From Publishers Weekly
In this deeply revealing second memoir, after Paula
, novelist Allende (The House of Spirits
) utilizes her family and the complex network of their relationships as the linchpin of the narrative. While weaving in her candid opinions on love and marriage, friendship, drug addiction, the writing life and religious fanaticism, Allende continues to work through the grief over her daughter's death. In these years without you I have learned to manage sadness, making it my ally. Little by little your absence and other losses in my life are turning into a sweet nostalgia. And though Allende's insight is keen, her prose polished and her language hypnotic, it's the stories of her close-knit family that move the memoir forward. We lived as a tribe, Chilean style; we were almost always together. While much of the story is infused with melancholy, her world is by no means without humor, mirth and wisdom. She celebrates friends' triumphs and exploits their foibles, including the odyssey of the boobs, without taking herself too seriously. This is a book to savor. (Apr.)
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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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