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A Satisfying Read
on 22 May 2017
To be honest if this hadn’t been the next read for my local book group I would never have read it. The reason being for this is because it does contain magic realism, something which I am not a big fan of.
We follow the Trueba family here which the story centres around, and it has to be admitted more around the female members, over a number of years. There is no mention of the country where this takes place but it seems pretty obviously to be Chile, where the author grew up and where her cousin was President of the country for a while. Due to this we can see some similarities between the author’s own family and the Trueba family that appear here, especially as we have both families involved in politics.
Following this family we have a peek into this post-Colonial world, which is in many ways similar to the whole of Latin America, giving perhaps a snapshot of the history of this vast expanse of land. To be honest I did not think that the magic realism added anything to the story and this would have worked just as well without it.
Taking in different periods we see how the socialists and communists fare and against the other parties and ideologies, and thus this takes in guerrillas, bribery, corruption and all the usual things we think of in times of political unrest. This does make for an interesting read, though at times you do find yourself thinking of Gabriel García Márquez, and his novel ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’, and I think that this book by Isabel Allende has been translated into the same languages. As with the novel by García Márquez this does take some patience to read, and is therefore not something you can rush through, otherwise you will miss certain key elements.
In all quite an enjoyable and thoughtful read this will not appeal to everyone, and I can easily understand why some people will just give up reading it. This is far from perfect, and has met with some criticism over the years, but it still makes for a satisfying enough read.