Born a slave on the island of Saint-Domingue--the daughter of an African mother she never knew and a white sailor who brought her into bondage--Zarite, known as Tete, survives a childhood of brutality and fear, finding solace in the traditional rhythms of African drums and in her exhilarating initiation into the mysteries of voodoo.
When twenty-year-old Toulouse Valmorain arrives on the island in 1770, he discovers that running his father's plantation is neither glamorous nor easy. Marriage also proves problematic when, eight years later, he brings home a bride. But it is his teenaged slave, Tete, upon whom Valmorain becomes most dependent, as their lives intertwine across four tumultuous decades.
In Island Beneath the Sea, internationally acclaimed author Isabel Allende spins the unforgettable saga of an extraordinary woman determined to find love amid loss and forge her own identity under the cruelest of circumstances.
|:||Peden, Margaret Sayers|
|Publish Date:||Apr 2011|
|Number of Pages:||457|
|Shipping Weight (in pounds):||0.8|
|Product in Inches (L x W x H):||5.5 x 8.25 x 1.25|
As niece of fallen Chilean president Salvador Allende, Isabel Allende attracted immediate interest when she appeared on the U.S. literary scene in the mid-1980's. On its own merits, though, The House of the Spirits (1982; English translation 1985) is a superb novel. Four generations of Chilean women-female descendants of an oligarchic family-provide a unifying thread and feminine consciousness for a fictional history of a Latin American society. Allende is often compared to Colombia's Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whose One Hundred Years of Solitude is something of a Marxist fictional history of Latin America.
Allende skillfully constructs a novel in which one generation of women pass on to the next a legacy of survival strategies and profound human understanding within oppressive social structures. Allende's combination of the personal and the political in the person of the youngest women unmistakably evokes Allende's socialist government, the subsequent military overthrow and neo fascist dictatorship, and resistance to tyranny. Allende's fiction after The House of the Spirits, both novels and short stories, is weaker but remains commercially successful in English translation.
Some of its elements reinforce U.S. myths about Latin America, especially the questionable concept of a subaltern feminist solidarity. This matriarchy, captured in the person of Eva Luna, who gives her name to one novel and a collection of short stories, threatens to usurp the legendary patriarchy. Nevertheless, along with Argentina's Luisa Valenzuela, Allende remains the most prominent Latin American woman writer on the U.S. literary scene, and the critical response to her writing has indeed been impressive. Allende, who lives a good part of the time in the United States, is much in demand as a speaker.
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