is reading The Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende for February Book Club.
A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende is another masterpiece from one of my favorite writers. Allende tells the story of over 2,000 refugees that fled Spain for Chile during the occupation by Franco and his Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War. Many of the refugees were personally selected by the famous Chilean Poet Pablo Neruda to cross the ocean on the S.S. Winnipeg in which he chartered for the voyages. Allende novel spans the years from 1938 to 1994. She weaves Neruda's poetry throughout the book. Allende was 31 years old at the time of the coup. Her father's cousin was President Salvador Allende. At the time she was writing articles for Chile's first feminist magazine. On the occasion of meeting Pablo Neruda, he gave her some career advice. He suggested that she write novels instead of articles since she had a penchant for exaggeration. We are thankful she took his advice. I enjoyed this book for the storytelling and the poetry, making this book a powerful read. Another interesting read associated with this novel is a biography called, "Neruda- The Poet's Calling" by Mark Eisner.
Isabel Allende, " A Long Petal of The Sea" from Politics and Prose, January 23, 2020
"It’s so important for me, finding the precise word that will create a feeling or describe a situation. I’m very picky about that because it’s the only material we have: words. But they are free. No matter how many syllables they have: free! You can use as many as you want, forever."
― Isabel Allende
14 Life-Affirming Quotes from Isabel Allende
By Alex Heimbach
Sep. 25, 2015
NPR has a wonderful review, 'A Long Petal of the Sea' Finds Love in a Time of Chaos by Marcela Davidson Aviles. January 27, 2020
"But don't be fooled into thinking this story is a history text cloaked as a novel. We fall slowly in love with Roser and Victor as they fall slowly in love with each other. This then, is the luminescence of Allende's writing: She takes us on an intimate journey in the midst of crashing worlds, but even so, the journey is a reckoning --Roser and Victor must conduct a recognizance of their surroundings, of people they meet, even of themselves, in order to survive. And this introspection, so necessary for survival, delivers something unexpected: A falling into love, and the discovery of one's capacity for wonder in a world gone mad."
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