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.
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"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