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Creator / Isabel Allende

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Isabel Allende Llona (born August 2, 1942) is a Chilean writer, living in The United States, with a lot of success worldwide. She is not the daughter of former Chilean President Salvador Allende as some might believe, but rather his niece (Salvador and Isabel's dad are cousins); a mistake easy to make, since Salvador Allende does have a daughter named Isabel Allende Bussi, a career politician in Chile.

Due to some Hype Backlash and the concept of True Art for some people, she is very much a polarizing author. The press has lauded her many times, but people like critic Harold Bloom or fellow Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño have bashed her numerous times, accusing her of churning out commercial literature, reinforcing female stereotypes, plagiarizing Gabriel García Márquez or just plain being a bad writer. In her native country, the vitriol is ten times more accentuated, especially considering how heavily some of her books lean towards What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?.

These considerations moved fellow writer Camilo Marks to write: "There's two ways to read Isabel Allende. The first consists on scrutizing every defect of her books, exposing them in detail and send her to the pits of Hell by an unappealable, self-satisfied, founded guilty verdict. The second is built on the premise that it is legitimate to spend a good time reading her narrations, as they are entertaining, it's not hard to get caught by them and they do have merits that attract the massive crowd or even more demanding readers. Between both extremes is hard to find a middle point."

She also wrote a well-received novel about Zorro, fittingly named Zorro outlining his early years.

Allende's works

Tropes present in Allende's works

  • Continuity Nod: The Del Valle family. Clara's parents Severo and Nivea Del Valle appear (briefly) in The House of the Spirits. In Daughter of Fortune Paulina Del Valle starts building her empire, which she continues to do in Portrait in Sepia. Portrait also features Nivea and Severo's reappearance; he is Paulina's nephew, and she takes him in as her protégé. Nivea ends up marrying him. In Violeta Nivea is mentioned as Violeta’s paternal grandmother.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Seen in Violeta with José Antonio and Miss Taylor, and in Of Love and Shadows with Marco's crush on Francisco, who is straight.
  • An Immigrant's Tale:
    • Evelyn in In the Midst of Winter crosses the border as an unaccompanied minor. In the same book, after the 1973 Chilean coup, Lucia is forced to go into exile.
    • Zarité leaves Saint Domingue shortly after the Haitian revolution, and eventually ends up in New Orleans, where she finally becomes a freewoman.
    • In A Long Petal Of The Sea Roser Bruguera and Victor Dalmau are forced to leave Spain due to Spanish Civil War and eventually arrive to Chile in the Winchester.
  • Parental Abandonment: Evelyn's mother leaves her and her two brothers in the care of their grandmother in rural Guatemala while she works and sends money from the United States in In the Midst of Winter; in Maya's Notebook, Maya's mother abandons her and her father is too busy, so she is primarily in her grandmother's care.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: If you are a Head-Turning Beauty in one of Allende's books, you won't make it to the final page. Likely due to Death by Childbirth
    • Rosa from The House of the Spirits is poisoned just before she marries Esteban Trueba.
    • In Portrait in Sepia, Lynn falls in love with a man who seduces her as part of a bet and dumps her when he is done. When she turns out to be pregnant, he abandons her. She later dies after giving birth to protagonist Aurora.
    • In Island Beneath The Sea Rosette is imprisoned while pregnant. By the time she is released, the prison conditions have left her so weak that she dies shortly after delivering her son.
    • Nieves in Violeta grows up spoiled by her father, Julián Bravo, and becomes addicted to hard drugs. She gets pregnant and even quits drugs for her baby's sake, but eventually succumbs to eclampsia, with baby Camilo surviving only thanks to a C-section.