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Allende, Isabel

Allende, Isabel, 1942–, Chilean novelist. Since the 1973 coup in which her cousin, President Salvador Allende Gossens, died, 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 both with 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 magical feminism 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 (2000, tr. 2001); Inés of My Soul (2006, tr. 2006), the fictionalized life of a 16th-century conquistadora; and Island beneath the Sea (2009, tr. 2010), a tale of the 18th-century Haitian slave revolution. A Long Petal of the Sea (2019, tr. 2020) tells of a pregnant woman and her lover's brother who flee Franco's victory in Spain and marry to survive and ultimately develop a strong relationship in exile, where they hope in vain to return to Spain. Allende also wrote three memoirs (1994, 1997, 2003).

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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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