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Eva Luna (1987)

by Isabel Allende

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,992702,087 (3.81)166
An exotic dance that beguiles and entices... The enchanted and enchanting account of a contemporary Scheherazade, a wide-eyed American teller-of-tales who triumphs over harsh reality through the creative power of her own imagination...From the Paperback edition.

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» See also 166 mentions

English (49)  Spanish (11)  Italian (4)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (70)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
For about 30 years I’ve been a fan of Isabel Allende's work, starting with her amazing “The House of the Spirits” (highly recommended as an introduction to her work). Allende’s style of magical realism, her strong storytelling and her beautiful prose so far have always managed to capture my heart.

"Eva Luna" was no exception to this rule: Allende's writing is lush and evocative, and she creates a vivid sense of place and time. The unnamed South American country in which the novel is set is brought to life with rich detail, from the bustling streets of the city to the quiet beauty of the countryside. Allende's descriptions of the natural world are particularly striking, and she imbues even the most mundane objects with a sense of magic and wonder. The way she weaves in themes of magical realism throughout the novel is truly masterful.

Even though the country is never named, it never ceases to fascinate me that it’s strongly inspired by Allende’s native Chile. She has acknowledged that the novel draws heavily on her own experiences growing up in Chile, and many of the political and social events depicted in this and many of her other novels are based on real-life events that occurred in Chile during the 20th century. I remember the grim news of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet who overthrew and assassinated democratically elected President Salvador Allende who was Allende's cousin. To me, this makes Allende’s work even more important.

The character of Eva Luna is also a standout. Eva’s gift for storytelling is a central element of the novel, and Allende uses it to explore the power of narrative and its ability to shape reality. Eva is a complex and compelling character, and I found myself rooting for her throughout the novel. Her resilience in the face of adversity is inspiring, and her ability to find joy and beauty in even the darkest of circumstances is a testament to the human spirit.

The novel's exploration of political turmoil and social injustice is also powerful. Allende does not shy away from difficult topics, and she portrays the violence and oppression of the time with unflinching honesty. Rolf Carlé, a guerilla fighter and Eva's love interest, is particularly compelling in this regard. His passion for justice and his willingness to risk everything for his beliefs are both admirable and heartbreaking.

However, I do have some reservations about the novel. At times, the plot can feel disjointed, and the jumps in time can be confusing. Additionally, some of the secondary characters feel underdeveloped, and their motivations remain unclear. The novel's episodic structure can also make it feel like a series of loosely connected stories rather than a cohesive narrative.

The novel's themes of love, power, and storytelling itself are universal and both these themes and the story itself - despite having been published almost 40 years ago - feel timeless and relevant independently of age and place.

Four out of five stars.

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Ceterum censeo Putin esse delendam ( )
  philantrop | May 6, 2023 |
  archivomorero | Dec 15, 2022 |
  archivomorero | Dec 15, 2022 |
A beautifully written celebration of the senses, this historical fiction is set in an unnamed South American country and recounts the life of Eva Luna. The story opens in the early twentieth century with Eva’s mother’s tragic life story, including Eva’s birth. It then follows Eva as she moves from place to place, encountering challenges and developing friendships. Eva is a strong female who must make her way in the world with little assistance. Orphaned at an early age, her life is full of sorrow, but she gradually learns she is a gifted storyteller and she uses this gift to barter for what she needs. She encounters an assortment of diverse and colorful characters from many socioeconomic and political backgrounds. One of these characters, Rolf, is the subject of a significant sub-plot, which details his childhood and emigration to South America.

The book is character driven. There is no predominant plotline that encompasses the entire novel; however, Eva’s life is eventful, full of drama, deprivation, political struggles, and personal challenges. Allende’s writing is lyrical, full of imagery and emotion. Eva suffers, and it is easy to empathize with her. Eva relates segments of her imaginative stories, showing the power of storytelling to both escape from suffering and inspire hope for the future. At times the storyline ventures into unlikely scenarios and coincidences, and it could have used a bit more information on Eva’s age at each major event during the timeline. Allende is known for employing magical realism, and uses it here, but not in an overpowering way. Recommended to those who enjoy tales of overcoming adversity or the power of storytelling.
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (1986)
  sharibillops | May 20, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Isabel Allendeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Angelo MorinoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juan, AnaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mora, ElsaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viyangoda, GaminiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Then he said to Scheherazade: 'Sister, for the sake of Allah, tell us a story that will help pass the night ...'

     --A Thousand and One Tales of the Arabian Nights
who gave me a lot of stories
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My name is Eva, which means 'life', according to a book of names my mother consulted.
Information from the Spanish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
La muerte no existe, la gente sólo muere cuando la olvidan; si puedes recordarme, siempre estaré contigo
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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An exotic dance that beguiles and entices... The enchanted and enchanting account of a contemporary Scheherazade, a wide-eyed American teller-of-tales who triumphs over harsh reality through the creative power of her own imagination...From the Paperback edition.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141045558, 0241951658


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