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Island Beneath the Sea: A Novel (P.S.) by…

Island Beneath the Sea: A Novel (P.S.) (original 2009; edition 2011)

by Isabel Allende

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1,579854,624 (3.93)89
Title:Island Beneath the Sea: A Novel (P.S.)
Authors:Isabel Allende
Info:Harper Perennial (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library

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Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende (2009)

Recently added byatlasclouded, private library, giumara, Aminboldi, wm3395, petranderson
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English (63)  Dutch (8)  Spanish (6)  Italian (3)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (85)
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The book tells the story of Zarité, a slave who grows up on Haiti and during the slave rebellion stays with her owner to take care of his children. She travels with him to Cuba and later to America. In America she finally gets her freedom, but her past still haunts her.

I really loved this book. Allende has a great talent for telling historical stories. Her characters are lifelike and you soon grow attached to them and get very involved in their lives. The descriptions of the areas are great and really give you an idea of what life was like at that time.
One thing I really liked about this novel was how Allende shows the different viewpoints and manages to really give you some idea of how the slave-owners felt and thought. For me it is hard to imagine, but I do think these owners generally didn't view their slaves as 'human' and this book gives a good insight into what it might have been like to be a slave-owner in those days; especially Toulouse, who starts out with great ideals but ends bitter and cruel, is a character who really comes to life, even if he's not a 'nice guy'.

Though the story in itself is quite sad, and many bad things happen to Zarité and other slaves, it is also a positive story. It shows courage and strength and love, and shows how even in bad situations people can still find joy. Aside from the slave owners and the white people who look down on the slaves, there are also people who are genuinely concerned for the well being of the slaves and support them in their quest for freedom. ( )
  Britt84 | Apr 4, 2016 |
The story of the intertwined lives of a slave born in Saint-Domingue (Haiti) and the wealthy plantation owner who buys her when she is still a child. The Haitian Revolution and the reality of of the refugees new lives in New Orleans were illustrated with great detail. I loved both the historical storyline of the novel and the fabulous character development. ( )
  Darwa | Mar 18, 2016 |
Based on true historical events surrounding the time of revolution in what is now known as Haiti, this book is beautifully written. I found the characters well-rounded and the integration of historical events into a fictional story was well done, providing information and insight into the historical past without coming across as a textbook lecture. It is, at times, very difficult to read; the passages describing the inhumane and brutal treatment of the slaves are truly heartbreaking, but are, unfortunately, a reminder of a cruel and terrible truth in our history. ( )
  TracyCampbell | Feb 12, 2016 |
What a pleasant find! I accidentally found this book and just loved it as an audiobook. I was swept away by the cast of characters but was especially fascinated by the well-researched historical aspects of the book. ( )
  bjoelle5 | Feb 10, 2016 |
For a great portion of this book, I kept trying to figure out why the characters seemed so very, very familiar... almost as if I'd read the book before, years ago. But it was only published two years ago, and my memory isn't quite that bad! I even looked on the internet to try to find out if any excerpts had been previously published, or any short stories featuring the same characters... no.
Just as I sat down to write this review, I remembered: I went to see Allende at a live appearance, I believe shortly before this book was published, and she read a chapter from it!
So my memory may be bad, but...

So. That settled.
I really enjoyed this book. Yes, it can tend toward melodrama, but the events are suited to high drama. Allende has a real talent for creating rich settings and vivid characters. I feel that in this book, a complex time period and difficult social milieu is dealt with well, showing horrific situations from a multiplicity of perspectives, without shying away from the difficult aspects of showing slavery from both slaves' and masters' perspectives.

Zarite is a strong and memorable character - well, memorable enough that I felt like I knew her from hearing one chapter, even though I couldn't remember why!

I have to admit, after 'City of the Beasts,' I was about ready to give up on Allende... but she's still got it. I guess she just has an inexplicably poor opinion of the intelligence of younger people. ('City of the Beasts' was supposedly YA.) I know, I shouldn't even be talking about it in an unrelated review. But, boy did it suck! ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Isabel Allendeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Juan, AnaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Margaret Sayers PedenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Risvik, KariTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Risvik, KjellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my children, Nicolas and Lori
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In my forty years I, Zarite Sedella, have had better luck than other slaves.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061988243, Hardcover)

Born on the island of Saint-Domingue, Zarité—known as Tété—is the daughter of an African mother she never knew and one of the white sailors who brought her into bondage. Though her childhood is one of brutality and fear, Tété finds solace in the traditional rhythms of African drums and the voodoo loa she discovers through her fellow slaves.

When twenty-year-old Toulouse Valmorain arrives on the island in 1770, it’s with powdered wigs in his trunks and dreams of financial success in his mind. But running his father’s plantation, Saint Lazare, is neither glamorous nor easy. Although Valmorain purchases young Tété for his bride, it is he who will become dependent on the services of his teenaged slave.

Against the merciless backdrop of sugarcane fields, the lives of Tété and Valmorain grow ever more intertwined. When the bloody revolution of Toussaint Louverture arrives at the gates of Saint Lazare, they flee the brutal conditions of the French colony, soon to become Haiti, for the raucous, free-wheeling enterprise of New Orleans. There Tété finally forges a new life, but her connection to Valmorain is deeper than anyone knows and not easily severed. With an impressive richness of detail, and a narrative wit and brio second to none, Allende crafts the riveting story of one woman’s determination to find love amid loss, to offer humanity though her own has been so battered, and to forge a new identity in the cruelest of circumstances.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:47 -0400)

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"The story of a mulatta woman, a slave and concubine, determined to take control of her own destiny in a society where that would seem impossible"--Provided by publisher.

(summary from another edition)

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