From Publishers Weekly
Allende follows Paula, the heartbreaking memoir she wrote while her daughter lay in a long coma, with another missive to the young woman, now dead, to update her on the Allende clan's adventures and dramas, which often seem straight from her novels. For most of the narration, Brown's bright voice and careful delivery are an ideal conduit for Allende's renowned prose, working in tandem with the author's unique descriptions to make interesting what in other lives would hardly be remarkable. When speaking as Allende, she uses a husky Spanish accent that is distinctively charming and appropriate without going over the top. Brown's pronunciation of occasional Spanish phrases and names sometimes lack fluency but the frank, twangy voice she gives to Allende's friend Tabra is refreshingly at ease. By the end, even listeners who are unfamiliar with Allende's history and writing will feel they know this feisty woman and brilliant writer as a friend. A Harper hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 18).
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In this sequel to her memoir Paula (1995), about the year-long coma suffered by her daughter, Chilean novelist Allende tells of the difficult years following Paula’s death. She makes a transformative journey in these pages, from the moving opening chapter, in which the grief-stricken author and her family scatter Paula’s ashes in the forest, to the final rewarding coda, where she is able to once again experience contentment and gratitude for the abundance in her life. Framing her story around her family, and directly addressing her daughter throughout, Allende reveals herself in all her roles: feisty marital partner, intrusive mother, dedicated writer, and spiritual seeker. She takes great comfort from her wide circle of support, a loosely connected network she refers to as her tribe, which provides her with the “three-ring circus material” she needs for her writing. Among the many personal revelations she makes here are her daughter-in-law’s discovery that she is gay, which broke up her marriage to Allende’s son and launched the author into a laborious matchmaking process to help him remarry, and her own imbibing of a hallucinogenic tea, which subsequently helped awaken her imagination during the writing of her children’s books. Surprisingly candid, frequently funny, and highly aware of her own failings, Allende is a person fully engaged in life, and readers will find her eloquent memoir inspirational reading. --Joanne Wilkinson
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