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Pablo Neruda: A Passion for Life

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  214 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Adam Feinstein's book is the first English-language biography of the Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Relating Neruda's remarkable life story and delving into the literary legacy of the man Gabriel Garcia Marquez called "the greatest poet of the twentiehth-century-in any language," Feinstein uncovers the details of this icon's artistic output, political engag ...more
Paperback, 510 pages
Published August 8th 2005 by Bloomsbury USA (first published July 12th 2004)
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Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marvelous book, just the way I like a good biography: replete with a fascinating variety of details, all reported and described by a multitude of individuals who knew the great poet. The man had friends far and wide, from every profession and background. The author also took a fearless look at Neruda's shortcomings: his weakness for women and wine (not song, he apparently had a tin ear), and his refusal for so long to face the failures and iniquities of Communism in the Soviet Union, and the cri ...more
Oct 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
A wonderfully researched and told biography of one of our greatest poets. From his childhood in small village to his loves, his travels, his political work, his friends all over the world, a 3D picture of Pablo Neruda emerges. I just wish the poems were quoted in the original Spanish, or at least in footnotes, but the book is in English, oh well. His father never supported his choice of becoming a poet, yet his stepmother and half-sister loved him through thick and thin. Engrossing bio.
Les Dangerfield
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book a few years ago. Previously, all I knew about him was that he had spent some time in exile in southern Italy - an episode in his life which was beautifully dramatised in the film ‘Il postino’ in 1994. I love the film so I bought his biography, though his stay on the island of Capri is only covered sketchily in the book.

It is a very well written account of the life of this Nobel prize-winning Chilean poet, covering his weaknesses as well as his strengths. He travell
Shari ODonnell
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Neruda’s life was full and fascinating. At times I felt the author was struggling just to keep up with the chronology, but I can sympathize since the poet was everywhere- as one of the most famous Poets - and Stalinists - of his generation. He was a Bon Vivant and a bit of a spoiled child, having gained near instant fame in his native Chili - a fame and adoration that followed him through his life. The author spends much time on Neruda’s various romances and does a great job helping us understan ...more
Laura Rose
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Book Review - Pablo Neruda "A Passion for Life"

"To produce such truthful poetry I guess you have to have a pretty crazy life to go alongside that.." - Feinstein on Neruda

"A Passion for life" is a biography of Neruda written by Adam Feinstein. Written to mark the centenary of the poet’s birth.

It follows Pablo's life from Childhood, documenting his upbringing in Temuco, Chile continuing to describe his enrolment working for the Burmese embassy, his various lovers and marri
Angus Mcfarlane
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
After many trips to chile, I was overdue to read about chile's national poet hero after moving here. I'm not sure if this is the best biography since there may be other in Spanish which are better than this, but I loved the way it introduced the man, his poetry, and the time/place that was Chile during his lifetime.

Neruda's birth in 1903 was pretty nondescript - a sickly child of dubious parentage in the backwater south of chile - but by the time of his death he was one of chile's pr
Henning Koch
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I readily admit to being a bit of a sucker for literary biography. Feinstein's book takes us into the heart of Chilean literature, and his broad sweep also includes important Guatemalan, Cuban and Mexican literary figures through the 30s, 40s and 50s and on. Neruda was not only a man with an immense appetite for friendship; his experiences as a consular official in Spain during the civil war, particularly his exertions to help thousands of republican refugees leave Spain on a ship chartered by t ...more
Graham Hopwood
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Adam Feinstein makes a good fist of encapsulating the life of one of the 20th century's greatest writers within 400 pages. He doesn't gloss over Neruda's shortcomings - particularly his delayed condemnation of Stalinism and the deceptions of his love life - but overall what emerges is a life in which commitment triumphs over existentialism. Even in his dying days, when many of his political hopes were crumbling as the coup against Allende took hold, there is a sense that human dignity will preva ...more
May 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
This book gave away so many fact about Neruda including the fact that he got married the first time in my home country, Indonesia. Trying to be objective, somehow the tone of this book made me find Neruda a bit abusive, especially with women, and somehow i think it's wrong because i think a good biography book is the one which made us in love with the person being told. Also, crammed too much with referral and tid bits of (not so) relevant info, i guess this is not the best biography book i have ...more
Karenbike Patterson
Sep 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Is it cheating to add a book I didn't finish? I was going to rate this a 2, but changed to a 3 because I am not a big poetry reader or lover of poetry so I want to give the book the benefit of the doubt. It is written from information from interviews and surviving letters and Neruda's own memoir. I think I should have read that instead of this. He certainly had an colorful, lusty, and nomadic life. Clearly he was talented and interesting. I just didn't like the writing style.
Colin Flanigan
Nov 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The complex relationships in his life and world travel make for a great read. One of his teachers as a child was Gabriel Mistral.
Apr 24, 2011 rated it liked it
too many names....too many details
Rebecca Askew
Quite possibly a good book, but heavily overshadowed by a multitude of typographical errors in the kindle edition.
Sep 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Neruda's life was amazing but Feinstein's writing is mediocre.
Robert Stanelle
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A truly fascinating account of this most interesting man. I made me want to visit his homes in Chile, which I then did! Amazing guy!
Dec 30, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an interesting life Neruda led - traveled the world! Tells his life very honestly - the good and the bad. Can't wait to read more of his poetry!
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