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Of Love and Shadows (1984)

by Isabel Allende

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,745423,701 (3.65)82
A woman reporter in a Latin American country and a photographer are sent on a routine assignment. The two uncover a hideous crime, the revelation of which could challenge the terrorism of the military regime.



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» See also 82 mentions

English (26)  Spanish (7)  Italian (3)  Swedish (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
El primer libro que leí todo en español. Allende, como siempre, me encantó con sus personajes y su narrativa. ( )
  ladyars | Jan 4, 2021 |
Ésta es la historia de una mujer y de un hombre que se amaron en plenitud, salvándose así de una existencia vulgar. Segunda novela de Isabel Allende, De amor y de sombra es un agudo testimonio de las dramáticas situaciones que se viven en ciertas regiones de América latina, al tiempo que un canto de amor y de esperanza.

Con ternura e impecable factura literaria, Isabel Allende perfila el destino de sus personajes como parte indisoluble del destino colectivo de un continente marcado por el mestizaje, las injusticias sociales y la búsqueda de la propia identidad.
  mirthasotelo | Mar 23, 2020 |
A very touching story set amidst the struggles of the people against the Chilean military junta. ( )
  ElizabethCromb | Mar 11, 2020 |
Not read yet. Entered by mistake when bought January 2020.
  ElizabethCromb | Jan 19, 2020 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (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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Only love with its science makes us so innocent.
 - Violeta Parra
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
”Questa è la storia di una donna e di un uomo che si amarono in pienezza, evitando così un'esistenza banale. L'ho serbata nella memoria affinché il tempo non la sciupasse ed è solo ora, nelle notti silenziose di questo luogo, che posso infine raccontarla. Lo farò per quell'uomo e quella donna che mi confidarono le loro vite dicendo: prendi, scrivi, affinché non lo cancelli il vento.”

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.
"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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A woman reporter in a Latin American country and a photographer are sent on a routine assignment. The two uncover a hideous crime, the revelation of which could challenge the terrorism of the military regime.

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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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Average: (3.65)
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