Kelly's Reviews > Island Beneath the Sea

Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
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Jun 15, 12

Read in May, 2012

I really liked this book. It mixed religion, culture, ideologies, politics and history into the lived reality of several individuals, enslaved and free, in New Orleans and Haiti.

The characters in this book were all compelling, even the ones I loathed.

I did not find myself constantly irritated with her history, so that is a plus (a surprising one). I have read other works of hers and found myself similarly un-annoyed (not a word).

One thing that strikes me as strange about this book is the ending. It bothers me in three ways. One - the incest storyline was really lame. Two - and more importantly - the book covers a slave rebellion in Haiti, and ends about the same time as the largest slave rebellion in North America. Why didn't Allende capitalize on this? The 1811 slave revolt in Mississippi could have been used in so many interesting ways. Perhaps the author did not know of it, but I would have loved to see her characters respond to it. Finally, although its quite wonderful to see Valmorian decay physically (as we also saw him decay morally) at the end of the novel, I think a more honest ending would have suited the story better. Really - men like him ended well - all of their privilege saw to it. And, former slaves rarely got the chance to talk back to their former masters.

Really though, this was an enchanting book that drew you in to several perspectives and belief systems.

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