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A Long Petal of the Sea

by Isabel Allende

Book Club Recommendations Family Drama Historical Fiction Literary Fiction Modern and Contemporary Fiction Relationship Stories Sharing Diverse Voices Star Books Translated Fiction

LoveReading View on A Long Petal of the Sea

An incredibly engaging, fascinating, and rather beautiful read, this book will stay with me for some time. A couple seek refuge after the Spanish Civil War and end up in Chile, where years later they again face exile. Covering the period from 1938 through to 1994, this is a story that crosses continents, examines topics such as fascism, war, and migration, yet is as intimate as intimate can be. I entered and thought no more about the fact that this was translated from Spanish by Nick Caister and Amanda Hopkinson, it is so clearly, simply, and fabulously done. Within the first few pages there were tears in my eyes. I couldn’t stop reading, thoughtful and sensitive, yet not afraid to focus on unbearable sorrow, this feels as though it could be a biography. As Isabelle Allende explains in the acknowledgments, while this is a novel, with fictional characters (though based on people she has known), the historical events and people are real. She says: “This book wrote itself, as if it had been dictated to me” and I truly felt that. A Long Petal of the Sea opened my eyes and my heart, and has left me wanting to know more. Coming as highly recommended by me, it has also been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book.

Liz Robinson

A Long Petal of the Sea Synopsis

Victor Dalmau is a young doctor when he is caught up in the Spanish Civil War, a tragedy that leaves his life - and the fate of his country - forever changed. Together with his sister-in-law, he is forced out of his beloved Barcelona and into exile in Chile. There, they find themselves enmeshed in a rich web of characters who come together in love and tragedy over the course of four generations, destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world. 

A Long Petal of the Sea Press Reviews

Allende has everything it takes: the ear, the eye, the mind, the heart, the all-encompassing humanity - New York Times

Isabel Allende is a grand storyteller who writes with surpassing compassion and insight. Her place as an icon of world literature was secured long ago. She will be celebrated, by readers and writers alike, for generations to come -- Khaled Hosseini A historical saga that sweeps from the Spanish Civil War to the rise and fall of General Pinochet -- Highlights for 2020 - Daily Telegraph

Although this is fiction, Allende's epic is deeply rooted in fact, and often reads like a biography - of her homeland not least . . . [The characters] are brought alive by Allende's generous imagination and brisk, vivid prose - Daily Mail

A decades-spanning tale of war, exile and belonging . . . Grounding the novel is the love story between Victor and Roser, all the more touching for being unconventional . . . The book is all-encompassing, both in its sweep through history and the sheer number of lives crammed into it . . . The writing is unadorned but affecting, shot through with sad details - Sunday Telegraph

Her latest novel, A Long Petal of the Sea, is built on a recurring theme in Allende's work: the displacement of people . . . It is difficult not to see this novel as a reminder of the endless recurrence of history, or half a million Franco refugees fleeing Spain with many interned in harsh camps in France - of people fleeing from countries in which refuge is now sought - Irish Times

Allende marries the fictional and the historical in lush, sprawling epics. A Long Petal of the Sea takes its place in the unparalleled canon she has created, exploring the sacrifices we make for the sake of those we love, and the love we sacrifice for the sake of our families -- Jodi Picoult Allende's stories are delicate, their images akin to poetry -- Barbara Kingsolver If Allende's life depended on her narrative gifts, she'd not only survive, but reign - Los Angeles Times

In this stunning historical novel, Allende traces one couple's escape from the Spanish Civil War to Chile . . . A powerful story about love and belonging - and how displacement doesn't have to mean defeat - People

Allende transcends the ordinary - Tatler

A gripping novel for our times, this confirms - again - that Allende is a consummate storyteller . . . Historical fact is exquisitely interwoven with personal stories as families are displaced by war, torn apart and reunited. A stunning portrayal of love, courage and hope -- Book of the Month - Woman & Home

Both an intimate look at the relationship between one man and one woman and an epic story of love, war, family and the search for home, this gorgeous novel, like all the best novels, transports the reader to another time and place, and also sheds light on the way we live now. Isabel Allende is a legend and this might be her finest book yet -- J. Courtney Sullivan, author of 'Saints for All Occasions' Allende has everything it takes: the ear, the eye, the mind, the heart, the all-encompassing humanity - New York Times

Like many of Allende's books, it features strong women, displaced people and a powerful love story spanning generations . . . Allende identifies closely with the experience of upheaval that her characters endure . . . The theme of belonging runs deeper than just a sense of nationality. It is also a sense of belonging to a family, a spouse, a group of friends - Sunday Times

This is a novel not just for those of us who have been Allende fans for decades, but also for those who are brand new to her work: what a joy it must be to come upon Allende for the first time. She knows that all stories are love stories, and the greatest love stories are told by time -- Colum McCann -

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781526627605
Publication date: 04/03/2021
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781526615909
Publication date: 21/01/2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Hardback

About Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende was born in Chile, and now lives in California. She worked for many years as a journalist before writing the internationally bestselling novel The House of the Spirits. Since then she has published the equally highly-acclaimed Of Love and Shadows, Eva Luna, The Stories of Eva Luna, ‘The Infinite Plan and ‘Paula.

More About Isabel Allende

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