their lives As Irene, Allende had the wealth and connections that came with it, to flee Those who ended up in caves of corpses did not The tragedy of the Disappeared is that they were denied a hearing for their stories If novelists are to deserve a voice, priority should surely be given to novelists who tell stories of the forcibly silenced On the evidence of this novel, at least, that does not include Allende.