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In the Midst of Winter, by Isabel Allende.

October 16, 2017

<In the Midst of Winter
In the Midst of Winter, by Isabel Allende.

4 stars

Another new novel by a popular and important Chilean American woman.

In the 1980s, Isabel Allende burst on the scene with her House of the Spirits. She was among the first of many global women to expand American women’s understanding of what life was like for women beyond our provincial boundaries.  In doing so, she also introduced us to “magical realism,” a style of writing that incorporates spiritual or magical elements.  Now an American citizen, she has published many novels and won many awards.  Allende continues to writes today when she is in her seventies, sometimes dealing with issues of aging and dying.

In the Midst of Winter is set in New York where three individuals come together on an unlikely adventure.  Richard is the Director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean studies at New York University.  He is a reserved man, full of guilt over his past.  Lucia teaches in his program and lives in his basement.  Originally from Chile, she has come to terms with her own past.  Evelyn is a young undocumented woman from Guatemala who works as a nanny and brings complications into the lives of the other two.

I enjoyed this book, but I felt it lacked the lively energy I have come to expect from Allende.  Woven into the memories of the two women, however, was the Allende I had remembered.  Each of the characters recalls what had happened in their past. Lucia tells of the takeover of the Chilean government and the killing of its president, a man who was related to Allende. Evelyn remembers the period when violence was widespread in Guatemala.

I gladly recommend this book to all.  It is good, if not Allende’s best.  Reading it, I was inspired to reread House of the Spirits, which I also enjoyed.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 16, 2017 6:14 pm

    Hi Marilyn… I know I’m out of step here, but I’ve read House of Spirits and didn’t care for it, and then tried Daughter of Fortune and couldn’t make myself finish it. (And that was in the days when I almost never didn’t finish a book). By the sound of things, this one isn’t likely to make me change my mind…

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