Monday, February 26, 2007

Book Review: Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende

The best novels tell stories that matter with perfect credibility. Isabel Allende’s latest effort, “Ines of My Soul,” is compelling and ambitious in scope. But it was not believable enough for me.

It is very seldom that the story of the brutal era of colonial 15th century South America and its conquistadors is told without guilt. It is very seldom that the story of conquest is anything but a cautionary tale of blood and calamity. But in this novel, the narrator Ines Suarez describes the conquest of Chile as a success.

I was not convinced.

Personally, I find this sort of borderland-epic concept compelling enough to justify reading 300-page novels written by authors much less talented than Allende. It is the frontier story; the tale of the Old West. The story is supposed to create a world in which human nature can be explored outside of the rules constructed by civilization as we know it.
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