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

by Isabel Allende

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1,330705,839 (3.91)76
Member:edc1951
Title:Island Beneath the Sea: A Novel (P.S.)
Authors:Isabel Allende
Info:Harper Perennial (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende (2009)

Recently added bydiana.n, flourgirl49, private library, Dreamchen, Julia.Reeb, maddykissling
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» See also 76 mentions

English (49)  Dutch (8)  Spanish (6)  Italian (3)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (70)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
First of all, I have to say I listened to the audiobook in Italian, read by an actress who unfortunately did a terrible job. She read the whole thing with a tone of amused delight, which is the farthest she could possibly go from the horrific ugliness described in this book. So, please bear with me.

It's not that I didn't like the story. It's the combination writer / italian reader that I really, really didn't like.

As for the book itself, I am fascinated by the history of Haiti, but Allende's characters meant less than nothing to me. Look at the book cover - you see how impersonal, flat and bi-dimensional that drawing of a girl's face looks? That's exactly how Allende's characters come across in the book: they feel fake, as if they were talking stereotypes, marionettes, who never once become truly alive.

I could never empathize with anyone. The only true feeling that I could sense throughout the novel was boredom. And perhaps that of being a victim of cruelty... question mark?

In other words: ok, the bare bones of this story are extremely unpleasant. Fine, but at least give me some damn adventure or thrills. Nothing at all, only a bit at the end, too late to save the book. Another writer, like for example Ken Follett, while sparing nothing of the violence and ugliness, would have written the story in a totally different way, providing that true conflict, dynamism and excitement that this book is totally lacking.

So when i think of Allende I now have this image of an old lady sitting in her neatly organized living room and droning on about this boring story, told with bitterness and a hint of sadistic pleasure, while seeping her tea. Her style is called "magic realism" because in the middle of an ornate, poetic and elegant descritpion she will use the word "shit" instead of feces. How magic! She is of course speaking in Spanish, and she has a crazy Italian translator next to her who translates every sentence for me with a spirited smile on her face, as if it was the highest form of poetry she has ever heard.

Right. Not good. ( )
  tabascofromgudreads | Apr 19, 2014 |
First of all, I have to say I listened to the audiobook in Italian, read by an actress who unfortunately did a terrible job. She read the whole thing with a tone of amused delight, which is the farthest she could possibly go from the horrific ugliness described in this book. So, please bear with me.

It's not that I didn't like the story. It's the combination writer / italian reader that I really, really didn't like.

As for the book itself, I am fascinated by the history of Haiti, but Allende's characters meant less than nothing to me. Look at the book cover - you see how impersonal, flat and bi-dimensional that drawing of a girl's face looks? That's exactly how Allende's characters come across in the book: they feel fake, as if they were talking stereotypes, marionettes, who never once become truly alive.

I could never empathize with anyone. The only true feeling that I could sense throughout the novel was boredom. And perhaps that of being a victim of cruelty... question mark?

In other words: ok, the bare bones of this story are extremely unpleasant. Fine, but at least give me some damn adventure or thrills. Nothing at all, only a bit at the end, too late to save the book. Another writer, like for example Ken Follett, while sparing nothing of the violence and ugliness, would have written the story in a totally different way, providing that true conflict, dynamism and excitement that this book is totally lacking.

So when i think of Allende I now have this image of an old lady sitting in her neatly organized living room and droning on about this boring story, told with bitterness and a hint of sadistic pleasure, while seeping her tea. Her style is called "magic realism" because in the middle of an ornate, poetic and elegant descritpion she will use the word "shit" instead of feces. How magic! She is of course speaking in Spanish, and she has a crazy Italian translator next to her who translates every sentence for me with a spirited smile on her face, as if it was the highest form of poetry she has ever heard.

Right. Not good. ( )
  tabascofromgudreads | Apr 19, 2014 |
Very disappointed! It was like sitting through a boring history lesson. The lack of depth to the characters seemed so unlike what I expect in a novel by Allende, and overall it felt pedantic. ( )
  hemlokgang | Jan 28, 2014 |
A great story on the history of slavery on the plantations in Haiti and in the Louisiana Territory in the late 18th century by one of my favorite authors. ( )
  Joanne53 | Nov 24, 2013 |
The setting of the sugar plantations in early Haiti became very real as did early New Orleans. I felt the characters were honestly drawn and believable. Obviously the author has done her research on the historical events of the time. My only complaint was that there were a few too many times when coincidence played too large a part. What are the chances of meeting up with "long lost" lovers, sons, daughters after many years and many miles. However, that did not take away from an engrossing read. Another good read from Allende. ( )
  maryreinert | Aug 17, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Isabel Allendeprimary authorall 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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:57 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

"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)

» see all 8 descriptions

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