Isabel Allende’s published 23 and sold a total of 74 million books. She writes in her first language, Spanish, and translates the books into English when they are finished. Allende was born in Peru to Chilean parents. Her parents separated, and she and her mother moved to Chile. After high school, she worked as a journalist. In 1973, she and her husband fled to Venezuela when her cousin, President Salvador Allende, was assassinated. There she began writing her first novel.
- Her first book, House of the Spirits (Casa de los Espíritus, 1982), has a special place in my heart. Set in Chile, it examines the lives of three generations of women living under the Pinochet dictatorship. House of the Spirits tells of love, curfews, censorship, and revenge. The book gives an excellent feminist twist on magical realism. In 1994, a film adaption was released starring the not very Chilean Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, Meryl Streep, and Antonio Banderas.
- Daughter of Fortune (Hija de la Fortuna) is the story of a Chilean woman who travels by ship from Valparaíso to San Francisco, California. Adventure, history, and passion make this story come alive.
- City of the Beasts (Ciudad de las Bestias) is a young adult novel. Two teens work together in the Amazon and find marvelous beasts which will change their life’s fortunes. This is an exciting trilogy in three locations!
- Inés of My Soul (Inés de mi Alma) is the story of Europeans arriving in Chile and meeting a formidable foe in the Mapuche. Allende has great insight into the motivations of Inés, Pedro de Valdivia, and the Mapuche warriors.
- Zorro is a swashbuckler worthy of the name based on the true California history of the secretive rebel.
Which of her books have you read, or might you read?
If the descriptions don’t convince, check out four of the sixty awards Ms. Allende’s received around the world:
- American Academy of Arts and Letters inductee since 2004.
- Chilean National Prize for Literature in 2010
- 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom
- Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters: National Book Awards
Isabel Allende continues to write and manage her Isabel Allende Foundation that promotes women’s and girls’ health and economic freedom in California and Chile.
Gracias for reading Fake Flamenco! Olé! -Rebecca