(4 / 5) Violeta by Isabel Allende
I wanted to read Isabel Allende’s newest novel because my book club had read ‘Ines of my Soul’ last fall and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Allende’s writing is fantastic and her characters are intriguing and relatable. In this book, you are almost convinced this is a memoir rather than a novel because Allende tells the story with such a strong and detailed narrative voice.
This novel tells the life story of Violeta, a woman who is dictating her experiences to her grandson when she is 100 yrs. old. She was born in 1920 in the middle of the Spanish flu pandemic in South America and dies in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. Over these 100 years she experiences the rise and fall of governments, nations, social movements, as well as her own personal joys and sorrows.
In both of the books I have read written by Isabel Allende, her characters are full of flaws and continually make the same mistakes which makes them ‘real’ and interesting rather than monolithic and generic. Allende has the ability to portray the complicated feelings/decisions of her characters in a way that adds depth to the story and makes you want to keep on reading. (And sometimes, throw the book against the wall because the protagonist just made the SAME MISTAKE AGAIN!) But this is often what happens in real life which contributes to this particular novel reading like a memoir even though it’s a fiction novel.
If you enjoy being swept away to another time and place while reading beautifully written prose, Isabel Allende is an author you should check out. I would recommend both, ‘Ines of my Soul’ (historical fiction) and ‘Violeta’ (fiction novel/fiction memoir) as you will not be disappointed by either.
Read on my friends!
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