Sunday, June 06, 2010

Isabel Allende: Island Beneath the Sea

Margo Hammond reviews Isabel Allende's Island Beneath the Sea.
History is best told by way of a good story. Isabel Allende provides a whale of a one in her latest historical fiction, "Island Beneath the Sea."
The novel follows the life of Zarita, a slave known as Tete who is the daughter of an African mother and the white sailor who sold her into bondage.
The fictional events take place against very real backdrops -- a civil war and slave revolt in Haiti; revolution, terror and the rise of Napoleon in France; and the Jeffersonian purchase of Louisiana that made New Orleans part of the United States -- but the history never gets in the way of the gripping story.
In just over 450 pages, Allende tracts the 40 years of Tete's life from her birth in 18th-century Saint-Domingue, later known as Haiti, to New Orleans, where she becomes a free woman.
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