BORN: 1942, Lima, Peru
NATIONALITY: Chilean; Peruvian
GENRE: Novels, short stories, nonfiction
The House of the Spirits (1982)
Of Love and Shadows (1984)
Daughter of Fortune (1999)
Inés of My Soul (2006)
Chilean writer Isabel Allende is valued not only as a commentator on the turbulent nature of Latin American society but also as an author of powerful, humanistic fiction. Some scholars have even placed her among the ranks of those South American writers—Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, among others—who rose to prominence during the 1960s surge of interest in Latin American literature. As Alexander Coleman has asserted, “Allende is the first woman to join what has heretofore been an exclusive male club of Latin American novelists. Not that she is the first contemporary female writer from Latin America … but she is the first woman to approach on the same scale as the others the tormented patriarchal world of traditional Hispanic society.”
Works in Biographical and Historical Context
Growing Up in Turbulent Times Allende was born in Lima, Peru, where her father served as a diplomatic representative of Chile. Although Allende's contact with her father ceased following her parents' divorce, she remained close to his family—particularly Salvador Allende, her godfather and her father's cousin, who served as president of Chile from 1970 to 1973. As a child in Santiago, Chile, Allende lived with her maternal grandparents, who would later serve as models for Esteban and Clara Trueba, the patriarch and matriarch of the family whose history Allende chronicled in her first and best-known novel, The House of the Spirits (La casa de losespíritus) (1982). After spending her adolescence in Bolivia, Europe, and the Middle East with her mother and diplomat stepfather, Allende settled in Chile and became a journalist. Her life changed abruptly in 1973 when a military coup, led by General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, resulted in the assassination of Salvador Allende and the overthrow of his socialist government. While she remained in Chile for several months following the take-over, Allende's efforts to assist the opposition of the new regime ultimately jeopardized her safety. As Allende said in a Publishers Weekly interview quoted in Contemporary Authors, “I realized that everything was possible—that violence was a dimension that was always around you.”
Allende and her family fled Chile for Venezuela, where she wrote for the newspaper El Nacional. Less work came her way than in her native country, and she found herself with a lot of time for thought. She used it to take stock of her own life and of the history of her own culture. One of the fruits of her reflections was a long and ultimately unmailed letter she wrote to her ailing grand-father in Chile, chronicling the long and complicated history of her own family. That letter, fictionalized and heavily elaborated, grew into Allende's first novel, The House of the Spirits.
Coming to America The House of the Spirits was translated into English in 1985 and began to gain wide attention in the United States; translated into other languages as well, it became a best seller in several European countries. Allende won several new-author awards and was brought to the United States for a promotional tour as Of Love and Shadows (De amory de sombra, 1984), her second novel set in Chile during the dictatorship of Pinochet, was released. After giving a reading in San Jose, California, Allende met a U.S. lawyer, William Gordon; the two later married, and Allende continues to make her home in northern California.
After a decade of novels that received a lukewarm reception, Allende returned to the epic sweep of her debut in the late 1990s. Her novels Daughter of Fortune (Hija de la fortuna, 1999) and Portrait in Sepia (Retrato en sepia, 2000) featured characters who had appeared or been mentioned in The House of the Spirits. Allende once
again structured her stories to encompass the experiences of several generations, this time capturing the cultural interchange that has linked the western United States with Latin American countries. About Daughter of Fortune, Publishers Weekly noted that “Allende expands her geographical boundaries in this sprawling, engrossing historical novel flavored by four cultures—English, Chilean, Chinese, and American—and set during the 1849 California Gold Rush.”
Daughter of Fortune landed on best-seller lists and brought Allende an important rush of popular U.S. acceptance and a virtual guarantee of substantial future sales—it was named a “pick” by the nationwide book club headed by talk-show host Oprah Winfrey. Allende was the first Hispanic author Winfrey had ever selected. Continuing to create new examples in her series of strong female characters, Allende remains in the process of redefining, for the general U.S. reading public as well as for Spanish-language readers, the image of Latin American fiction.
Works in Literary Context
Many of Allende's books are noted for their feminine perspective, dramatic qualities of romance and struggle, and the magical realism genre often found in Latin American literature. Allende has shared many memories, both real and fictional, with her readers. She has examined political issues, related stories of her “interesting” child-hood, enthralled readers with magical ideas, and shared the beauties of her homeland. The large topical span of Allende's writings makes it difficult to classify the author as a particular type.
Strength of Character Allende's family members included a number of politicians and diplomats. While she received a strong education in private schools, the beginning of Allende's growth into a novelist can be marked by the personal and public tragedy she suffered when her godfather Salvador Allende was assassinated in a coup in Chile. The strength she had to muster in her private life can be seen in the characters she has created, especially the female ones.
Allende's female characters survive hardships—imprisonment, starvation, the loss of loved ones—but never lose their spirit or ability to love others. In reference to The House of the Spirits, Philip Howard contended in the Times of London, “It is a remarkable achievement to make the old monster lovable not just to his wife, daughter, and granddaughter, and the other women in his life, but also to the reader.” Although much of her writing includes political approaches similar to that of other Latin American writers, it also contains “an original feminist argument that suggests [a] women's monopoly on powers that oppose the violent ‘paternalism’ from which countries like Chile continue to suffer,” according to Chicago Tribune contributor Bruce Allen. Alberto Manguel likewise considered important Allende's “depiction of woman as a colonial object,” as he wrote in the Toronto Globe and Mail.
Magical Realism Magical realism as a literary style typically demonstrates a strong narrative drive in which the recognizably realistic mingles with the unexpected and inexplicable. It has been suggested that Allende uses magical realism both to jostle the reader out of preconceived understandings of events and to allow herself the opportunity to reinterpret these events from a woman's perspective. In the tradition of writers of magical realism, such as Gabriel García Márquez, Allende often blends elements of realism and fantasy in her works to examine the tumultuous social and political heritage of South America. She frequently draws upon her own experiences as well as those of her family to emphasize the role of personal memory as a record of the violence and repression that characterizes much of Latin American history.
Despite her recurring use of moral and political themes, Allende maintains that she does not intend to create political fiction. “I write about the things I care about,” she has stated; “poverty, inequality, and social problems are part of politics, and that's what I write about…. I just can't write in an ivory tower, distant from what's happening in the real world and from the reality of my continent. So the politics just steps in, in spite of myself.”
LITERARY AND HISTORICAL CONTEMPORARIES
Allende's famous contemporaries include:
Cormac McCarthy (1933–): McCarthy is an American novelist whose work often emphasizes the interactions of Mexican and American culture.
Daniel Alarcón (1977–): This Peruvian short-story writer and novelist is considered one of the leading figures in contemporary literature.
Esther “Eppie” Pauline Friedman Lederer (better known as Ann Landers) (1918–2002): A popular American journalist, Landers was one of the best known advice columnists of her time.
Georgia O'Keeffe (1887–1986): O'Keeffe was a American painter renowned for her paintings of New Mexico landscapes and her erotic depictions of flowers.
Works in Critical Context
Allende's fiction as a whole has received mixed reviews. While some commentators regard her works as derivative or melodramatic, most commend her polished technique, including the lushly detailed prose and compelling images that subtly convey her moral and political themes. Some debate has ensued, however, over whether she
successfully combines her political ideas with the fantastic elements in her fiction. Much critical analysis of Allende's work has been devoted to her feminist perspective as well, and her depiction of the patriarchal society of Latin America has been applauded, although some critics charge that her portrayals of Latin males are frequently stereotypically macho and that she at times resorts to other clichés about Hispanics.
The House of the Spirits Following three generations of the Trueba family and their domestic and political conflicts, The House of the Spirits “is a novel of peace and reconciliation, in spite of the fact that it tells of bloody, tragic events,” claimed New York Times Book Review contributor Alexander Coleman. “The author has accomplished this not only by plumbing her memory for the familial and political textures of the continent, but also by turning practically every major Latin American novel on its head,” the critic continued.
Allende's grand scope and use of fantastic elements and characters have led many critics to compare The House of the Spirits specifically to Nobel Prize-winner Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967). “Allende has her own distinctive voice, how-ever,” noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer; “while her prose lacks the incandescent brilliance of the master's, it has a whimsical charm, besides being clearer, more accessible and more explicit about the contemporary situation in South America.” In contrast, Village Voice contributor Enrique Fernandez believed that “only the dullest reader can fail to be distracted by the shameless cloning from One Hundred Years of Solitude.” “Allende is very much under the influence of Gabriel García Márquez, but she is scarcely an imitator,” remarked Washington Post Book World critic Jonathan Yardley, concluding that “she is most certainly a novelist in her own right and, for a first novelist, a startlingly skillful, confident one.”
While The House of the Spirits contains some of the magical realism so characteristic of late-twentieth-century Latin American fiction, it is counterbalanced by the political realities that Allende recounts. Times Literary Supplement reviewer Antony Beevor stated that whereas the early chapters of The House of the Spirits seem “to belong firmly in the school of magical realism,” a closer reading “suggests that Isabel Allende's tongue is lightly in her cheek. It soon becomes clear that she has taken the genre to flip it over,” the critic elaborated. “The metaphorical house, the themes of time and power, the machista violence and the unstoppable merry-go-round of history: all of these are reworked and then examined from the other side—from a woman's perspective.” Other critics, however, faulted Allende for trying to combine the magical and the political. Richard Eder of the Los Angeles Times Book Review felt that the author “rarely manages to integrate her magic and her message,” while Nation contributor Paul West wrote that the political story is “the book Allende probably wanted to write, and would have had she not felt obliged to toe the line of magical realism.” But others maintained that the contrast between the fantastic and political segments is effective, as Harriet Waugh of the Spectator explained: “[The] magic gradually dies away as a terrible political reality engulfs the people of the country. Ghosts, the gift of foretelling the future and the ability to make the pepper and salt cellars move around the dining-room table cannot survive terror, mass-murder and torture.”
COMMON HUMAN EXPERIENCE
Allende's novels often feature strong women prevailing in chaotic and violent times. Other works featuring such figures include:
Medea (431 bce), a play by Euripides. In this classic Greek drama, Medea is the spurned wife of legendary hero Jason. She wreaks a horrible vengeance on Jason and, unusually for a Greek play, gets away with it.
Beloved (1987), a novel by Toni Morrison. The story of Sethe, an escaped slave, and her daughter as they attempt to come to terms with the violent legacy of slavery.
Eva Luna “Fears that Isabel Allende might be a ‘one-book’ writer, that her first … success would be her only one, ought to be quashed by Eva Luna,” asserted Abigail E. Lee in the Times Literary Supplement. “The eponymous protagonist and narrator of this, her third novel, has an engaging personality, a motley collection of interesting acquaintances and an interesting angle on political upheavals in the unnamed Latin-American republic in which she lives.” “In Eva Luna, Allende moves between the personal and the political, between realism and fantasy, weaving two exotic coming-of-age stories—Eva Luna's and Rolf Carle's—into the turbulent coming of age of her unnamed South American country,” Elizabeth Benedict summarized in Chicago's Tribune Books. Switching between the stories of the two protagonists, Eva Luna is “filled with a multitude of characters and tales,” recounted Washington Post Book World contributor Alan Ryan. Allende's work is “a remarkable novel,” the critic elaborated, “one in which a cascade of stories tumbles out before the reader, stories vivid and passionate and human enough to engage, in their own right, all the reader's attention and sympathy.”
Inés of My Soul In her 2006 novel, Inés of My Soul (Inés del alma mia), Allende blends history and feminism to tell the story of Inés Suarez, often called the mother of Chile. This sixteenth-century historical figure was born in a poor Spanish village in 1509 and made a life for herself in the New World, becoming the mistress of the Chilean governor and helping to battle Native Americans who besieged the capital of Santiago. As a Kirkus Reviews critic noted, Inés Suarez's life “was full of daring, intrigue and passionate romance.” However, for this same critic Allende's novel missed much of that adventure, devolving instead into “turgid and detached homework masquerading as epic.” Similarly, Jennifer Reese, writing in Entertainment Weekly, thought that Allende's novel was a “bodice ripper” that “turn[s] a truly extraordinary life story into a forgettable, easy-reading romp.” A more positive assessment was delivered by a Publishers Weekly contributor who noted: “Allende crafts a swift, thrilling epic, packed with fierce battles and passionate romance.” Likewise, Amber Haq, writing in Newsweek International, termed Inés of My Soul “a powerfully evocative narrative,” and concluded: “Allende inspires women everywhere with the true story of one who wouldn't be tamed, who knew her own power and lived to taste its glory.” New York Times Book Review critic Maggie Gale-house felt that “Allende succeeds in resurrecting a woman from history and endowing her with the gravitas of a hero.”
Responses to Literature
- How does Allende's depiction of women compare with female characters in other Latin American novels? Do her female characters ring true?
- Read a novel by another writer known for a style of magical realism. How does Allende's use of magical realism differ from that of the author you chose? Do you believe, as some critics do, that Allende's use of magical realism is satirical? Why or why not?
- Read Allende's Zorro (2005). How does Allende's portrayal of Zorro differ from Antonio Banderas's portrayal of Zorro in the movies The Mask of Zorro and The Legend of Zorro? What factors account for the differences?
Bloom, Harold, ed. Isabel Allende. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2003.
Hart, Patricia. Narrative Magic in the Fiction of Isabel Allende. Rutherford, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1989.
Levine, Linda Gould. Isabel Allende. New York: Twayne, 2002.
Ryan, Bryan, ed. Hispanic Writers: A Selection of Sketches from Contemporary Authors. Detroit: Gale, 1991.
Zapata, Celia Correas. Isabel Allende: Life and Spirits Houston: Arte Público Press, 2002.
Born August 2, 1942
Writer of novels and memoirs
"I knew exactly what was happening in my country, I lived through it, and the dead, the tortured, the widows and orphans, left an unforgettable impression on my memory."
B eginning in the 1980s with the international success of her first novel, The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende became the best-known contemporary female writer from South America. In her novels and autobiographical works, Allende draws on her experiences to weave together tales of families as well as the effects of social and political pressures. Her writings also feature richly described settings, sometimes with elements of fantasy.
Influenced by grandparents
Isabel Allende was born in Lima, Peru, in 1942 to Chilean parents. At that time, her father, Tomás, was serving in Peru as a diplomat for the government of Chile. He was a first cousin of Salvador Allende Gossens (1908–1973), who later became president of Chile. Isabel Allende and her mother, Fransisca, maintained close ties with the Allende family even after Tomás abandoned his wife and daughter when Isabel was two years old. Mother and daughter returned to Santiago, Chile, to live with Fransisca's parents.
Allende's mother met another diplomat. He took the family on assignments to Bolivia, the Middle East, and Europe. The family was in Lebanon in 1958 when civil war erupted. Allende was sent home to her grandparents. She was fifteen years old, and it was then that her maternal grandparents most influenced her life. Allende's grandmother was a wonderful storyteller, and her grandfather was a strong-willed person who expected Allende to be able to support herself. Together they inspired Allende's imagination and instilled in her the discipline needed to be a writer. After she completed school, Allende began working as a secretary for the Food and Agricultural Organization, an association of the United Nations.
Shortly after turning twenty years old in 1962, Allende married Miguel Frias, an engineer. They would have two children, Paula and Nicolás. In the mid-1960s, Allende became a regular columnist for a magazine called Paula, as well as a reporter for another magazine, Mampato. She also worked for a television station as an interviewer.
A letter becomes a novel
When Allende's uncle, Chilean president Salvador Allende Gossens, was overthrown and assassinated in a coup, or a military takeover of government, in 1973, Allende's life changed. So, too, did life in Chile. The country became a military dictatorship under the ruthless command of General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte (1915–). His regime used violence to strictly enforce their laws and power. Allende joined church-sponsored groups to help provide aid to needy families and to help victims of the military dictatorship. Those activities put her life in danger. She later told Publishers Weekly interviewer Amanda Smith that the brutal government takeover affected her deeply: "In that moment, I realized that everything was possible—that violence was a dimension that was always around you."
Allende and her family fled Chile in 1974, settling in Caracas, Venezuela. Despite having a strong reputation as a journalist, Allende could not immediately find work as a writer in Venezuela. She turned to teaching before finally landing a job as a reporter for Venezuela's leading newspaper, El nacional (The National). Upon learning that her grandfather was dying back in Chile, Allende began writing a letter to him on January 8, 1981. Her grandfather died before the letter was mailed, but Allende kept writing, forming a story based on her family history. What began as a letter was soon transformed by Allende into a novel. Published first in Spain in 1982, La casa de los espíritus won international acclaim. The praise and popularity were repeated in the United States in 1985 when the novel was published in English as The House of the Spirits.
Why Allende Begins Writing Her Books on January 8
The House of the Spirits started Isabel Allende on her literary career. The book began as a letter she started writing to her dying grandfather on January 8, 1981. To continue to honor her grandfather and to draw on the good fortune of what began as a letter, Allende would begin all her subsequent books on January 8, the day she began writing the letter. She told interviewer Barbara Mujica in Américas magazine that it is "too easy to put off writing. There's always something better to do, like play with the grandchildren, for example, so I need the discipline of always beginning on the same day. And once I begin, I don't start any other project until I finish the first one."
Drawing on Allende's personal experience, the novel tells of an extended family caught up in political turmoil in Chile. "Because of my work as a journalist," Allende wrote in her "Sobreda con de los espiritos" essay, "I knew exactly what was happening in my country, I lived through it, and the dead, the tortured, the widows and orphans, left an unforgettable impression on my memory. The last chapters of La casa de los espíritus narrate those events. They are based on what I saw and on the direct testimonies of those who lived through the brutal experience of the repression." Along with detailed descriptions of events, setting, and characters, Allende weaves fantastic events into the story. This blending of realistic detail and fantasy elements is called "magic realism," a technique used by several famous Latin American authors.
Happiness and tragedy
Allende continued to combine personal experiences and imaginary events in her next few works of fiction. De amor y de sombra (1984; translated as Of Love and Shadows, 1987) features a journalist whose investigation into a murder points to ruthless political motives for the killing. Eva Luna (1988) concerns a scriptwriter who becomes involved with a filmmaker. The unnamed country where the two characters live resembles Chile. However, because the country is unnamed, the events could happen anywhere.
During a period of great personal change in her life, Allende completed a collection of short stories, Cuentos de Eva Luna (1990; published as The Stories of Eva Luna, 1991), and a novel, El Plan infinito (1991; published as The Infinite Plan, 1993). While composing these works, Allende also taught creative writing at several colleges in the eastern United States as well as at the University of California, Berkeley.
Allende and Success
In the spring 1999 issue of NPQ: New Perspectives Quarterly, Isabel Allende spoke about the popularity of her books in the United States.
First, I have a very good translator who helps convey the spirit of each book while also adapting it to the new culture. She says things like, "This sentence will not sound good in English. It's very sentimental." In Latin culture, for example, we talk about destiny. In America, "destiny" is a loaded word. You say "luck" or "fate." So, by the choice of words my translator adapts my work to the culture.
I also think that the mixture of honest emotion, feminism, politics and the bringing of other cultures into the book fascinates Americans. People in the U.S. are touched by the raw and explicit emotion of my books. Because … this is a culture in which people deny or withhold their emotions.
Allende was divorced from her first husband in 1987. The following year, while she was visiting stores and colleges on a book tour, Allende met a lawyer named William Gordon. He had read and greatly admired her novel Of Love and Shadows. He met Allende at a publicity stop in San Jose, California. After that meeting they began dating and soon married. The couple settled in the San Francisco area.
A book-related event had turned into a happy encounter for Allende, but a few years later she learned of a tragedy at another book-related event. During a party celebrating the Spanish-language publication of The Infinite Plan, Allende received a phone call informing her that her daughter, Paula, was gravely ill. Paula had recently married a Spanish man and was performing volunteer work for poor children at a Catholic school in Madrid, Spain, when she contracted an illness. She lapsed into a coma from which she never recovered, dying over a year later in December 1992.
Along with visiting her daughter regularly during her illness, Allende kept a diary about her own daily life and reflected on her past, including family incidents and political events. She had wanted to read the entries to Paula during recovery. Instead, the diary was later published as Paula in 1995. In an interview with Barbara Mujica in Américas magazine, Allende recalled, "My mother told me: 'Write or you'll die,' and I started to think that as long as I wrote, Paula would stay alive. It was a way of defying death. My mother saw the end way before I did. Life is full of signs and premonitions, if only we knew how to read them. I had a lot of trouble coming to terms with the truth."
Selected English Language Works of Isabel Allende
The House of the Spirits. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1985.
Of Love and Shadows. New York: Knopf, 1987.
Eva Luna. New York: Knopf, 1988.
The Stories of Eva Luna. New York: Atheneum, 1991.
The Infinite Plan. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993.
Paula. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1995.
Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses. New York: HarperFamingo, 1998.
Daughter of Fortune: A Novel. New York: HarperCollins, 1999.
Portrait in Sepia. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2001.
City of the Beasts. New York: HarperCollins, 2002.
My Invented Country: A Nostalgic Journey through Chile. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.
Invented and adopted countries
After the publication of Paula, Allende continued to work as a writer and teacher. Her later books include Afrodita: Cuentos, recetas y otros afrodisíacos (1997; published asAphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses, 1998), Daughter of Fortune: A Novel (1999), Portrait in Sepia (2001), City of the Beasts (2002), and My Invented Country: A Nostalgic Journey through Chile (2003). City of the Beasts is a young adult novel about a boy spending the summer in Chile with his grandmother while his mother is in Texas for treatment of cancer. The boy's grandmother has been hired to write an article on the Beast, a real or imagined animal that has been terrorizing a jungle area. "The story is a struggle between good and evil, filled with surprises and adventure," wrote Angela J. Reynolds in School Library Journal. "Put this title on your 'If You Liked Harry Potter' lists," she added.
My Invented Country: A Nostalgic Journey through Chile is a memoir inspired by the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. The attacks led Allende to consider her life in her adopted country, the United States, and similar feelings she had experienced twenty-eight years earlier, when the Allende government was overthrown in Chile. Allende calls Chile "my invented country" because she was never able to fully settle there. Allende had lived in Chile for only part of her childhood, was forced to take exile as an adult when Chile became a military state in 1973, and returned for visits only after she turned forty-five years old—beginning in 1988, when Chile was free from military dominance. Allende concludes that she lost a country in 1973, but gained a new one, affirmed in 2001 by sharing in the grief and aftermath of violence. In 2003, Allende became a naturalized citizen of the United States.
For More Information
Allende, Isabel. "Writing as an Act of Hope." In Paths of Resistance. Edited by William Zinsser. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989, pp. 39–63.
Correas de Zapata, Celia. Isabel Allende: Life and Spirits. Houston: Arte Público Press, 2002.
Levine, Linda Gould. Isabel Allende. New York: Twayne Publishers, 2002.
Zinsser, William, ed. Paths of Resistance: The Art and Craft of the Political Novel. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1989.
Mujica, Barbara. "The Life Force of Language." Américas (November-December 1995): pp. 36–43.
Reynolds, Angela J. "City of the Beasts" (book review). School Library Journal (December 2002): p. 58.
Skafidas. Michael. "Pinochet's Ghost." NPQ: New Perspectives Quarterly (Spring 1999): pp. 22–26.
Smith, Amanda. "Interview with Isabel Allende." Publishers Weekly (May 17, 1985).
Isabel Allende.http://www.isabelallende.com/ (accessed on March 4, 2004).
Nationality: Chilean. Born: Lima, Peru, 2 August 1942; niece of Chilean president Salvador Allende. Education: Private high school in Santiago, Chile. Family: Married (1) Miguel Frías in 1962 (divorced 1987), one daughter and one son; (2) William Gordon in 1988, one stepson. Career: Secretary, United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, Santiago, chile, 1959-65; journalist, editor, and advice columnist, Paula magazine, Santiago, 1967-74; journalist, Mampato magazine, Santiago, 1969-74; interviewer, Canal13/Canal 7 (television station), 1970-75; worked on movie newsreels, 1973-75; administrator, Colegio Marroco, Caracas, Venezuela, 1979-82; writer, since 1982; guest teacher, Montclair State College, New Jersey, spring 1985, and University of Virginia, fall 1988; Gildersleeve Lecturer, Barnard College, spring 1988; teacher of creative writing, University of California, Berkeley, spring 1989. Escaped Chile in 1974 (following the assassination of her uncle Salvador Allende) and moved with her family to Caracas, Venezuela. Lives in California. Awards: Best Novel of the Year (Chile), 1983, for The House of the Spirits; Author of the Year and Book of the Year (Germany), 1984; Point de Mire award (Radio Television Belge), 1985; Best Novel (Mexico), 1985; Premio Literario Colima (Mexico), 1986; XV Premio Internazionale I Migliori Dell'Anno, 1987; Mulheres award (Portugal), 1987, for best foreign novel; Quimera Libros (Chile), 1987; Book of the Year (Switzerland), 1987; Los Angeles Times Book Awards finalist for fiction, 1987, for Of Love and Shadows; Before Columbus Foundation award, 1988; XLI Bancarella Literary award, 1993; Independent Foreign Fiction award, 1993; Brandeis University Major Book Collection award, 1993; Marin Women's Hall of Fame, 1994; Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France), 1994; Feminist Majority Foundation's Feminist of the Year, 1995; Honorary Citizen, Austin, Texas, 1995; "Read about Me" award, 1996; Critics Choice award, 1996; Books to Remember award (American Library Association), 1996. Honorary degrees: New York State University, 1991; Dominican College, 1994; Bates College, 1994. Member: Academia de Artes y Ciencias (Puerto Rico), 1995.
Cuentos de Eva Luna. 1989; as The Stories of Eva Luna, 1991.
La casa de los espiritus. 1982; as The House of the Spirits, 1985.
De amor y de sombra. 1984; as Of Love and Shadows, 1987.
Eva Luna. 1987.
El plan infinito. 1991; as The Infinite Plan, 1991.
El Embajador. 1971.
La Balada del Medio Pelo. 1973.
Los Siete Espejos. 1974.
Civilice a su troglodita: Los impertinentes de Isabel Allende(humor). 1974.
La gorda de porcelana (juvenile). 1983.
The House of the Spirits, 1994; Of Love and Shadows.
"The Booklist Interview: Isabel Allende" by John Brosnahan, in Booklist 87, 15 October 1990, pp. 1930-31; Narrative Magic in the Fiction of Isabel Allende by Patricia Hart, 1989; "'The Responsibility to Tell You': An Interview with Isabel Allende" by John Rodden, in The Kenyon Review, winter 1991, pp. 113-23; Critical Approaches to Isabel Allende's Novels, edited by Sonia Riquelme Rojas and Edna Aguirre Rehbein, 1991.* * *
In the prologue to Isabel Allende's collection The Stories of Eva Luna, Eva's lover Rolf Carle writes to her, begging her to tell him stories. Rolf tells her, "You think in words; for you, language is an inexhaustible thread you weave as if life were created as you tell it. I think in the frozen images of a photograph." In response Eva comes up with 23 stories, implicitly reminding us at the opening and closing of the collection of Scheherazade and The Thousand and One Nights. Allende has often testified in interviews to the power and universality of storytelling, and her fiction is very much bound up with both narrative and character. Even the titles and the opening paragraphs often attest to this. She also takes a delight in language for its own sake.
Appropriately enough, The Stories of Eva Luna opens with "Two Words," a story about Belisa Crepusculario, who has created her own name out of words meaning "beauty" and "twilight" and who makes her living by selling words. The story "Interminable Life," in which Eva herself appears prominently as the narrator, opens with a series of generalizations about various kinds of stories before proceeding to tell us of the life and death of the perfect couple, Ana and Robert Blaum.
Like Gabriel García Márquez, with whom she engages in a constant dialogue in her work, Allende is especially concerned with obsessive, often destructive love, in particular with the relations between an older man and a young woman. Many of her stories are variations on this theme. In "Two Words" Belisa is kidnapped by the soldier El Mulato, whose colonel wants her to supply him with the speech that will cause his people to love him instead of merely fearing him. Not only does she write his speech, but she gives him two bonus words that he can always use for himself. The colonel is unable to forget Belisa, "her feral scent, her fiery heat, the whisper of her hair and her sweet mint breath in his ear," and he sends El Mulato to fetch her back. The story ends ambiguously: "The men knew then that their leader would never undo the witchcraft of those two accursed words, because the whole world could see the voracious puma's eyes soften as the woman walked to him and took his hand in hers." In the eyes of the soldiers at least, love is a threatening, predatory force.
In "Wicked Child" 11-year-old Elena Mejias falls in love with her mother's lover but is rejected by him. Many years later, however, she has unwitting revenge when he blurts out his infatuated memories of her advances, which she herself has forgotten. In "If You Touched My Heart" Amadeo Peralta becomes suddenly besotted with a young girl named Hortensia, whom he seduces and then, after a period of passionate lovemaking, abandons in a cave with only the barest necessities for 47 years. When she is eventually discovered and he is sent to jail, Hortensia, who is unaware of her own physical deterioration, brings him food every day: "'He almost never left me hungry,' she would tell the guard in an apologetic tone."
Love in these stories is often bizarre, always an imperative, and mostly disastrous. An exception is "Gift for a Sweetheart," which opens with the words "Horacio Fortunato was forty-six when the languid Jewish woman who was to change his roguish ways and deflate his fanfaronade entered his life." He discovers that the way to win a woman's heart is not with diamonds but with laughter. The predicament of Dr. Angel Sanchez, who falls in love with Ester Lucero when she is not yet 12, is perhaps less disabling than that of other Allende lovers. Perhaps fortunately, "he had no hope of ever consummating his love outside the sphere of his imagination" but instead dedicates himself to the protection of the young girl's life.
Allende's feminism is often in evidence. "The Gold of Tomas Vargas" concerns a miser, lecher, wife basher, and drunkard who buries his money rather than fulfill his responsibilities. Into the town there comes a young girl whom Tomas has made pregnant and whom he installs in his house in front of his horrified wife. But the two women, Antonia Sierra and Concha Diaz, slowly come to form an alliance.
The macho attitudes of society are clearly pointed out: "In Agua Santa they could tolerate a man who mistreated his family, a man who was lazy and a trouble-maker, who never paid back money he borrowed, but gambling debts were sacred." Tomas gets into trouble when he gambles heavily with the police lieutenant and eventually loses. When he goes to his secret cache to recover the money, it is no longer there. Only at the end does it become clear that the women have somehow found out where it is and have stolen it. Vargas himself is murdered, while "the two women lived on together, happy to help each other in bringing up their children and in the many vicissitudes of life."
The eponymous Clarisa has two retarded children by her feeble, reclusive husband but enunciates her "theory of compensation": "God maintains a certain equilibrium in the universe, and just as He creates some things twisted, He creates others straight." She gives birth to two fine young sons who look after their retarded siblings. Only at the end, however, is it revealed that she had the two by an incorruptible politician, Congressman Diego Cienfuegos, and so was not averse to helping God along with his equilibrium. Clarisa blames herself for not fulfilling her conjugal duties and perhaps leading her husband to other women, to which the spirited Eva replies, "I mean, if you had had another man, would your husband share the blame?"
At the same time Allende's sympathy for women in the grip of a patriarchal society does not prevent her from seeing through the romantic delusions of someone like Tosca, in the story by that name, whose life is based on dreams and romantic self-deception. She marries a good-hearted builder, Ezio Longo, but then falls in love with a medical student who shares her passion for opera. They become Tosca and Mario, and she abandons her husband and son for the student. There is considerable relish in the tone with which Allende insists on the woman's deluded sense of herself and her pallid lover: "She refused with suicidal determination to acknowledge any diminution of her reality; she insisted on embellishing every moment with words." After the doctor dies and her husband turns up in the village, she has dreams of reuniting with him after 28 years. But when she looks at her husband and son together, at the enormous rapport between them, and realizes that he was the true hero, she quietly steps unnoticed out of their lives.
Civil wars, revolutions, and political oppression are often hinted at obliquely in the stories but never allowed to come to the forefront and take attention away from Allende's demented protagonists. Angel Sanchez in "Ester Lucero" is fresh back from the fighting when he falls in love, while Tadco Cespedes in "Revenge" murders a senator and rapes his daughter before eventually falling completely under the latter's spell. El Benefactor in "The Phantom Palace" is an old tyrant who could have come straight out of The Autumn of the Patriarch. He has made sure that no woman has ever stayed the night until he falls belatedly and passionately in love with the young wife of an ambassador. She accepts the old man out of pity, but he is unable to respond to her generosity: "He believed that love was a dangerous weakness. He was convinced that all women, except his own mother, were potentially perverse, and that the most prudent way to treat them was to keep them at arm's length." He takes her to his sumptuous, long-unused Summer Palace, where she falls into raptures. One night "he unintentionally fell asleep in her arms. He awoke in the early morning, terrified, with the clear sensation of having betrayed himself." He departs, leaving the woman happily in charge of the palace.
But perhaps the most powerful and revealing story is "And of Clay Are We Created," which concerns Eva's partner Rolf and a shattering experience he had after an earthquake. He spends several days and nights comforting a young girl trapped in quicksand while she slowly dies as lifesaving equipment fails to reach her. During this time, as Eva watches him on television, Rolf is forced to confront a series of demons in himself. He breaks down completely, but Eva has the composure characteristic of Allende's heroines: "Beside you, I wait for you to complete the voyage into yourself, for the old wounds to heal. I know that when you return from your nightmares, we shall again walk hand in hand, as before."
Allende has shown herself to be a wonderful storyteller who, despite the glimpses of magic realism in her work, relies mostly on the old-fashioned elements of story and character, with liberal doses of romantic love.
The author of several novels and a short fiction collection, as well as plays and stories for children, Isabel Allende (born 1942) has received international acclaim for her writing.
Allende earned the Quality Paperback Book Club New Voice Award nomination for her debut novel, La casa de los espíritus (1982; The House of the Spirits) —which became a best seller in Spain and West Germany in the 1980s and a 1994 movie—and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize nomination for De amor y de sombra (1984; Of Love and Shadows). In 1988 Allende's third novel, Eva Luna, was voted One of the Year's Best Books by Library Journal.
Many of Allende's books are noted for their feminine perspective, dramatic qualities of romance and struggle, and the magic realism genre often found in Latin American literature. Her female characters survive hardships—imprisonment, starvation, the loss of loved ones—but never lose their spirit or ability to love others. Of Allende's House of Spirits, which has been compared to that of the Nobel prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, Lori Carlson observed in Review: "There is a lot of love in The House of the Spirits. The love-making of powerful men and naive women, worn-out married couples and anxious rebels might even conjure up the reader's personal experience. But there is another kind of love in this book with which the reader cannot identify. It is a kind that requires forgiving the person whose torturous hand has shoved your face into a bucket of excrement. A spiritual force that can overcome a world sutured with evil, to beget art. Isabel Allende … tells in this, her first novel, a vibrant story of struggle and survival dedicated to her mother, grandmother, and 'other extraordinary' women in a country unnamed. Given the descriptions of events and people in the book … Chile quickly comes to mind."
Allende was born on August 2, 1942, in Lima, Peru. Her parents, Tomás, a Chilean diplomat, and Francisca (Llona Barros) Allende divorced when she was three, and she traveled with her mother to Santiago, Chile, where she was raised in her grandparents' home. Allende graduated from a private high school at the age of 16; three years later in 1962, she married her first husband, Miguel Frías, an engineer. Allende also went to work for the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization in Santiago, where she was a secretary for several years. Later, she became a journalist, editor, and advice columnist for Paula magazine. In addition, she worked as a television interviewer and on movie newsreels.
When her uncle, Chilean president Salvador Allende, was assassinated in 1973 as part of a right-wing military coup against his socialist government, Allende's life changed profoundly. Initially, she did not think that the new regime would endure, but later she came to realize that it was too dangerous to stay in Chile. As a result, Allende, her husband, and their two children fled to Venezuela. Although she had established a successful career as a journalist in Chile, Allende nevertheless had a difficult time finding work in journalism in Venezuela.
During her life in exile, Allende was inspired to write The House of the Spirits. The novel was adapted for the screen by the Danish writer and director Bille August and released in the United States in 1994. Based on Allende's memories of her family and the political upheaval in her native country, the book chronicles the personal and political conflicts in the lives of successive generations of a family in an anonymous Latin American country. These events are principally communicated through the memories of the novel's three central characters: Esteban and Clara, the patriarch and matriarch of the Trueba family, and Alba, their leftist granddaughter who falls into the hands of torturers during a military coup.
The House of Spirits was followed by Of Love and Shadows, which concerns the switching at birth of two infant girls. One of the babies grows up to become the focus of a journalist's investigation, and the revelation of her assassination compels the reporter and photographer to go into exile. The Detroit Free Press described Of Love and Shadows as "a frightening, powerful work," in which Allende "proves her continued capacity for generating excellent fiction," while the Toronto Globe and Mail commented that "Allende has some difficulty in getting her novel started because she has to weave two stories separately, and seems to be relying initially too much on her skills as a journalist."
On a lecture tour to San Jose, California, to promote the publication of Of Love and Shadows in the United States, Allende met William Gordon, a lawyer, who was an admirer of her work and with whom she fell in love. Having been divorced from her first husband for about a year, she married Gordon in 1988, and has lived with him in their suburban home in Marin, California, ever since.
Became Powerful Storyteller
Allende's next book, Eva Luna, focuses on the relationship between Eva—an illegitimate scriptwriter and story-teller—and Rolfe Carlé—an Austrian émigré filmmaker haunted by his father's Nazi past. The novel received positive reviews; for example, Abigail E. Lee in the Times Literary Supplement wrote, "Fears that Isabel Allende might be a 'one-book' writer … ought to be quashed by Eva Luna…. Allende moves between the personal and the political, between realism and fantasy, weaving two exotic coming-of-age stories—Eva Luna's and Rolfe Carlé's—into the turbulent coming of age of her unnamed South American country." Further, Alan Ryan of the Washington Post Book World asserted that Eva Luna is "a remarkable novel, one in which a cascade of stories tumbles out before the reader, stories vivid and passionate and human enough to engage, in their own right, all the reader's attention and sympathy."
Allende followed up this novel with Cuentos de Eva Luna (1991; The Stories of Eva Luna), in which the heroine of Eva Luna relates several stories to her lover Carlé. According to Alan Ryan in USA Today, "These stories transport us to a complex world of sensual pleasures, vivid dreams and breathless longings. It is a world in which passions are fierce, motives are profound and deeds have inexorable consequences." Anne Whitehouse of The Baltimore Sun noted that "Ms. Allende possesses the ability to penetrate the hearts of Eva's characters in a few brief sentences. …. These are profound, transcendent stories, which hold the mirror up to nature and in their strangeness reveal us to ourselves."
The Eva Luna stories were followed by El plan infinito (1993; The Infinite Plan) which, in a stylistic departure for Allende, features a male hero in a North American setting. Gregory Reeves is the son of a traveling preacher and prophet who settles in the Hispanic barrio of Los Angeles after becoming ill. As the only Anglo boy in the district, Reeves is tormented by local gang members. Eventually, he finds his way out of the barrio, does a tour of duty in Vietnam, and goes on to study law at Berkeley. The Infinite Plan received less praise than Allende's previous books; Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times described the novel as a "Bildungsroman-cum-family saga that owes more to Judith Krantz than to Gabriel García Márquez," concluding that it is "disappointing and mechanical." Still, as novelist Jane Smiley pointed out in her Boston Globe review, "Not many [émigré authors] have even attempted writing a novel from the point of view of a native of the new country."
Allende's latest work, Paula (1995), is a heartrending account of the circumstances surrounding the lengthy illness and death of her daughter in 1991. Commenting on the deeply emotive effect of Paula, the reviewer for Publishers Weekly declared that "[only] a writer of Allende's passion and skill could share her tragedy with her readers and leave them exhilarated and grateful." In September of 1996, Allende was honored at the Hispanic Heritage Awards for her contributions to the Hispanic American community.
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Yearbook 1985, Vol. 39, Detroit, Gale, 1986, pp. 27-36.
Hart, Patricia, Narrative Magic in the Fiction of Isabel Allende, Rutherford, NJ, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1989.
Hispanic Writers: A Selection of Sketches from Contemporary Authors, edited by Bryan Ryan, Detroit, Gale, 1991, pp. 15-18.
Baltimore Sun, March 3, 1991.
Boston Globe, May 16, 1993, pp. B39, B42.
Chicago Tribune Bookworld, May 19, 1985, pp. 37-38.
Christian Science Monitor, June 7, 1985; May 27, 1987.
Cosmopolitan, January 1991.
Dallas Morning News, February 1991, pp. 6J, 8J.
Detroit Free Press, June 7, 1987.
Detroit News, June 14, 1987.
Globe and Mail (Toronto), June 24, 1985; June 27, 1987.
London Review of Books, August 1, 1985, pp. 26-27.
Los Angeles Times, February 10, 1988; December 28, 1990, p. E5.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, June 16, 1985; May 31, 1987.
Mother Jones, December 1988, pp. 42-46.
Nation, July 20/27, 1985, pp. 52-54; March 11, 1991, pp. 314-16.
New Statesman, July 5, 1985, p. 29.
Newsweek, May 13, 1985, p. 82.
New York, April 11, 1994, p. 56+.
New York Newsday, July 23, 1993.
New York Review of Books, July 18, 1985, pp. 20-23.
New York Times, May 2, 1985; May 9, 1985, p. 23; May 20, 1987; February 4, 1988; June 25, 1993.
New York Times Book Review, May 12, 1985, pp. 1, 22-23; July 12, 1987; October 23, 1988; January 20, 1991.
Observer, June 7, 1985, p. 21.
People, June 10, 1985, p. 145; June 1, 1987.
Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1991.
Publishers Weekly, March 1, 1985, p. 70; May 17, 1985; March 20, 1995.
Review, January-June, 1985, pp. 77-78.
Spectator, August 3, 1985.
Time, May 20, 1985, p. 79.
Times (London), July 4, 1985; July 9, 1987; March 22, 1989; March 23, 1989.
Times Literary Supplement, July 5, 1985; July 10, 1987; April 7-13, 1989.
Tribune Books (Chicago), October 9, 1988.
U.S. News and World Report, November 21, 1988.
USA Today, June 7, 1985, p. 4D; March 1, 1991.
Village Voice. June 4, 1985, p. 51; June 7, 1985.
Voice Literary Supplement, December, 1988.
Washington Post Book World, May 12, 1985, pp. 3-4; May 24, 1987; October 9, 1988. □
Born: August 2, 1942
Chilean novelist, journalist, and dramatist
The author of several novels and a collection of short fiction, as well as plays and stories for children, Chilean author Isabel Allende has received international praise for her writing. Many of her books are noted for their feminine point of view and dramatic qualities of romance and struggle. Her first novel, The House of the Spirits, was made into a film in 1994.
Early years in Chile
Isabel Allende was born on August 2, 1942, in Lima, Peru. Her parents, Tomás (a Chilean government representative) and Francisca (Llona Barros) Allende divorced when she was three. After the divorce Isabel traveled with her mother to Santiago, Chile, where she was raised in her grandparents' home. Her grandmother's interest in fortune telling and astrology (the study of the influence of the stars on human behavior), as well as the stories she told, made a lasting impression on Allende. The house was filled with books, and she was allowed to read whatever she wanted.
Allende graduated from a private high school at the age of sixteen. Three years later, in 1962, she married her first husband, Miguel Frías, an engineer. Allende also went to work for the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization in Santiago, where she was a secretary for several years. Later she became a journalist, editor, and advice columnist for Paula magazine. In addition she worked as a television interviewer and newscaster.
Exile in Venezuela
When her uncle, Chilean president Salvador Allende (1908–1973), was assassinated in 1973 as part of a military takeover of the government, Isabel Allende's life changed greatly. At first she did not think that the new government would last, but later she came to realize that it was too dangerous to stay in Chile. As a result she, her husband, and their two children fled to Venezuela. Although she had established a successful career as a journalist in Chile, she had a difficult time finding similar work in Venezuela.
During her life in exile Allende was inspired to write her debut novel, The House of the Spirits (1982), which became a best seller in Spain and West Germany. Based on Allende's memories of her family and the political change in her native country, the book describes the personal and political conflicts in the lives of several generations of a family in a Latin American country. These events are communicated through the memories of the novel's three main characters: Esteban and Clara, the father and mother of the Trueba family, and Alba, their granddaughter who falls into the hands of torturers during a military takeover. The House of the Spirits earned the Quality Paperback Book Club New Voice Award nomination. The novel was adapted by the Danish writer and director Bille August and was released as a film in the United States in 1994.
The House of Spirits was followed by Of Love and Shadows, which concerns the switching at birth of two infant girls. One of the babies grows up to become the focus of a journalist's investigation, and the revelation of the woman's assassination compels the reporter and her photographer to go into exile. The novel received a Los Angeles Times Book Prize nomination.
While on a lecture tour in San Jose, California, to promote the publication of Of Love and Shadows in the United States, Allende met William Gordon, a lawyer, who was an admirer of her work and with whom she fell in love. Having been divorced from her first husband for about a year, she married Gordon in 1988 and has lived with him in Marin, California, ever since.
Became powerful storyteller
As she became more popular, Allende decided to devote all of her time to writing and quit her job as a school administrator. Her next book, Eva Luna (1988), focused on the relationship between Eva, an illegitimate (born to unmarried parents) writer and storyteller, and Rolfe Carlé, an Austrian film-maker haunted by the knowledge of his father's criminal past. The novel received positive reviews and was voted One of the Year's Best Books by Library Journal. Allende followed up this novel with The Stories of Eva Luna (1991), in which Eva relates several stories to her lover Carlé.
The Eva Luna stories were followed by The Infinite Plan (1993) that, unlike her other books, features a male hero in a North American setting. Gregory Reeves is the son of a traveling preacher who settles in the Hispanic section of Los Angeles after becoming ill. Local gang members torment Reeves, as he is the only Caucasian (white) boy in the district. Eventually he finds his way out of the neighborhood, serves in the army, and goes on to study law. The Infinite Plan received less praise than Allende's previous books. Still, as novelist Jane Smiley pointed out in her Boston Globe review, "Not many [authors from foreign countries] have even attempted writing a novel from the point of view of a native of the new country."
Allende's next work, Paula (1995), was a heartbreaking account of the circumstances surrounding the long illness and death of her daughter in 1991. Published in 1999 Daughter of Fortune is the story of Eliza Sommers, a girl who breaks with nineteenth-century Chilean tradition to follow her lover to California. In September 1996 Allende was honored at the Hispanic Heritage Awards for her contributions to the Hispanic American community. In 1998 she received the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for excellence in the arts. Another novel, Portrait in Sepia, was published in 2001.
For More Information
Bloom, Harold, ed. Isabel Allende. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2002.
Correas de Zapata, Celia. Isabel Allende: Life and Spirits. Houston: Arte Público Press, 2002.
Levine, Linda Gould. Isabel Allende. New York: Twayne Publishers, 2002.
Isabel Allende, 1942–, Chilean novelist. Since the 1973 coup that deposed her cousin, President Salvador Allende Gossens, Isabel Allende, who is among the most notable contemporary Chilean writers, has lived abroad, for many years in California. Her fiction is distinguished by its fusion of traditional realism with both the fantastic and with political (including feminist) concerns. Her first and best-known novel, The House of Spirits (1982, tr. 1985), which reflects the influence of Gabriel García Márquez and the technique of magic realism (her work has been called
by some critics), tells the story of a Chilean family over three generations. Allende's fiction also includes Of Love and Shadows (1984, tr. 1987); Eva Luna (1987, tr. 1988); The Infinite Plan (1991, tr. 1993), her first work set in the United States; Daughter of Fortune (1998, tr. 1999); Portrait in Sepia (2001); Inés of My Soul (2006), the fictionalized life of a 16th-century conquistadora; and Island beneath the Sea (2010), a tale of the 18th-century Haitian slave revolution.
See her memoirs, Paula (1994, tr. 1995), Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses (1997, tr. 1998), and My Invented Country (2003); J. Rodden, ed., Conversations with Isabel Allende (1999, repr. 2004); studies by W. Zinsser (1989), P. Hart (1989), S. R. Rojas and E. Aguirre, ed. (1991), R. G. Feal and Y. E. Miller, ed. (2002), L. G. Levine (2002), H. Bloom, ed. (2003), and K. C. Cox (2003).
ALLENDE, Isabel. Chilean (born Peru), b. 1942. Genres: Novels, Children's fiction. Career: United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, Santiago, Chile, secretary, 1959-65; Paula magazine, Santiago, journalist, editor, and advice columnist, 1967-74; Mampato magazine, Santiago, journalist, 1969-74; television interviewer for Canal 13/Canal 7 (television station), 1970-75; worked on movie newsreels, 1973-75; El Nacional newspapers, Venezuela, journalist, 1975-84; Colegio Marroco, Caracas, Venezuela, administrator, 1979-82; writer. Guest teacher at Montclair State College, NJ, spring, 1985, and University of Virginia, fall, 1988; Gildersleeve Lecturer, Barnard College, spring, 1988; teacher of creative writing, University of California, Berkeley, spring, 1989. Publications: Civilice a su troglodita: Los impertinentes de Isabel Allende (humor), 1974; La casa de los espiritus, 1982, trans by M. Bogin as The House of the Spirits, 1985; La gorda de porcelana (juvenile; title means: The Fat Porcelain Lady), 1984; De amor y de sombra, 1984, trans by M.S. Peden as Of Love and Shadows, 1987; Eva Luna, trans by Peden, 1988; Cuentos de Eva Luna, 1990, trans by Peden as The Stories of Eva Luna, 1991; El Plan infinito, trans by Peden as The Infinite Plan, 1993; Paula (autobiography), 1995; Afrodita: Recetas, cuentos y otros afrodisiacos, 1997, trans by Sayers Peden, as Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses, 1998; Daughter of Fortune, 1999; Portrait in Sepia, 2001; City of the Beasts, 2002; My Invented Country, 2003. Author of several plays and stories for children. Contributor to books. Address: c/o Carmen Balcells, Diagonal 580, 08021 Barcelona, Spain.
Chilean novelist, essayist, journalist, short story writer, memoirist, playwright, and juvenile fiction writer.ISABEL ALLENDE: INTRODUCTION
ISABEL ALLENDE: PRINCIPAL WORKS
ISABEL ALLENDE: PRIMARY SOURCES
ISABEL ALLENDE: GENERAL COMMENTARY
ISABEL ALLENDE: TITLE COMMENTARY
ISABEL ALLENDE: FURTHER READING