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The Infinite Plan: Novel, A Paperback – March 4, 1994

4.0 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A richly embroidered, ambitious tale, Allende's latest novel charts one man's spiritual progress against five decades of history and cultural change. Allende relies less on her customary magical realism (The House of the Spirits ) than on concrete, often graphic details in her first attempt to depict North American characters and settings. Greg Reeves, the son of an itinerant preacher who claims that life is governed by an infinite plan, spends the latter part of his childhood in the L.A. barrio where his family settled when their father became ill. His best friend and soul mate there is Carmen Morales, the daughter of a hospitable Latino family. The novel follows Greg and, to a lesser extent, Carmen through turbulent experiences as each searches for identity. Greg discovers several different kinds of racial discrimination in the crowded barrio; later, he taps into the social and sexual revolution in Berkeley; and he suffers through the crucible of Vietnam, from which he emerges determined to become rich and powerful no matter the cost in morality or peace of mind. He enters into disastrous marriages with two beautiful women, both of whom, he belatedly realizes, resemble his passive, remote mother; he also fails as a father. Allende's intensely imagined prose has clarity and dimension; she describes the exotic and the mundane with equal skill. The rambling, diffuse narrative nicely mirrors the random quality of life itself: Greg discovers that "there is no infinite plan, just the strife of living." In portraying Greg as all too human and fallible, however, Allende risks making him an unsympathetic character. By the time he gains insight into the emotional factors that govern his personality ("at last I felt in control of my destiny . . . the most important thing was to search for my soul . . ."), readers may have tired of his self-destructive behavior. 100,000 first printing; $125,000 ad/promo; BOMC alternate ; author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This novel by renowned Chilean author Allende ( House of Spirits , LJ 4/15/85) is the story of Gregory Reeves's journey from childhood to middle age and long-sought peace and happiness. Gregory's journey is marked by the contending philosophies of his mother's Bahai faith; his father's personally revealed, metaphysical explanation of the universe, called "The Infinite Plan" (the selling of which provides the family's income); and the traditional Catholicism and sense of nostalgia that permeate the Latin barrio where Gregory lives as a child. Though the book is not provocative and the plot is somewhat predictable, it is held together by a deep interest in the colorful, enchanting characters and their evolving relationships to one another. This is recommended for all fiction collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/93.
- Sherri Cutler, Brennemann Lib. , Children's Memorial Medical Ctr. , Chicago
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1st Printing edition (March 4, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060924985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060924980
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,490,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There I am devouring Allende like a large meal, going from book to book, thought to thought, era to era without any regard to continuity or subject. I almost left The Infinite Plan for last but it was next on the pile so I picked it up and as weird as this sounds, enjoyed it more so than all the other novels that kept going on and on in their spinnings through history and drama and characters and relationships.
Gregory is a real protagonist, I wasn�t even sure if I liked him though I knew for sure that he didn�t even like himself. He seems to meander through life with aims that are less focused than an Allende plot. But this time the meandering works, the sense of simply walking with a character and them telling you there life is really used to its fullest here. Again m review is as a comparison to other Allende books and yet this style, the masculine voice/perception really seemed to come across. What I particularly found provocative, worth the price of admission, if you will was the root of Gregory�s problems, essentially accepting the company of unhealthy, needy people in his life. He even has an associate in the law firm he owns who regularly tries to commit suicide in the bathroom. Thinking about the characters and their spiraling lives made me think that there is a marked ear for humor, a comedy lost within Allende�s work. It all becomes this heavy historical missive and borders sometimes on a historical romance novel that is laborious and in love with it�s own language. To read her in Spanish must be a real treat, an added attraction to her work because I can see how the crossing of historical tapestry can become tiresome.
This time though, she strikes the mark in the final analysis of a character and his problems.
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Format: Paperback
Isabel would be able to tell every story, to put a reason in the life of every person. In reading the life of Gregory Reeves, I had the impression that the dreams, hopes and hidden reasons of my life were becoming clear to myself. Reading her books is like telling her your story, and waiting for her to give it a reason and, at the same time, to put poetry in it, to make it worth to be told.
In her narration, also the feelings, the pains, the irrational of an existence are put in a rational light. But nonetheless her writing does not loose the poetry of the irrational that she shares with other South-American writers, like Marquez or Amado.
I'd say that the secret of her books is really this merging of rational and irrational, the sense and order of feelings and the mysterious poetry of what seems rational.
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Format: Paperback
Usually when I read a book by Isabelle Allende I am mesmerized and eagerly turning pages waiting for another revelation. In this book I was just bored and disappointed.
The main character is the child of a minister whose "Infinite Plan" sounds more like New Age speculation than revival preaching. He is raised in the Barrio where almost every character confirms to the whole Latin Men are sexy but sexist stereotype and when he grows up to be a lawyer, he's a complete creep.
I can see that Allende's purpose is to take a likeable character, transform him into a jerk (as he warns you on about page 100 or so) and then slowly bring him back to humanity (there is one line about how he thought he was moving in circles but he was actually moving in spirals - I still remember that one.) but by the time he gets to his resolution, you still don't like him that much. He's been such a self-absorbed yuppie that you want to smack him upside the head a few more times.
The rest of the characters are either awful or poorly drawn charactitures. There is the daughter who becomes a drug addict (and the main character realizes that its not his fault that his kid is such a screwup but then again, it kinda is his fault) and there's his best friend from the Barrio who has some strength and you really wish that she was in another book and not hanging out with these losers. There's the father who's mysterious and the sister that's constantly angry. There's also te best friend that is loud and abrasive.
Now, this is still an Isabelle Allende book and as an Isabelle Allende book it has some great emotional highs and lows and some memorable scenes. It just isn't as sustained as her masterworks like House of Spirits or Eva Luna.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read and enjoyed most of Isabel Allende's novels but this is the exception. The characters are interesting but I found myself scanning many of the pages because there was just way too much detail. The plot? I finished the novel because I hoped it would get better but it did not. I would not recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
I have read nearly all of Isabel Allende's books and have loved them. This is the first one that truly disappointed me. It is certainly not representative of her fine writing. It seems disconnected and doesn't flow. I also felt there were too many characters and too much history packed into an average length book.
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Format: Paperback
It all started a hot summer day here in Taipei. My brother was here on vacation, before he went off to university. I noticed that he wouldn�t come out of his room for hours while I played on the computer, or watched TV. It was nine pm and he came out of the room with a smile on his face and he held out a book to me. He said" you have to read it!" with excitement. After a couple days he went off to university and I was left alone. I really hadn�t payed much attention to the book, but one day I put my mind to it and started reading it. I discovered that the book never stoped unraviling surprises. It was practically impossible to stop reading in middle of a chapter, I had to know what would happen next. I was surprised how the book always had surprises.It was an emotion I had never felt before, reading a book. A sensation that you dont get by reading any other book. This is a book that shows you reality and how real life is, not just some wonderland. Its fiction, history, andventure, sexuality, and other subjects in one book. I'd read for hours until my body was exhausted. When I finished the book I was a little sad because I didnt know what would happen next. I have to say this is the best book I've read in my young life, and probably not the last book I read from this author: Isabel Allende. Id recommend this book to everyone who loves reading.
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