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My Invented Country: A Nostalgic Journey…

My Invented Country: A Nostalgic Journey through Chile (2003)

by Isabel Allende

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (25)  Spanish (3)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  German (1)  All languages (31)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
As a (formerly) huge fan of Jane the Virgin it did not escape my awareness that Jane's favorite author was Ms Allende. The House of the Spirits was on my tbr for a million years until I decided to give it the boot because ghost stories are just not my thing. I've noticed magical realism isn't my thing in general but whatever. I still wanted to read Ms Allende's work so I picked up a memoir which happened to be this one.

Best book I read all month. Everyone has some level of pride in their culture or heritage. Allende just got the chance to write about it. With a nostalgic flare present in every page she recalls her memories of her home country of Chile. It was so detailed and charming that the country was almost added to my dream destinations (I'm also Latin American but with a North American immune system and by the description of how sick her ex-husband got when they visited the place I don't think I would fend much better).

I can't describe her writing but there's something very wordy and long yet she chooses simple images so that it doesn't feel like a chore to get through the crazy long paragraphs she writes. I imagine that's how her normal fictional books go as well but as I've stated before I doubt I'll get to one unless it's not one with magical realism.

There were some passages that I absolutely loved and shared with friends and family. I couldn't get enough of this book even if I am not Chilean myself. ( )
  Jessika.C | Oct 16, 2018 |
Lots about Chile and the Chilean people - while I have not met anyone from Chile, when I do, I will know they are typically serious, spiritual and don't dance much. Stopped reading towards the end with the complicated political history of Chile - sorry Isabel. ( )
  siri51 | Jul 18, 2018 |
Ms. Allende writes about her country, Chile, where she was born and lived her formative years. She realizes that (as memories tend to do) the country she describes is a lot more in her mind than reality. A sweet book and her life in Chile and afterwards. A good reference about people of Chile in general including the coup of General Pinochet on 9/11/73 (assisted or due to U.S)
  camplakejewel | Sep 27, 2017 |
Two recent events have triggered this avalanche of memories. The first was a casual observation by my grandson Alejandro, who surprised me at the mirror scrutinizing the map of my wrinkles and said, with compassionate commiseration, "Don’t worry, Grandmother, you’re going to live at least three more years." I decided right then and there that the time had come to take another look at my life, in order to know how I wanted to live those three years that had been so generously granted.

By the time I got to the end of the introduction, I was already loving this book. Margaret Sayers Peden did a really good job, as the great writing shines through from the very first page.

Allende describes the character of Chile and its people, and the idiosyncrasies of her own family, through the eyes of an exile. Her family of eccentrics has provided material for her novels since the beginning, when The House of the Spirits began life as a letter to her dying grandfather and based on anecdotes he had told her about his family.

I grew up surrounded by secrets, mysteries, whispers, prohibitions, matters that must never be mentioned. I owe a debt of gratitude to the countless skeletons hidden in our armoire because they planted the seeds of literature in my life. In every story I write I try to exorcise one of them.

Luckily Alejandro was wrong in giving his grandmother 3 years to live, as this book was published over a decade ago, and according to a recent Ted talk, Isabel Allende continues to live a passionate life. ( )
  isabelx | Nov 9, 2014 |
i'm tempted to give this a higher rating, but i think that would reflect more how i felt coming in and leaving the book, and less how i felt through much of the middle. she really did start and end extremely well, though. and the rest was ok, just not great. she tells you in the beginning (really even in the title's byline) that she will be meandering through memories, and much of the book reads like a vague rambling or a mishmash of events that i wanted to be more cohesive, or more in depth. (in her defense, she not only warns that this is what the book will be, but reminds the reader about 2/3 of the way in: "But that's how nostalgia is: a slow dance in a large circle." i did love that quote, and the image it invokes of the time she spends with her memories and where it takes her.) reading this does lend a little more insight into her other books, and makes me very much want to visit the south of chile.

while i seem to not connect as much as i'd like to with much of her writing these days, i also find some of her language incomparably lovely. when talking about the spirits of her dead family, she says: "They are simply memories that come to me and that from being caressed so often gradually acquire flesh." ( )
  elisa.saphier | Nov 1, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Isabel Allendeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brown, BlairNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peden, Margaret SayersTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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. . . for some reason or other, I am a sad exile.

In some way or other, our land travels with me

and with me too, though far, far away, live the

longitudinal essences of my country.

     -- Pablo Neruda, 1972
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Let's begin at the beginning, with Chile, that remote land that few people can locate on the map because it's as far as you can go without falling off the planet.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060545674, Paperback)

"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 to Chile, Allende says she has "been an outsider nearly all my life." Her stepfather was a diplomat, so her family moved quite frequently. 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, language, its heroes and villains, and the government.

Allende fled Chile after the military coup on September 11, 1973. Twenty-eight years later, and now living in the United States, this date haunts her when terrorists attack New York City and Washington, D.C. 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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:05 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Isabel Allende evokes the magnificent landscapes of her country; a charming, idiosyncratic Chilean people with a violent history and an indomitable spirit, and the politics, religion, myth, and magic of her homeland that she carries with her even today. The book circles around two life-changing moments. The assassination of her uncle Salvador Allende Gossens on September 11, 1973, sent her into exile and transformed her into a literary writer. And the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, on her adopted homeland, the United States, brought forth an overdue acknowledgment that Allende had indeed left home. My Invented Country, mimicking the workings of memory itself, ranges back and forth across that distance between past and present lives. It speaks compellingly to immigrants and to all of us who try to retain a coherent inner life in a world full of contradictions.… (more)

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