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Customer Review

on December 28, 2001
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. Not perfect but it comes closer than the others do in fully executing a character. I agree with a previous reviewer that the Vietnam scenes are a little awkward but the awkwardness now strikes me as waiting to be funny, hilarious even but Allende�s characters tend to be so somber that their laughter is suspect or predatory for something that is about to bring more sorrow.
I don�t recommend this at full price nor do I suggest it as the only Allende novel to be read but it is a nice distraction from her main body of Latin American historical/romance work. It comes as a pleasant off-shoot to the present world and a strong experiment in a writer changing from a feminine focus to masculine.
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