In December 1991, Allende's daughter Paula, aged 26, fell gravely ill and sank into a coma. This book started as a letter to Paula written during the hours spent at her bedside, and became a personal memoir and a testament to the ties that bind families - a brave, enlightening, inspiring true story. This book was written during the interminable ...
In December 1991, Allende's daughter Paula, aged 26, fell gravely ill and sank into a coma. This book started as a letter to Paula written during the hours spent at her bedside, and became a personal memoir and a testament to the ties that bind families - a brave, enlightening, inspiring true story. This book was written during the interminable hours the novelist Isabel Allende spent in the corridors of a Madrid hospital, in her hotel room and beside her daughter Paula's bed during the summer and autumn of 1992. Faced with the loss of her child, Isabel Allende turned to storytelling, to sustain her own spirit and to convey to her daughter the will to wake up, to survive. The story she tells is that of her own life, her family history and the tragedy of her nation, Chile, in the years leading up to Pinochet's brutal military coup.
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Publishers Weekly, 1995-03-20 Allende is a mesmerizing novelist (The House of the Spirits; The Stories of Eva Luna) who here takes on a double challenge. Writing nonfiction for the first time, she interweaves the story of her own life with the slow dying of her 28-year-old daughter, Paula. A magician with words, Allende makes this grim scenario into a wondrous encounter with the innermost sorrows and joys of another human being. In 1991, while living in Madrid with her husband, Paula was felled by porphyria, a rare blood disease, and, despite endless care by her mother and husband, lapsed into an irreversible coma. Her mother, as she watched by Paula's bedside, began to write this book, driven by a desperation to communicate with her unconscious daughter. She writes of her own Chilean childhood, the violent death of her uncle, Salvador Allende, and the family's flight to Venezuela from the oppressive Pinochet regime. Allende explores her relationship with her own mother, documented in the hundreds of letters they exchanged since she left home. Allende later married-and divorced-an undemanding and loyal man and became a fierce feminist, rebelling against the constraints of traditional Latin American society. Eventually, hope waning, Allende and her son-in-law take the comatose Paula to California, where the author lives with her second husband. The climactic scenes of Paula's death in the rambling old house by the Pacific Ocean seem to take place in another time and space. Only a writer of Allende's passion and skill could share her tragedy with her readers and leave them exhilarated and grateful. QPB selection. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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