Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Isabel Allende: Island Beneath the Sea

Lewis Jones reviews Isabel Allende's Island Beneath the Sea
Island Beneath the Sea, her eighth novel, is a historical romance of slaves and pirates, set on the Caribbean island of Saint-Domingue and in the Vieux Carré of New Orleans, between 1770 and 1810 – the period of the French Revolution, the slaves’ revolt of Toussaint Louverture and the Louisiana Purchase. The heroine is Zarité, known as Tété, a slave girl of mixed race who is raped at the age of 11 by Toulouse Valmorain, her cruel and proud master, and subsequently endures any number of injustices, in which she is sustained by her indomitable character and unshakeable faith in voodoo.

In bite-sized chapters, which become wearisome over such a generous length, the novel presents a world of powdered wigs and bursting corsets, of brutality in sugar cane fields and debauchery in opulent brothels – the many sex scenes are excruciating – into which historical events occasionally barge with the finesse of a muddy prop forward.
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Related Posts:
Isabel Allende: Island Beneath the Sea (Reviewed by Gaiutra Bahadur)

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