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Pablo Neruda: A Passion for Life Paperback – Bargain Price, July 14, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 510 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (July 14, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582345945
  • ASIN: B0035G03N0
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,702,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This year marks the centennial of Nobel laureate Neruda's birth. Neruda, who died in 1973, was considered among the greatest poets of the past century and a man full of passions and contradictions who, despite his efforts to sing his political views, is also remembered as a poet of love. This biography follows Neruda from his precocious poetic beginnings to his wanderings as a diplomat in Asia, Argentina, France, Spain and Mexico. Journalist and translator Feinstein recounts how Neruda saved the lives of many republicans during the Spanish Civil War and how his activism in Chile's Communist Party forced him into exile in 1948. Neruda crossed the Andes to travel yet more through Europe and America, where he befriended such famous men as Lorca and Picasso. Back in Chile in 1952, after writing many great books, Neruda ran for the presidency and his commitment to social justice strengthened. But Feinstein also examines the other constant in the poet's life, love,detailing his three marriages and innumerable love affairs, including plenty of bittersweet stories in an attempt to clarify the often fantastic versions of Neruda's own memories. Feinstein undoubtedly researched every existent source and found new ones, and the result is a detailed and accurate biography. His dry writing fails to bring the poet alive on the page, but this is a necessary book, with many beautiful photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Fueled by an infectious enthusiasm for the poems...[Feinstein''s] book turns Neruda''s life into an opera-a blend of aria and recitative." (Guardian )

"In Pablo Neruda, the best biographical detail is found in the poetic line, and the nuanced understanding of each line is in turn informed by the biographical...Feinstein never lets the political eclipse the poetic." (Minneapolis Star-Tribune )

"A scrupulous, well-balanced and timely portrait." (The Times (London) )

"A magnificently researched work that guides the reader though a potentially overwhelming amount of material... Feinstein brilliantly elucidates the two main driving forces behind Neruda''s life and work: his obsession with women and no less passionate commitment to left-wing politics." (The Independent )

"A detailed and accurate biography...This is a necessary book, with many beautiful photos." (Publishers Weekly )

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By S. D Temple on August 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
More than thirty years ago, I gave a copy of Neruda's "Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair to the woman who would later become my wife. All these years later, I still read Neruda's poems aloud to her, and I am still nourished in the autumn of my own life by the rich array of poetry that this great writer produced from his adolescence to old age. Adam Feinstein produces a loving, yet unflinching, portrait of Neruda. Here is a man whose generosity and determination saved the lives of hundreds of refugees from war-torn Spain. Yet here, too, is the man who abandoned his first wife and their developmentally delayed daughter, betrayed all of his wives, and shamefully continued to embrace Stalin's legacy long after many of his peers were humbled by the recognition of Stalin's evil. What I most enjoyed about Feinstein's biography, however, is the way in which Neruda's poetry is charted in the context of his adult developmental. Learning about the broad changes in Neruda's path through his life, the failed marriages, the political career, the aging poet, helps place all his works in a context that enriches the reader's experience of the poetry. In the end, however, we are left with a mystery: the biographical details of Neruda's life cannot explain the greatness of his poetry. This childlike, vain, and self-absorbed man was also a stunning genius, whose passion for life will illuminate the lives of others for centuries.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Emma Compton on July 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Reviewer: A reader from London, UK United Kingdom

Not many writers lead such a colourful life as Neruda. The Chilean Nobel prize winner was not only a diplomat, a world class poet, and a lover of many women--- he had three wives and many mistresses---he was also a supporter of the Republican cause in Spain, responsible for rescuing many of Franco's enemies, and a staunch left-winger who wanted to write for the many rather than the few . . He was forced to flee for his life over the Andes on a donkey when the Chilean government became a tyranny, and was close to Allende at the time of his death. Feinstein tells the story judiciously; he honestly addresses the poet's continuing support for Communism, even after Stalin's crimes were widely known , and does not attempt to palliate his many infidelities. What comes through is Neruda's passion for life, and Feinstein's passion for his subject. A riveting read.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A. Hogan VINE VOICE on July 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Pablo Neruda, of whom Garcia` marquez has called"the greatest poet of the 20th century-in any language",has never had a full length biography in english.Until now.the man Neruda that Mr.Feinstein portrays is an often selfish,self absorbed genuis,who invented his own myth and ferociously hung on to it until his death,a couple of weeks after the murderous coup that took the life and lifeblood of his beloved Chile,and installed the US puppet regime of the neo-fascist Augusto pinochet. In his memoirs, Neruda never mentions his abandonment of his wife and handicapped child, not her subsequent death during WWII.His long held Stalinist beliefs,which in his memoirs he speaks of ruefully, are fully exposed here by Mr feinstein, though he seems to lack any historical prespective on this issue.His philandering is also brought to light[ad nauseum,actually} before meeting Matilde,his third wife[and by most accounts, the second love of his life,after his country} People who only have been introcduced to Neruda through the wonderful film Il Postino might be shocked at the great poets behaviour.[BTW,the novel Il Postino,a novella,actually is well worth reading,and is far darker then the film]All of the greats of the 20th century are here: Garcia Lorca,Sartre,Picasso,Nazim Hikmet,Mistral,Borges`.Nerudas life was often like a movie,surreal and silly. What Mr feinstein doesnt grasp,despite his copius research, is how such a bob vivant,political radical,philandereer inveterate collector,could have written like a slumming angel,for if anything,Gracia Marquez is quite correct.Canto general is a classic on the same level as Leaves of Grass[whose author was also deeply flawed,no?Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Frat Boy on October 27, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The biography is excellent. All the gore and the glory of a magnificent poet, a magnificent poet. So impressed was I, that while having innumerable books by Neruda, and his posthumously published memoirs, I still went out and obtained Obras Completas through a bookstore in Madrid. I have summered on Isla Negra and had the good fortune of meeting Matilde. The author does an outstanding job of giving us the most objective portrait of Neruda, not hiding the blemishes. Neruda was always a boy with a huge heart and lots of love for most (mostly women). Quite sad that a poetic voice like this is gone. Sad also that in his politics Neruda was myopic. The radical left, the radical right, what's the difference? He could never see that point. The author brings this issue out as well with verisimilitude.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John Michael Lewis on November 24, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am enjoying the content, but the Kindle version is a mess. It is filled with typos, repeated text, and sloppy indentations. Overall, pretty sloppy.
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