Biography of Isabel Allende (1942-VVVV)

Isabel Allende

Storyteller, playwright and Chilean journalist, born in Lima (Peru) on August 2, 1942. Niece he/she was President of Chile Salvador Allende (1908-1973), is author of a varied and uneven literary production that characterized his best works by its singular approach to the wake of magical realism, located - in the view of a part of the criticism and its populous legion of admirers – among the best female voices of the so-called "Boom" of the Spanish-American narrative.

Life and work

Daughter of a Chilean diplomat who played legatees duties at the Embassy in Lima, came to the world in the Peruvian capital, where soon showed signs of a marked inclination towards the cultivation of literary creation. Having received a careful education in different private schools, he/she attended advanced studies of journalism and, on his return to Chile, he/she was invited to collaborate in the women's magazine Paula, where he/she soon acquired a well-deserved reputation for his humorous articles, interviews and reports (were very celebrated his humorous comments on the Chilean man, which he/she described as in these journalistic works such as "my Troglodyte"). It was, at the time, the year of 1962, date in which married Miguel Frías, who would divorce after twenty-five years (1987), after having had two children: Paula - who died, a victim of cancer, in 1992 - and Nicolás.

Shortly before have been installed in your Chile, Isabel Allende had traveled much of the Latin American countries, which acquired a vast cosmopolitan experience that, long before being reflected in his artistic production, helped him to work for a certain period of time within the Organization for agriculture and food (FAO), dependent of the United Nations. But life through writing prompted his resolute intention of winning is tipping in the exercise of journalism, activity in which soon became noted for his bold treatment of topics more incisive and controversial of the Chilean news of the Decade of the 1960s. Aside from his work in the magazine quoted Paula, he/she directed the children's magazine Mampato and dared to make a television program of weekly broadcast which dealt with, from his peculiar sense of humor, the thorniest issues of the contemporary feminist movement, work which saw increasing considerably its popularity within the Chilean borders.

The outbreak in the literary landscape of the Andean country took place at the beginning of the 1970s, within the generic scope of dramatic literature, which joined the seven mirrors (1973) without much success of critics and audiences with some MPs as Ambassador (1970), Ballad of middling (1972) and the musical. Shortly afterwards, after the bloody events that occurred in Chile in 1973 (which culminated in the coup of general Augusto Pinochet and the murder of the uncle of the writer, the Socialist President Allende), began to be seriously threatened by the new political and military authorities who had assumed power, which not prevented further ahead with his project to republish their best humorous articles from the decade preceding a volume compilation entitled Civilice its Troglodyte)Santiago de Chile: Ed. Lord Cochrane, 1974). A few months before the publication of this selection of journalistic writings, Isabel Allende had given to print his first book of stories, mice and lauchones, rats and mice (1974), which would soon join, in the course of that same year, another collection of short stories entitled La abuela Panchita (1974).

Although the Chilean political situation was becoming unbearable for the threatened writer, even had time to see edited his country his aforementioned musical dramatic work, now presented under the title of the House of the seven mirrors (1975); but a few days later had to resign themselves to leave the Chilean territory - where he/she knew that his life was a serious danger - to seek refuge in Caracas, city in which it was received with respect and admiration by Venezuelan readers, who began to taste his extraordinary irony in humorous articles that Isabel Allende published within the pages of the daily El Nacionalin which he/she stamped his signature for a decade (1975-1985). Meanwhile, arrived to this his Venezuelan exile the terrible news of the devastating effects produced by the bloody dictatorship in Chile, where at the thousands of compatriots killed during the first days of the coup were already more than two thousand five hundred missing, not counting the thousands of Democrats Chileans who had been imprisoned and tortured, and the hundreds of thousands who had been forced to take the direction of the religious. These painful circumstances made it impossible the return of Isabel Allende and her family to their place of origin, so the writer had to get used to living in a permanent estrangement which led her to Mexico, where it remained until the end of the 1980s, alternating their stay in Aztec territory with frequent travel to Europe and the United States from Venezuela. Finally, in 1988 the Chilean dictator lifted the prohibition of return to the Andean country which was still weighing on many exiles, which led to Isabel Allende returning to Santiago, where his first public statements were: "Have the right to live in my country". Years later, after her divorce and remarried union with us citizen William Gordon, settled in the U.S. State of California, where he/she resides since the 1990s. The long and protracted exile had cost the life his sister Beatriz (reportedly shot dead by remoteness and solitude, committed suicide in Cuba in 1977) and his aunt Laura (Militant Socialist who, sick of cancer, also put his life term before his unsuccessful attempts to return to Chile). The father of the writer had died the day of the coup d ' état (September 11, 1973), because he/she was in the Palacio de la Moneda when he/she was assaulted by the rebel military troops.

They were precisely the atmosphere and the previous events that led to the military coup the narrative materials that gave shape to his first great novel, the House of the spirits (Barcelona: Plaza & Janés, 1982), with which has definitely established itself as one of the large Latin American writers of all time. Received as a brilliant follower in the wake of the "Boom" started in the 1960s, and compared - perhaps too much precipitation-one hundred years of solitude, of García Márquez, this first extensive narration of the Chilean author became immediately a bestseller in many countries of the American subcontinent (while its publication had been rejected by several publishers in Latin America)in Spain and other nations of Europe, to whose vernacular languages it had been promptly translated. Eleven years after his first outing to the street, the success of the story crafted by Isabel Allende received a powerful boost of international projection thanks to the film adaptation by the Swedish filmmaker Bille August(The house of the spirits, 1993), who counted with the collaboration of the author herself to develop the script, and a prestigious cast of performers that included Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Jeremy Ironsand Winona Ryder, Antonio Banderas and Vanessa Redgrave.

Based on the memories of childhood and youth of the writer itself, the House of the spirits narrates the adventures of the family saga of the Trueba over four generations. Allende remembers and narrative substance makes the experiences in the old family house inhabited by his grandparents and his eccentric uncles, a mansion surrounded by a fertile intellectual and liberal atmosphere that awoke your fertile imagination and instilled in him the taste for reading and story-telling. The thread of the story of the women who make up this family nucleus (real protagonists of the plot), the sprawling fantasy of the author you are threading with the review of the main political events in the recent history of Chile, until the reader in the first and dramatic measures of the bloody military dictatorship.

Two years after the publication of the House of the spirits, the Chilean writer returned to the shelves of the libraries with another splendid novel that mixed again the rarefied political situation in his homeland (in this case, the murders of the "disappeared" during the dictatorship of Pinochet) with other literary materials from the powerful imagination of the author (expirence(here, in a story of love). It is the work titled of love and shadow (Barcelona: Plaza & Janés, 1984), also received with great acclaim by the critics and readers, and considered - by the many admirers that already had the Chilean writer - as the milestone that came to designate, in the still brief literary career of Isabel Allende, that the international success of the House of the spirits had not been the result of chance or responded to passenger whims in the literary tastes of the time. The history recounted here started with the discovery, in a mining operation in the North of Chile, in a clandestine grave in which lie buried the remains of numerous farmers killed by security of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. The love affair of two young thread serves as the facts track, which at the end of the month shows the horrible finding of the crimes committed by the coup leaders, betrayed by the emergence of other many clandestine cemeteries.

The third raid of Allende in the extensive narrative was captured in Eva Luna (Barcelona: Plaza & Janés, 1987), a novel where went to stay Apocalypsis capacity patent fabuladora of the author born in Lima, now set in the Caribbean area. The protagonist of this story - whose name gives title to the novel - is a woman who lives in the exuberance of their natural habitat, surrounded by magical events located always in scenarios so pilgrims and eccentric as the home of an Embalmer or an Arabian oasis located in the bowels of the rainforest. The interest aroused by this new narration led, at the end of three years, the reappearance of some of its characters, themes and motifs in a collection of short stories titled Cuentos de Eva Luna (Buenos Aires: Sudamericana, 1990), work which, together with the previous one, departs from the previous literary production of Isabel Allende in a substantial aspect within its thematic evolution: for the first time, do not appear in them the reflection of the events related to the Chilean dictatorship.

At the beginning of the 1990s he/she left the brochure the fictional fourth installment of Isabel Allende, published under the title of the infinite plan (1991). Again autobiographical experience comes in the prose of the writer an important role, because the work is based on the life journey of William Gordon, who, after entrusting their secrets to the author, would become her second husband. Shortly after, the devastating disease that took the lives of her eldest daughter plunged Isabel Allende in a long narrative silence which wouldn't leave until the end of the 20th century, when the printing press gave his fifth novel, entitled daughter of Fortune (1999). In the meantime, published two books outside the realm of fiction: in the first, which may be included within the generic category of reports, reflected the painful cancerous process that ended the life of his daughter and dramatic implications within the circle of family and friends (Paula, 1994); in the second - the result of his desperate attempt to recover, after the irretrievable misfortune, the illusion to continue living and writing (not for nothing was presented by the author with these words: "I write because I am a Communicator;) at the beginning I was a journalist, I need to tell my stories, I need another part of my books, you, the readers, without which my work would not be complete"), Allende surprised readers with an imaginative and entertaining collection of supposedly aphrodisiac recipes (Aphrodite, 1998).

But his final reunion with the writer's race that had captivated worldwide to a copious legion of followers did not occur until the appearance of the aforementioned daughter of Fortune (1999), another splendid novel returning to show the skills of Isabel Allende for the prose of fiction, which is not occupied for eight years. He/She has the ups and downs of a young Chilean woman who, in the mid-19th century, stars in a true Odyssey to travel from the port city of Valparaiso to the U.S. State of California, attracted by the gold fever that had taken over the inhabitants of the West coast of the United States. In words by the author herself to the public congregated in Madrid during the presentation of this book, Eliza, the protagonist, "is a young, very young girl, who was born in Valparaíso and leaves California behind a love and, as happened to adventurers seeking gold, found another thing"; and, although the novel aims to reflect the rare combination of ambition and idealism that was experienced during the that period dominated by the gold rush ("a time - along with the testimony of the writer - full of excesses, cruelty, violence, greed and, at the same time, utopia"), the truth is that Allende was proposed, in the background, with this narrative provide a deeper readinghidden after "a kind of journey of initiation that symbolizes what has happened with the women of my generation".

Last year of the 20th century data portrait in sepia (2000), conceived as a free continuation of some of the stories already told in the House of the spirits and daughter of Fortune (in fact, one criticism of estimated that these three novels constitute a narrative trilogy on the set of the literary production of the Chilean author). In it, the reader can follow the footsteps of Aurora de el Valle, a woman at the end of the 19th century, newly completed the thirty, decides to go in search of his family's past, after having grown up happily in San Francisco. Its sweet and bland character will step by step strengthening contact with the women who go to know, to become a strong advocate for the rights of the female population, in a hostile world subject to the iron-fisted control of the men.

The author's next literary project was the "Memoirs of the Eagle and jaguar" trilogy, in which first addressed stories focusing on the adolescent world. the protagonists are the adventurous young Nadia and Alexander, and grandmother of Kate. The first deliveries, the city of the beasts (2002), the chosen plot "excuse" was the proposal that a grandmother makes her grandson to leave California and travel to the Amazon in search of a giant creature that gives off a smell that is paralyzing. A year later, Allende recovered the characters of the work to printing the second installment of the trilogy, the Kingdom of the golden dragon, whose action takes place in the valleys of the Himalayas. Finally, the author completed the trilogy with the forest of the Pygmies (2004), where the three main characters travel to the very heart of Africa to help the Pygmy people and enter into a world full of mysteries. Each of these three novels of adventures, which the author acknowledged having written for his grandchildren, focus, respectively, on ecology, spirituality, and peace.

In 2003 he/she published the book of memories my invented country. In its pages, the Chilean author performs "a dance with memory" where they intersect the intimate and historical, nostalgic description of his childhood and his personal vision of their country, inevitably affected by the exile. The work also allows to know all sources of inspiration for his works.

In General, the prose of Isabel Allende is characterized by an extreme expressive simplicity that makes direct arrival to a large number of readers, which hinders not under any circumstances the permanent and torrential irruption of fantastic elements that provide a lush and colourful wealth to the apparent simplicity of his literary language. Surrounded, in his own life career, numerous hobbies and inherited his family eccentricities (she confesses he/she writes surrounded by candles, and he/she begins all his novels on January 8, because at such date in the year 1981, he/she received a call in which informing him the death of his grandfather, and immediately began to write him a letter that eventually became the House of the spirits)He has managed to adapt to the complex literary tastes of its varied range of readers that magical universe that of having not been channeled through a plain, sober style would not have reached such massive reception enjoyed by the books of the author from the beginning of the 1980s (to quote one of the most recent examples of this amazing diffusion of his workIt is worth saying that the daughter of fortune has been translated into twenty-seven languages). This exaltation of the imagination fabuladora, along with the constant assessment of a woman's perspective on the focus of the narrated facts, constitute the main hallmarks of the fiction of Isabel Allende, also characterized by its skilful dosage of environments, characters and situations that appeal to the deepest feelings of the human being (such as love, pain, fear and tenderness).

The sum of all these literary successes has earned the Chilean author a copious torrent of awards, honors and distinctions in many parts of the world. The awards that have been awarded to you, include the award for the best novel of the year (Chile, 1983). "Literary landscape" (Chile 1983); the election as "Author of the year" (Germany, 1984); the "book of the year" (Germany, 1984); the "Grand Prix d 'Evasion' (France, 1984); the prize of the Belgian Radio Television "Point de Mire" (Belgium, 1985); the "prize literary Colima" (Mexico, 1986); the "XV Premio Internazionale I Migliori Dell'Anno' (Italy, 1987); the "Mulheres" award for the best foreign novel (Portugal, 1987). the prize "Chimera books" (Chile, 1987); the "book of the year" (Switzerland, 1987); "Library Journal completo Best Book" (United States, 1988); "Before Columbus Foundation Award" (United States, 1988); the prize for best novel (Mexico, 1985); the "author of the year" (Germany, 1986); the "Freedom to Write Pen Club" (United States, 1991); the "XLI Premio Bancarella" (Italy, 1993); the "Independent Foreign Fiction" (United Kingdom, 1993); the "Brandeis University Major Book Collection" (United States, 1993); the "Critics ' choice (United States, 1996); the "Books to Remember" from the American Library Assoc. (United States, 1996); the "Books to Remember" of The New York Public Library (United States, 1997); the "Malaparte" prize awarded by the Amici di Capri (Italy, 1998); the "Donna Citta Di Roma" (Italy, 1998); the "Dorothy and Lillian Gish" (United States, 1998); the award of the "Sara Lee Foundation" (United States, 1998), and - among many others - the award Ibero-American letters José Donoso (Chile, 2003).

In addition, Isabel Allende has been honored with his election as a member of the Academy of the language of Chile (1989); Member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences of Puerto Rico (1995); as a "Honorary Citizen" of the City of Austin (United States, 1995); as "Feminist of the Year" Award (The Feminist); and as a member of the Majority Foundation (United States, 1994); and honored with the titles and awards of "Chevalier dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres" (France, 1994); "Gabriela Mistral Award" (Chile, 1994); "Professor of literature Honoris Causa by the University of Chile (Chile, 1991);"Doctor of Letters"by the New York State University (United States, 1991); "Doctor of Humane Letters" by Florida Atlantic University (United States, 1996); and "Doctor of Letters" by Columbia College Chicago (United States, 1996).

Internet links ; Official website of the writer.


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CODDOU, M. [comp.] The books have their own spirits ([Mexico] Xalapa: Universidad Veracruzana, 1986).

CODDOU, M. To read Isabel Allende (conception: LAR editions, 1988).

CORTINEZ, V. "Polyphony: Isabel Allende and Antonio Skarmeta", in square (Cambridge, Massachusetts [USA]), ns. 14-15 (1988), pp. 73-80.

EARLE, P.. "Literature as Survival: Allende completo The House of Spirits", in Contemporary Literature (Madison, Wisconsin [USA]), XXVIII, no. 4 (1987), pp. 543-554.

HART, P. Narrative Magic in the Fiction of Isabel Allende (London/Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1989).

MORA, g. "Isabel Allende's novels and the role of the woman as a citizen," Ideologies & Literature (Minnesota [U.S.A.]), II, no. 1 (1987), pp. 53-61.

ROJAS, M.A. "the House of the spirits Isabel Allende: a kaleidoscope of disordered mirrors", in Revista Iberoamericana (Pittsburgh [U.S.A.]), LI, ns. 132-133, pp. 917-923.

STAVANS, i. "notes for a literary biography. Interview with Isabel Allende", image (Caracas), no. 100 (1986), pp. 7-9.

TEITELBOIM, V. "Isabel Allende delineates his conception of the novel," in Plural (Mexico), XXIX, no. 210 (March 1989), pp. 29-33.