The Stories of Eva Luna

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Simon and Schuster, 1999 - Fiction - 330 pages
2 Reviews
Isabel Allende now ranks as one of the world's most beloved authors. In 1988, she introduced the world to Eva Luna, in a novel of the same name that recounted the adventurous life of a poor young Latin American woman who finds friendship, love, and some measure of worldly success through her powers as a storyteller. Her most ambitious novel up to that time, "Eva Luna" was described by the "Washington Post" as "a cascade of stories [that] tumbles out before the reader, stories vivid, passionate and human." Returning to this tale by popular demand, Allende unveiled "The Stories of Eva Luna" in 1991. A treasure trove of brilliantly crafted tales, the book showed us once again why "Eva Luna" and her much-celebrated creator have won such a large and devoted readership.

We begin with Rolf Carle, the European refugee, journalist, and lover who figured so largely in "Eva Luna." Lying in bed with Eva Luna, he asks her to tell him a story. "What about?" she asks. "Tell me a story you have never told anyone before. Make it up for me." And so she does, giving Rolf Carle and the reader twenty-three vibrant, enchanting demonstrations of her artistry. Here are "compesinos" and rich people, guerrillas and fortune-tellers, great beauties and tyrants, the foreign rendered indelibly familiar. Here is Clarisa, "born before the city had electricity, she lived to see television coverage of the first astronaut levitating on the moon, and she died of amazement when the Pope came for a visit and was met in the street by homosexuals dressed up as nuns"; here is El Capitan, who waited for forty years before proposing to his dancing partner; Horacio Fortunato, a circus owner and entrepreneur, whose encounterwith a languid foreign woman will force him to change his roguish ways even as he attempts to court her; Maurizia Rugieri, who abandons her husband and child for a young medical student, converting their life together into an opera of her own design; Nicholas Vidal, who "had always known that a woman would cost him his life" but never suspected that it would be the wife of Judge Hidalgo; Raid Halbi, once again displaying his concern and wisdom for the people of Agua Santa; Marcia Liberman, the wife of a European diplomat, whose brief affair with the President for Life of an unnamed Latin American country has startling rewards...

Love, vengeance, nostalgia, compassion, irony -- Isabel Allende leaves no emotion untouched in these stories. Opulently imagined, stirringly told, they confirm her place as one of the world's leading writers.


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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A collection of magical-realist short stories narrated by Allende's recent heroine, Eva Luna (Eva Luna, 1988; Of Love and Shadows, 1987; The House of Spirits, 1985), which are set in nameless Latin ... Read full review

The stories of Eva Luna

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Born in Chile but now living in Northern California, Allende is the first female Latin American novelist to become well-known to the American reading public. Her novels-- The House of the Spirits ( LJ ... Read full review


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About the author (1999)

Born in Peru, Isabel Allende is a member of the distinguished South American family once headed by Salvador Allende, Chile's popular leftist president deposed in the CIA-backed Pinochet coup of 1973. Fleeing first to Venezuela and then to the United States, she worked as a journalist for many years and only began to write fiction in 1981. The result was the widely acclaimed international best-seller The House of the Spirits, which was soon followed by the novels Of Love and Shadows and Eva Luna. In 1995, Allende's memoir, Paula, which centered upon her struggle to care for her beloved and comatose daughter, appeared to universal admiration. Isabel Allende is also the author of The Infinite Plan, Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses, and Daughter of Fortune. She lives in San Rafael, California.

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