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Of Love and Shadows by Isabel Allende
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Of Love and Shadows (1984)

by Isabel Allende

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (24)  Spanish (4)  Italian (2)  Swedish (2)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (35)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
While I get the fact that The Disappeared is a tragedy of epic proportions, and the world needed to sit up and notice when it was endemic in South America, to choose the medium of a shmaltzy, 1980s, Lady-Diana-hairstyle romance to portray it is just the wrong thing to do. It’s not equally tragic, but it’s somewhere on the scale.

Allende could write. For sure. I’m just not convinced, after two of her novels, that she could write well. This seems a shame for someone who apparently, according to the source of all knowledge (i.e. Wikipedia) “writes on a computer, working Monday through Saturday, 9:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.” If spending 84 hours a week produces the likes of this novel, then I for one am thankful she had all that time to edit. Goodness knows what state the book would have been if she’d knocked off early at 3 in the afternoon each day for a tequila.

So, there’s this country ruled by a military dictatorship but it’s a fictitious country, right? I mean, it can’t be Chile can it? Anyway, there’s this country and… no wait a minute… let’s cut the political scene and zoom in from this broad perspective to focus on one poor family struggling to survive with a husband who is a peripatetic circus entertainer (no kidding). They have a daughter who has fits. This, in the spiritual land that is South America, becomes something of a local attraction when it turns out that someone was apparently healed during one of her bouts.

Okay, let’s pan over to this couple working for a newspaper and start the shmaltz. He’s a young, handsome, intelligent photographer. She’s a young, handsome, intelligent journalist. Now, because this is post-Austen, we need some kind of reason why these two can’t get together so we can spend the rest of our efforts getting them together despite the odds (which we created in the first place.) Uhmmm… let’s see… oh yes… she’s engaged to this high up military guy (hark back to the politics) who she obediently loves without passion. See what she did there? Yep, gotta have that passion vacuum.

Right, the ingredients are prepared, let’s throw them together.

She and he head out to write a story on this epileptic girl and the military show up while she’s fitting and she kind of upsets one of them and so later gets abducted and disappears.

Having hauled ourselves up to the peak, we can now coast downhill to the finish gaining momentum all the way: investigate the disappearance, discover a cave full of bodies, risk their lives, fall out of obedience to the military guy and into a bed of passion with the photographer and then run for the hills. Sorted.

First off: a third of the novel is a waste of time. We actually don’t need to know anything at all about the girl who is abducted. In fact, it would have been more poignant had we started the book at the point of the investigation and then, like the investigators, piece together the stories of these apparently nameless corpses. Neither do we need the love story and scenes of sex in the moonlight which, quite frankly, insults the memory of the Disappeared in much the same way that a romance between investigators in the horrors of Auschwitz would denigrate the story of the victims.

More disturbing is the self-serving narrative. Allende has, from birth, been privileged, and there is little doubt that the character of Irene the journalist is based on her in some way because of the similarities in the narratives of their lives. As Irene, Allende had the wealth and connections that came with it, to flee. Those who ended up in caves of corpses did not. The tragedy of the Disappeared is that they were denied a hearing for their stories. If novelists are to deserve a voice, priority should surely be given to novelists who tell stories of the forcibly silenced. On the evidence of this novel, at least, that does not include Allende. ( )
  arukiyomi | Aug 9, 2018 |
Match found in the German National Library.
  glsottawa | Apr 4, 2018 |
I show this as crossed off my list, which implies I read it. But since all her stories are similar, I can't tell from the description. ( )
  Lit_Cat | Dec 9, 2017 |
The book centers around the families and lives of Irene and Francisco. Their relationship was interesting, the story the followed through the book was also interesting, but overall this book was not as strong as other Allende works. The political intrigue was well thought out, I enjoyed the idea of the disappeared people coming to light. I don't think the miracles of Evangelina was particularly important, and her relationship with her adoptive brother was jarring and didn't serve a plot purpose at all. ( )
  SadieRuin | Jul 21, 2017 |
I didn't find this book at all appealing, despite the passionate love story underlying it all. ( )
  siri51 | Nov 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
This is a novel about institutional violence, of the sort perpetrated by authoritarian states; it is about human rights and their loss, and the difficulty of documenting that loss, so as to move the collective conscience of the world.

Allende has married the world of magic and political evil most credibly.

 
Isabel Allende is a writer of deep conviction, but she knows that in the end it is people, not issues, who matter most. The people in Of Love and Shadows are so real, their triumphs and defeats are so faithful to the truth of human existence, that we see the world in miniature. This is precisely what fiction should do.



 

» Add other authors (40 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Allende, Isabelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beyer, NoralyPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grieken, Roderik vanAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juan, AnaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klatser, GinnyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morino, AngeloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Only love with its science makes us so innocent.
 - Violeta Parra
Dedication
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Dit is het verhaal van een vrouw en een man die elkaar onmetelijk lief hadden en zo konden ontsnappen aan de alledaagsheid van het bestaan. Ik heb het in mijn geheugen gegrift en gekoesterd, zodat de tijd het niet zou uitwissen en pas nu, in de sprakeloze nachten van deze plaats, kan ik het eindelijk vertellen. Dat doe ik voor hen en voor anderen die mij hun levensgeschiedenissen hebben toevertrouwd en tegen mij zeiden: hier, schrijf op, opdat ze niet vervliegen in de tijd. - I.A.
First words
The first sunny day of spring evaporated the dampness that had accumulated in the soil through the winter months, and warmed the fragile bones of old people who now could stroll the gentle orthopedic paths of the garden.
Quotations
"This is the story of a woman and a man who loved one another so deeply that they saved themselves from a banal existence. I have carried it in my memory, guarding it carefully so it would not be eroded by time, and it is only now, in the silent nights of this place, that I can finally tell it. I do it for them, and for others who have confided their lives to me, saying: Here, write it, or it will be erased by the wind."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
„Tai istorija apie moterį ir vyrą, kurie be atodairos mylėjo vienas kitą ir taip gelbėjosi nuo tuščios būties. Laikiau ją savo atmintyje, saugojau, kad laikas neišdildytų, ir tik dabar, būdama čia, tyliomis naktimis jau galiu ją papasakoti. Padarysiu tai dėl jų ir dėl kitų, kurie patikėjo man savo gyvenimo paslaptį sakydami: imk, rašyk, kad jos neišpustytų vėjas.“ Tie gražūs žodžiai leidžia suprasti knygą, kurioje vaizduotė ir tikrovė plaukia lygia greta. „Apie meilę ir šešėlius“, antrasis Isabelės Allendės romanas, apdainuoja meilę ir viltį. Pagrįstas tikrais faktais, kuriuos meistriška autorės plunksna pavertė nepamirštamu romanu, tas aistringas pasakojimas buvo ekranizuotas, pagal jį pastatytas didelio pasisekimo pasaulyje sulaukęs filmas, kuriame vaidina Antonio Banderas, Jennifer Connely ir Stefanija Sandrelli.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553383833, Paperback)

Beautiful and headstrong, Irene Beltrán works as a magazine journalist—a profession that belies her privileged upbringing and her engagement to an army captain. Her investigative partner is photographer Francisco Leal, the son of impoverished Spanish Marxist émigrés. Together, they form an unlikely but inseparable team—and Francisco quickly falls in love with the fierce and loyal Irene. When an assignment leads them to a young girl whom locals believe to possess miraculous powers, they uncover an unspeakable crime perpetrated by an oppressive regime. Determined to reveal the truth in a nation overrun by terror and violence, each will risk everything to find justice—and, ultimately, to embrace the passion and fervor that binds them.

Profoundly moving and ultimately uplifting, Of Love and Shadows is a tale of romance, bravery, and tragedy, set against the indelible backdrop of a country ruled with an iron fist—and peopled with those who dare to challenge it.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:17 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"Isabel Allende transports us to a Latin American country in the grip of a military dictatorship, where Irene Beltran, an upper-class journalist, and Francisco Leal, photographer son of a Marxist professor, together discover a hideous crime. They also discover how far they dare go in search of the truth in a nation of terror, and how very much they risk."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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