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My Invented Country: A Nostalgic Journey Through Chile by [Allende, Isabel]
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My Invented Country: A Nostalgic Journey Through Chile Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Amazon Review

"Nostalgia is my vice," admits Isabel Allende in My Invented Country. A question about nostalgia propels an exploration of her past, including the complicated history and politics of Chile, where she spent the better part of her childhood. Despite her strong connection with Chile, Allende says she has been an outsider nearly all her life. Her stepfather was a diplomat, so her family moved quite frequently. However, in her travel diary Allende compares everything to Chile, her "one eternal reference" point.

"From saying goodbye so often my roots have dried up," she notes. She successfully reclaims them, however, through two channels. Allende relays anecdotes about what she calls her untraditional family--whom she has based some of her novels upon, including The House of the Spirits. Like a few of her novels, though, her own story is lost in heavy policy analysis. Interspersed among her ancestors' tales is an all-too-exhaustive report of Chile: the terrain, its people, customs and language, its heroes and villains and its government.

Allende fled Chile after the military coup on September 11, 1973. Twenty-eight years later and now living in the United States, she is haunted by this date when terrorists attack New York City and Washington, DC. Allende admits that the place she is homesick for may have never existed. In spite of that, Allende asserts that she can live and write anywhere: "I don't belong to one land, but to several, or perhaps only to the ambit of the fiction I write." The irony is that she steadfastly has "one foot in Chile and another here". --C.J. Carrillo, Amazon.com


‘Allende’s writing is so vivid we smell the countryside, hear the sounds, see the bright birds, the scorched earth, smell and even taste the soft fruit.’ The Times

‘Allende has a gift for conversational writing and a sharp sense of humour…I very much enjoyed this visit to the other Chile, that half-remembered country of her imagination.’ New Statesman

‘Allende is incapable of telling a bad story. She writes of her own experience with a kind of wild candour. Her heroically sustained narrative, her lovingly prepared plots and surprise inventions explode in an exaltation.’ Independent

‘Lucid, original and expounded with an unquestionable sense of humor…part essay and part autobiography…When Allende poses sweeping general truths, she leaves room for argument…But the book gets my undivided attention when it expounds on the relationship of the author to that country of hers, invented, imaginary, fictional, to the story of her family, which is itself invented memory, and to her vocation as a narrator…It will provoke curiosity. And that is where everything begins.’ LA Times

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 852 KB
  • Print Length: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1st edition (25 Mar. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00I7UYBA0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #153,069 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The past is a fascinating land in which we all dwell at one time or another, and in My Invented Country, Isabel Allende discusses her relationship with the country of her birth, Chile. She crafts a wandering, wondering work of mystical proportions; discussing the influence of her colourful family (in particular, her grandfather) and the times in which she lived as a child. There is no narrative imperative in this work but this discussion of the spirit of the Chilean people and how they've come through a veritable patchwork of governments in the last few centuries is utterly enthralling.
What falls into place around you as you read, is a rich and vibrant land which the author admits may never have even existed and may simply exist in her mind, due to her lengthy exile from Chile during the Pinochet years. But in bringing her vision of Chile to the reader, she also brings something of herself. Her writing, her imagination, her influences, her spirit. Undoubtedly an intriguing woman and an intriguing land. Read it today.
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Format: Hardcover
I've just finished reading this book, I've read almost all of Allende's novels including Paula which is very personal and also autobiographical in nature. This book, though, is short and funny in places and takes you through Mrs Allende's life as well as gives you some insight into her character. I think to get a wider picture one has to read Paula in conjunction to this novel.
But this is not to say I didn't enjoy it, its filled with her signature descriptive narrative, in the first few pages of this book she writes such a line: "I am as old as aspirin". She takes you through the tumultuous polical history of her native country of Chilie to her present life in the United States. She also gives some insight into what it really feels like to be an immigrant, never being able to set your roots anywhere for too long, and how difficult and often isolated one can feel when trying to integrate into a new place or culture.
What makes this book so straight forward and approachable in nature is it reads almost like a travel piece. Allende takes you on a journey through Chilie from what they eat, how they dress and how they behave. She gets into the mindset of the people of the Chilie and gives you their streotypes and tries to explain why they tend to behave as they do sometimes. Its not at all offensive, on the contrary I think you'll find you will recognise many of these characteristics in alot of people. I love her for doing that. Not many writers in the West are so honest when they speak about the mannerisms or behaviour of other cultures in case they might offend some readers. Allende's however treats her readers as adults and tells it like it is.
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Format: Paperback
I wasn't sure what to expect from My Invented Country as I'm pretty sure I've not yet read any of Isabel Allende's novels. What I got was gently nostalgic reminiscences of her childhood and adolescence, sprinkled with witty and sharp observations of not only Chile, but also Allende's adopted countries since the 1970s, primarily Venezuela and the USA, and the contrasts between them. I knew little, also, of Chile other than the name of Pinochet so was fascinated to learn insignificant details of daily life and the national culture, pre-Pinochet. Allende's love for the natural landscape comes across continually thoughout her memoir and she makes it sound like a fabulous country to tour. Could we get our caravan across the Atacama Desert do you think?

Allende's starting points for many of her reminiscences are members of her eccentric extended family, all of whom she admits are perfect fodder for a writer! I was irritated by abrupt stops where she would indicate that a tale had already been included in a novel so she 'wouldn't repeat it here'. Now I have to go and buy some of the novels too! I am very tempted by her first, The House Of The Spirits, now though, especially as I learned how it came about.

Allende's criticisms of present-day Chile, its rampant commercialism and ostentatious shows of personal wealth were disappointing to read as perhaps now it is just becoming like everywhere else. This sentence:
'Freedom consists of having many brand names to choose from when you go out to buy on credit' was striking and made me wonder if I have missed Chile as an individual country, perhaps it is more prevalent in Santiago.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Isabel Allende writes from a personal perspective-if you are a fan you'll love this book. You can see how moments in her life has been reflected in her books. Interesting facts about the Military Coup of the eightees.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this book warm and funny and loved her style. it was a " Couldn't put down one". Found her take on politics very interesting and informative. Life in States brushed over a bit....would have liked more but maybe another book on same.
Have read a few of her novels and like them also.
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