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Literature / Of Love and Shadows

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De amor y de sombra is a 1984 novel by Chilean author Isabel Allende. In Pinochet's Chile, reporter Irene Beltrán and her photographer Francisco Leal strike up a close relationship which crosses all the boundaries. She is wealthy, from a family of junta supporters, and engaged to an officer, while he is the poor son of a communist, and is secretly working to undermine the dictatorship.

When the two journey to a remote village to investigate the miraculous trances of a young girl named Evangelina Ranquileo, their arrival coincides with that of the Lieutenant Ramírez and his troops. Following an altercation with Ramírez, the faith healer is kidnapped by the squadron, prompting Irene and Francisco's resolution to find her and indict the junta.

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But in a land of arbitrary arrests and summary executions, the truth is a dangerous thing to seek.

In 1994, a film adaptation starring Jennifer Connelly and Antonio Banderas was released.

This work contains examples of:

  • Camp Gay: Marco
  • Disappeared Dad: Quite literally. Irene's father is believed to be one of "the disappeared". Near the end of the book, it turns out he's been living with a mistress in the Caribbean the whole time.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Irene and her mother have fallen on hard times since Eusebio Beltrán disappeared.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Marco's crush on Francisco, who is straight.
  • Magic Realism: Particularly where Evangelina is concerned.
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