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Island Beneath the Sea Paperback – 9 Jun 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (9 Jun. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007348657
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007348657
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 85,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Peru and raised in Chile, Isabel Allende is the author of nine novels, including Inès of My Soul, Daughter of Fortune, and Portrait in Sepia. She has also written a collection of stories, four memoirs, and a trilogy of children's novels. Her books have been translated into more than twenty-seven languages and have become bestsellers across four continents. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Isabel Allende lives in California.

Product Description

Review

'”Island Beneath the Sea” is a seductive, intoxicating saga. It starts with slavery, forbidden relationships and rebellion in Haiti, and expands to include struggles over secret children, racial castes and family heirs in Louisiana. Isabel Allende's latest novel is sweeping, provocative and impossible to put down' Lawrence Hill, author of ‘The Book of Negroes’

‘A complex and involving saga of human passions and cruelties’ TLS

'A magical storyteller' Daily Mail

'Allende's writing is so vivid we smell the countryside, hear the sounds, see the bright birds, smell and even taste the soft fruit' The Times

‘A truly wonderful piece of storytelling – a novel that pulls the reader into its rich, pungent world, and drives us along, dancing helplessly to the beat of the sorceress Allende’s drum’ Tablet

‘Allende is a brilliant storyteller … a rich and beautiful read’ The Stylist

‘Allende adroitly explores the role of the era's free people of color … Island Benath the Sea is a lush lesson of a moment and place all too relevant today.’ USA Today

About the Author

Isabel Allende was born in 1942, and is the niece of Salvador Allende, who went on to become famous as the elected President of Chile deposed in a CIA-backed coup. Her first novel for adults, ‘The House of the Spirits’, was published in Spanish in 1982, beginning life as a letter to her dying grandfather. It was an international sensation, and ever since her books have been acclaimed and adored in numberless translations worldwide.


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By KOMET on 10 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
When I read a novel, I hope that I will be presented with a compelling story peopled by characters with whom I can relate, be they kind, virtuous, noble, loving, selfish, hateful, or vindictive. In that respect, "Island Beneath the Sea" won me over completely.

The story is centered around 3 families and spans the years 1770 to 1810. Toulouse Valmorain arrives on the island of Saint Domingue in 1770, as a man aged 20, to assume ownership and responsibility for a plantation his family has established there (Saint-Lazare). He is a young man with egalitarian ideas, as well as an atheist. He mixes in as best he can with the stratified society that defines Saint Domingue, France's wealthiest colony, largely based on sugar and slave labor. "Toulouse Valmorain spent the first years lifting Saint-Lazare from devastation and was unable to travel outside the colony even once. He lost contact with his mother and sisters, except for sporadic, rather formal letters that reported only the banalities of everyday life and health. After his failure with two French managers, he hired a mulatto as head overseer of the plantation, a man named Prosper Cambray, and then found more time to read, to hunt, and travel to Le Cap. There he had met Violette Boisier, the most sought after cocotte of the city, a free young woman with the reputation of being clean and healthy, African by heritage, and white in appearance..."

Valmorain and Violette had a passionate relationship til he, on a visit to Cuba to visit his business associate, a Spaniard named Sancho Garcia del Solar, introduces him to his younger sister Eugenia, freshly arrived from a nunnery in Madrid. Valmorain and Eugenia marry and return to Saint Domingue.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gerry Mac on 20 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
Yet another wonderful saga from Isabel Allende, though I often wonder how much credit should go to the translator of all her novels, Margaret Sayers Peden. Her thoughtfully descriptive prose and insightful imagery are both seductively woven into the driving narrative of Allende's works. 'Island Beneath the Sea' exemplifies the great strengths of both women in this novel of 18th century slave cruelty and revolution, while still capturing the essence of what makes us human...love, longing, loss, liberation. Go treat yourself!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rosa on 6 July 2010
Format: Hardcover
Fantastic book!
I read it in Spanish and couldn't put it down.
It could be your best companion when sitting by the pool with a nice glass of wine on your holidays.
Thoroughly recommend it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 1 May 2013
Format: Paperback
I loved Isabel Allende's early novels (up to and including The Infinite Plan and her heartbreaking memoir, Paula): she has a knack for creating wonderfully vivid, complex characters, wonderful stories teetering on the brink of magical realism but still believable, and brilliant settings. And in her early works she also had most original plots. In her more recent novels (largely historical novels with a strong romantic component), however, Allende has tended to resort to plots that make a good romantic adventure story but are rather low on subtlety, and on slightly cliched characters: the brave, devoted and poor young heroine, the reckless young lover, the bold courtesan, the villainous and lecherous older man, the overweight dowager figure. And 'Island Beneath the Sea' is no exception. Set in the Caribbean and later in Louisiana from the period just before the French Revolution until the 1820s, it is a rattling good adventure story, with plenty of sex and romance, but is packed with historical and romantic cliches.

Toulouse Valmorain, a poor Parisian aristocrat, comes to Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) to run a sugar plantation. He does well, makes his fortune, and also becomes a regular lover of Saint-Domingue's most beautiful courtesan, Violette Boisier, a clever woman of mixed race who has managed her business so that she can live in luxury. However, Toulouse realizes fairly soon that he must marry, and selects an elegant young Spanish woman, Eugenia Garcia, to be his wife. He hires Zarite (known as Tete), a young girl born into slavery, as Eugenia's maid. Tete is the leading character for much of the novel, some of which is narrated by her in the first person, some of which is told in the third person. Tete has a hard life.
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By Gail Cooke TOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 Jun. 2010
Format: Audio CD
For fans of television's popular series Law & Order S. Epatha Merkerson is a familiar name. However, although her six year stay as Lt. Anita Van Buren on that program brought her many accolades, it is only a small part of her resume.

Raised in Detroit, Michigan, Merkerson was a dance major at Wayne State University until a friend asked her to come to attend the friend's drama class. It was there that she discovered what she truly wanted to do. So, after graduation she headed for New York City to carve out a career as an actress.

It was not too long before her gifts were recognized - she earned a Tony nomination for best actress for her role in The Piano Lesson as well as the Drama Desk Award and the Helen Hayes Award. Television and screen roles followed.

Many of us recall not only Merkerson's first-rate performances but her voice - a tad husky yet clear, resonant. Listeners will thoroughly enjoy her reading of Isabel Allende's spellbinding ISLAND BENEATH THE SEA.

Set in the French colony that will later become Haiti and using the revolt of 1804 plus several historical figures in her narrative the multi talented author relates the story of Zarite, called Tete. Her life is a mirror in which we see reflected the horrors of slavery, and the brutality of the lives endured by those who worked on the sugar cane plantations.

Tete is the mulatto daughter of a mother she never knew and a white sailor. When Toulouse Valmorain arrives in 1770 he intends that his visit will be brief. However, he inherits his father's vast holdings - plantations and hundreds of slaves. He buys Tete as his wife's slave little knowing how their lives will intertwine.
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