Friday, March 28, 2008

Isabel Allende: The Sum of Our Days

Michael Jacobs reviews Isabel Allende's The Sum of Our Days.
Isabel Allende's memoir begins with the author lying wide awake on an exceptionally stormy Californian night. She is disturbed not, by the ferocious wind or the rain but, by a superstitious fear. For it is the eve of 8 January, the day on which for the past 25 years she has always begun the writing of a new book. She feels that if she starts on any other day, the work will be a failure.

All this is very typical of Allende, who,, by her own admission, inhabits a world full of melodrama, premonitions, omens and spiritual encounters. Her family history is so extraordinary that she needed to look little further for inspiration for the characters that make up such a fantastical saga as her first, most successful novel, The House of Spirits. Unsurprisingly, as she confesses, such a legacy made her unable for much of her life to separate fantasy from reality.
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  1. I didn't think this was her best narrative, possibly because she had to protect her family and her relationships after all it is about her life.

    It was like a "reality TV show" where the incidents are chosen. She has had a remarkable life but to present herself as one of her fascinating characters seemingly didn't come easy.
    To all feminists out there , the best moments in life are when you let your husband take care of you.

  2. Being a Chilean myself, I love Isabel's honesty (something very un-Chilean)in this nook and her sense of humor just cracks me up. I have read every single of her books and consider her a kindred spirit. It has been a feat in itself to adapt to life in America where sur-realism is lost to a pragmatism held to for the sake of security. It is a complex sacrifice Isabel has had to make.