Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Invented Country By Isabelle Allende

My sister sent me a small box of books(I am so grateful!) and this one was included. Knowing Allende was a writer I would like(thanks Vicki!), I immediately started to read.

Isabelle Allende is related to the famous ex-president but not so directly. I believe her father(who left when she was very young-as she says "went to buy a pack of cigarettes and never returned" ) was a cousin. The book is really not very political. She speaks of the horror and it's interesting that she experienced Sept 11th 1973 in Chile and then Sept 11th 2001 in the US. And some reference to the coup as it relates to her state of mind. She left Chile after the coup(not wanting to raise her children under a dictatorship) and didn't return for many years.

But mostly the book is the thoughts of a woman who loves and understands Chile and her people and many of the customs. I laughed many times and agreed "yes, that is Chile". This is a book for anyone that wants to understand Chile or already does...or simply enjoys a nice story. I should have read it long ago and perhaps would have understood Chile better in the beginning.

The title, My Invented Country, comes from the stories she tells her grandchildren about Chile-and the children think perhaps she invented these stories for them. But I wondered later on-she "invented" a new life in a new country. She currently lives in California and perhaps she is speaking about the U.S. as well.

It is a book of nostalgia, as she freely says is the reason she writes the book but also that our memories are always colored by so many things that the book is her truth but maybe not everyone's.

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