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A Long Petal of the Sea

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From the New York Times bestselling author of The House of the Spirits comes an epic novel spanning decades and crossing continents, following two young people as they flee the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War in search of a new place to call home.

In the late 1930s, civil war gripped Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life irreversibly intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. In order to survive, the two must unite in a marriage neither of them wants, and together are sponsored by poet Pablo Neruda to embark on the SS Winnipeg along with 2,200 other refugees in search of a new life. As unlikely partners, they embrace exile and emigrate to Chile as the rest of Europe erupts in World War.

Starting over on a new continent, their trials are just beginning. Over the course of their lives, they will face test after test. But they will also find joy as they wait patiently for a day when they are exiles no more, and will find friends in the most unlikely of places. Through it all, it is that hope of being reunited with their home that keeps them going. And in the end, they will find that home might have been closer than they thought all along.

325 pages, Hardcover

First published May 21, 2019

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About the author

Isabel Allende

175 books33.8k followers
Isabel Allende Llona is a Chilean-American novelist. Allende, who writes in the "magic realism" tradition, is considered one of the first successful women novelists in Latin America. She has written novels based in part on her own experiences, often focusing on the experiences of women, weaving myth and realism together. She has lectured and done extensive book tours and has taught literature at several US colleges. She currently resides in California with her husband. Allende adopted U.S. citizenship in 2003.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 9,271 reviews
Profile Image for Angela M .
1,275 reviews2,215 followers
January 15, 2020
I enjoyed a number of Allende’s earlier books, but a few of the more recent ones have not been quite as satisfying. Yet, I could not resist the opportunity to read this one because I was looking for the Allende of those earlier novels and I found her . It felt like Allende at her best - a family saga with richly defined characters deeply connected to their family, their culture, their country, their lives shaped by the political landscape. There were times when I felt a bit bogged down by the political details later in the book, even though it is the political events which drive the story. Having said that, she does a wonderful job of depicting the effects of the Spanish Civil War, the ravages of that war and I learned things that I never knew about that war , about concentration camps there and about a ship carrying refugees to Chile. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Wi....

Victor and Roser Dalmau, who leave their home at the brink of WWII, after much hardship, loss and suffering arrive in Chile and it becomes their home for many years . They have married out of the need to survive, out of family loyalty, out of love for her son and his nephew and they stay together for many years out of love. The story of their relationship, who they are as individuals, and who they become together is the heart of the story, but the soul of this family saga is what Allende herself knows and experienced in the Chile where she was raised. The story was even more poignant after reading Allende’s Acknowledgements at the end of the book, where she says : “This is a novel, but the events and historical individuals are real. The characters are fictional, inspired by people I’ve known. I have had to imagine very little ....”

I received an advanced copy of this book from Ballantine through NetGalley.
Profile Image for Emma.
971 reviews966 followers
January 4, 2020
I just can't get into this one. The historical period was specifically what attracted me to the book but it overwhelms the story- too much research, too little character- all feeding into the list-like nature of the prose. It's impossible to feel any kind of emotional connection to a catalogue of:
this happened
and then this happened,
this is what this person thought of it.
And then this happened.
Page after page.

I've read academic history books with more feeling.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,912 reviews35.3k followers
January 28, 2020
“One of the most richly imagined portrayals of the Spanish Civil War to date, and one of the strongest and affecting works in [Isabelle Allende’s] long career” —
—The New York Times book review.

I’ve read 15 books by this powerhouse pint-size extraordinary author.... both fiction, and nonfiction.
I’ve met Isabel Allende three times...
I admire Isabel Allende’s exceptional storytelling skills while educating me about history: ( people, places, and dates) —
This global humanitarian- feisty-strong-as-bull-woman - took my breath away in
“A Long Petal of the Sea”.

I’m one of her fans who has enjoyed all of her books - different topics and styles.....
from her early days...to a pause - (grief from her daughter’s Paula’s death), to two very special non-fiction books:
“The Sum of Our Days”....
to books she has written in more recent years...
to..... our present day: Jan. 2020.

I like reading what Isabel Allende writes: period!!!
That said... this is my favorite ‘fiction’ book of the many other wonderful novels she’s written.

I took twice as long to read it than was necessary...
I have pages of notes.
I did it for my own educational study. I had no agreement to write a review. I paid for the book myself —took notes for myself. Looked up information to fill in holes on Google.
I’m happy to share with others - have discussions - but I didn’t feel an ounce of obligation in reading/learning/ and enjoying it.

There are a few more details I’d like to say in this review - have some fun sharing more tidbits....
....I’m too tired to do it now...
but I’ll return.
Nobody has to read my updated review later - ( I want to write more - for my own memory pleasure & completion), but thank you ahead of time, for those who do read more of my chatter.

I’m grateful having ‘ ‘learned’ as much as I did.
I studied it - poured my entire soul into this novel....
looking up names information...
wanting to explore specific details more —
...it took a lot of extra time to read this book the way I did...And....
I had a darn great time doing it!

I’ll be back in a day or two for part II of this review.


From war-torn Spain to Chile....
....incredible history teachings, dramatic storytelling, epic in scope, ( spans decades), love and survival.

General Francisco Franco ruled over Spain from 1939 to 1975. During his rule Franco assumed the title ‘Caudillo’ (powerful political leader).
His dictatorship changed over time; people feared his brutal repression.
Much of the civilian population were escaping to the French borders by any means possible, escaping Franco’s dictatorship.

Victor Dalmau, a young paramedic for three years during the Spanish Civil War - (in Spain -from 1936-1939) ...along with other doctors transported the wounded from the hospital and trains, ambulances, and trucks. They had to make so many quick harrowing decisions to leave the most seriously wounded behind, since they were bound to die of the journey.

“Crammed into cattle trucks or battered vehicles, lying on the floor, freezing cold, constantly jolted, with no food, combatants who had just been operated on, or the wounded, blind, had amputated limbs, or were delirious from fever, typhus, dysentery, or gangrene, made their way out of Barcelona.
The medical staff had nothing with which to relieve their suffering, and could offer only water, words of comfort, and sometimes, if a dying man asked for it, a final prayer”.

“Victor had seen dreadful wounds, assisted at amputations without anesthetics, helped more than one unfortunate youngster die, and thought he had developed the hide of a crocodile; and yet the tragic journey in the wagons he was in charge of destroyed his spirit”.

France was watching in horror as the border became jammed with a crush of people that the authorities managed to keep barely in check by employing armed soldiers and the fearsome colonial troops from Senegal and Algeria, with their turbines, rifles,’s and whips. The whole country was overwhelmed by this massive
influx of undesirables, as they were officially called.

“Undesirables” .... is what the French government
called the refugees coming into their borders.

Women, children, soldiers, totally exhausted from anger and fatigued.... marched across the border into France -in a country that didn’t want them- singing with their fists raised.

After arriving in France, tens of thousands of Spanish refugees were taken to the camp of Argeles-sur-Mer. (fenced off on the beach)
Senegalese and armed police guarded the fenced off camp.

Roser Bruguera, was very pregnant, bearing Guillem Dalmau’s child.
She was strong. She knew could deal with whatever was thrown at her for the sake of her child and meeting Guillem again,
....she didn’t know that Guillem had died.

It was maddening to know that the French government left the refugees out in the open day and night exposed to the cold and rain. Hygiene was nonexistent. They had no latrines or drinkable water.
Women gathered and tight groups to defend themselves against sexual aggression of the guards.

Between 30 and 40 people died every day, first of children from dysentery, then the elderly from pneumonia.

One woman woke up one morning to find her dead five month old daughter after the temperature had fallen below freezing.
Later that night, the grieving mother went out to the waters edge and waited out into the sea until she disappeared. She was not the only one. Many years later the exact statistics became known:
Almost 15,000 people died in those French camps, from hunger, starvation, mistreatment, and illnesses, Nine out of every ten children perished.

Elizabeth Eidenbenz -a real historical figure in Isabell Allende’s book....
was a teacher and a nurse.
She saved approximately 600 children who were mostly the children of Spanish Republicans, jewish refugees and gypsies fleeing the Nazi invasion.

Camp commanders in France were trying to get rid of the refugees. They were trying to force them back to Spain.
Elizabeth Eidenbenz was determined to set up a proper maternity home in an abandoned mansion in Elne ( in the Country of Roussillon, France)...
Anyone who was able to find a sponsor or a job we’re allowed to go free. So Elizabeth took Roser (who was still very pregnant), with her.
They arrived at Perpignan first... where a house was being used as a maternity unit. There were eight young women, pregnant, and others with newborn babies in their arms.
A little relief....a place to give birth, ( a baby boy named Marcel), a little replenishing .....but not much time to rest....
Eventually, Victor and Roser escape together, with the help from Pablo Neruda. Victor says he will marry Roser....take care of her and be the father to baby Marcel. ( a complete marriage-agreement -arrangement).
Victor doesn’t expect Roser to ‘do-the-duty’....( a sexless marriage in other words). But loveless? ..... No....I wouldn’t say loveless....

Pablo Neruda, ( famous poet), arranged and organized the transport of refugees of the war to Chile. Two thousand people traveled on ‘The Winnipeg’ to Chile.
LEARNING ABOUT PABLO NERUDA ....was a highlight for me.
Pablo Neruda - thirty four - was considered the best poet of his generation.
Neruda had been passionate for Spain; but he loathed Fascism and was so concerned about the fate of the defeated Republicans that he had managed to convince the new Chilean president to allow a certain number to come into Chile... in defiance of the right wing parties and Catholic Church.

The second part of this novel portrays the political, and social divisions among the Chileans.

We meet the upper class Solar Family:
......Isidro, del Solar, his wife, Laura, and their 19 year old daughter, Ofelia (Beautiful and flirtatious), were all together.
There were six del Solar children in all.
The year was 1939:
“The Reina Del Pacifico”- was the fastest motor liner of its time, which offered movies, theater, music, circuses, and ventriloquists), left the Chilean port of Valparaiso at the start of May, to dock in Liverpool twenty-seven days later.
There were 162 passengers in second class, and 446 in third.... of several different languages being spoken. ( Isidro, Laura, and Ofelia were on the boat too).
There was an orchestra and a female String Quartet on the ship.... and a Captain’s dinner ( foie gras, caviar, Champagne, and desserts), gathering one evening. I had my first laugh, when Laura groaned as she struggled into her ‘girdle’. I’ve never worn a girdle in my life -
I value breathing. Lol
But I know what it feels like to feel yucky from putting on weight.
Laura tried to get out of that dinner, as she obviously didn’t feel great about herself... but her husband, Isidro, wanted her to make an effort, for him... for his business connections.
I laughed as the couple argued about basic personal things. Laura worried about not being able to fit in her dress.
Isidro told her she always looked pretty... just wear something else. A horrific ‘war’ was going on....and Laura worried about beauty.
I found it amazing that such little things, ( clothes, jewelry, body image), still what mattered to a persons self-esteem.
Laura was aware of her privileged good fortune at being born into the Vizcarra family, of marrying Isidro del Solar. She knew she had been protected and waited on. She also gave birth to six children without ever having changed a diaper or prepares a bottle.

Juana Nancucheo was in charge of all of the childcare-she’s supervised the wet nurses and servants.
Juana was a wonderful memorable character to me.
Juana Nancucheo: mixed criollo and Mapuche...
had been in charge of the del Solar household. She supervised three maids, cook, laundress, Gardner, etc.
Felipe taught Juana to read, write and do sums
which created a close bond -
Juana covered up any mischief he got into
Later he helped her invest her savings in shares of stock exchange
Felipe had such a gentle character that people took advantage of him
His dad, Isidro, didn’t appreciate his son’s charitable impulses.

The worse earthquake( which left twenty thousand dead and whole towns flattened), to hit Chile - 1960 - coincided with the exodus of people from Catalonia toward the border of France.
The Spanish Civil War left hundreds and thousands dead, wounded, or refugees- by comparison was a far greater tragedy.

TONS TONS TONS ..... more I could say for this masterpiece achievement.
But I’ll end with words from Pablo Neruda......

“Let’s keep anger, pain, and tears,
Let’s fill the desolate void
And may the nightly bonfire recall
The light at the deceased stars”. .... Pablo Neruda ( “Jose Miguel Carrera,1810”)
Profile Image for El Librero de Valentina.
262 reviews17.8k followers
August 29, 2019
Con este libro me reconcilio con Isabel Allende después de años de no poder terminar sus libros.
Esta historia tiene grandes aciertos y son los personajes femeninos, el mejor, Roser.
Una historia de amor, exilio, reconciliación, adaptación y perdón. Un libro muy bonito.
Profile Image for Debra .
2,194 reviews34.9k followers
January 11, 2020
I really struggled with this book and was shocked as I really enjoy Allende's work. Ines of My Soul being my favorite of her books. I enjoyed the beginning, Roser comes from nothing and is adopted by a wealthy man and she has a gift for the piano. She falls in love with a young soldier who dies before their son is born. His brother Victor marries her to give the boy a father and to help her get to Chile with him. You see, people are fleeing Spain and Roser and Victor can get on a boat sailing to Chile. He is a doctor and she is a musician. They can contribute to their new country and make a life for themselves there.

Their book follows their life together, how they grow individually and together. How they share a deep bond and how they survive through their travels.

There are many themes here and this book is based on historical facts, but it just failed to grab me. It is slow moving and that is part of the issue. It is a slow burn and normally I don't mind that but, in this case, it didn't work for me. I don't know if it was my mood at the time or my inability to connect with her story telling. This is one of those books that I can say, I enjoyed but it won’t stay with me for long. Again, this took me by surprise as I normally have thoroughly enjoyed all her books. I encourage readers to read all reviews are decide for yourselves.

Thank you to Random House Publishing House Publishing Group - Ballantine and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Brina.
886 reviews4 followers
October 8, 2020
It is January and that means the winter doldrums. I am afflicted with seasonal affective disorder each winter and combat it with a jolt of vitamin d and an annual trip to Florida. A week in the sun under the palm trees usually does the trick until I return to the winter gloom. There have been years where I haven’t picked up a book for five weeks and been miserable until this year when I realized the best way to combat winter blues- magic, or more specifically books by my favorite authors. I first found out about Isabel Allende’s new book last summer and was giddy with anticipation. Allende has been my favorite author since she first introduced me to Hispanic magical realism and the Latina amiga authors way back when I was in middle school. I have journeyed through her books over most of my life, rereading my favorites multiple times. Her last book In the Midst of Winter left a bad taste in my mouth because it was devoid of both the magical realism and historical fiction that has made her a leading author of her generation. With reviews heralding A Long Petal of the Sea as a book that places Allende at the peak of her powers, I knew that this would be a must read for me and a highlight of my reading year. Suffice it to say, this time around Allende did not let me down.

Upon reading the first lines of A Long Petal of the Sea, I knew that Allende had returned to her bread and butter. The premise reminded me of Daughter of Fortune, a quality historical fiction novel that she wrote from the heart but has little magical realism. In both cases, the fast moving story that still takes the time to develop complex characters is magic in itself. It is 1936 in Barcelona, Catalonia. The Spanish Civil War has threatened to destroy the country as Franco and his forces have attacked both communist and resister forces to their breaking point. Told on the eve of a war that threatened to destroy the European continent, Allende introduces her readers to the Dalmau family: Marcel Lluis, a music professor, and his wife Carme, a teacher, along with their two sons Victor, a doctor serving along the front lines of the war, and Guillém, one who has yet to find himself but is serving in the army as an able bodied person. The Dalmaus are also the surrogate parents to Roser Bruguera, a promising pianist, the heart and soul of this novel and the love of Guillem’s life. Although Franco threatens to ruin the Spain that citizens like the Dalmaus call home, the love between Guillem and Roser give hope for a new generation until Guillem is killed at the battle of the Ebro, and Victor promises to get his mother and sister in law to safety in France.

Europe is on the verge of exploding so 1939 France is no safer than Spain. Forward thinking citizens are fleeing to any North or South American country that will take them in, leading to a mass migration of humanity. Pablo Neruda, a communist who is also the leading poet of his generation and future Nobel laureate, sponsors a ship named that Winnipeg that will allow Spanish refugees to find a new home in Chile, that long petal of the sea at the end of the world. Carme is separated from Roser but Victor pleads his case to Neruda after he hastily marries Roser so that she and her son Marcel can have a better future. Neruda admires Victor’s quick thinking skills and tells him that there will always be a place in Chile for people like him, also setting a course for the two to enjoy a life long friendship. The doctor who at the time is married in name only earns a place on the Winnipeg, ensuring that his family will take root in a foreign country. Mirroring Daughter of Fortune twenty years earlier when Eliza Sommers seeks to immigrate to California from Chile, the Dalmaus set sail from Spain to Chile, setting the stage for a saga that spans another fifty years against the backdrop of a country that undergoes immense political and internal upheaval. Victor Dalmau will become a symbol for many of these changes as Allende tells a more intricate tale of her country than the one that first made her famous more than thirty years ago.

Quality historical fiction tells the story of a time and place while also weaving the tale of a complex characters over the span of time. At her best, Allende does this as well as anyone. A Long Petal of the Sea is the story of both her country and her family. In the course of parts two and three of this novel, she includes anecdotes of Pablo Neruda, her uncle Salvador Allende, the Pinochet regime, and the refugees who were forced to seek asylum in Venezuela. This is her personal story so one can sense that it was told from the heart. Victor Dalmau through his relationship with Felipe del Solar and his wealthy family becomes a respected surgeon in Santiago. He had put down roots for himself by establishing the Winnipeg tavern as a Catalonian watering hole so that new immigrants would feel comfortable in their new country, while paying homage to the ship that brought them to freedom. While running the tavern, Roser went to work at the university making a name for herself as a gifted pianist and teacher. Marcel grows up behind the bar in an environment permeated by adults and is gifted beyond belief, earning a PhD in mineral engineering. Over time, Victor and Roser’s marriage becomes one of tender love rather than just convenience, and members of Allende’s family begin to show themselves in the peripheral characters in the novel, resulting in a story that is powerful at the close.

Isabel Allende notes that this story tells itself. She got the inspiration for parts of the prose while her family was exiled in Venezuela and she met fellow refugee Victor Pey, who had a lifetime of stories to tell her about their homeland. At the time, Allende did not think that she was going to be a writer, yet, the magical part of her family’s story was already on her mind as she began to write House of the Spirits. When it came time to write A Long Petal of the Sea, the story began to tell itself. There are so many themes here that are prevalent in Allende’s novels that make this a special novel: an homage to Chile, strong female characters in Roser Bruguera and Ofelia del Solar, forbidden romance between lovers of different stations of society and the ensuing consequences. I have revisited these in Allende’s opus and complementary trilogy, which makes her reinventing herself toward the end of her career all the more special. Her uncle President Salvador Allende and Pablo Neruda play prominent roles to advance the plot, ensuring that Victor Dalmau is not only forever grateful to the Chilean people for furthering his family’s existence but that he also has a front row seat to the history unfolding before him.

With a sparkling cover to symbolize the hope the Spanish war refugees must have felt upon arriving in Chile, A Long Petal of the Sea is sure to reel in a reader from its first pages. It may not be permeated in magical realism, but it is a moving historical saga that has all the key elements of a quality Allende novel. Historical figures, love triangles, the story of her own family, and appearances by recurring characters all play a role in the development of this novel. Isabel Allende has told the story of the Spanish Civil War while also weaving the history of Chile during the course of the 20th century. If this is the novel that she has written as a swan song to her illustrious career, then the story of the Dalmaus and Del Solar families is sure to merit a place next to her award winning novels. This time, Isabel Allende did not disappoint. Her homage to Chile has helped to rescue me from the winter doldrums and while it is not rich in magical realism, the story is pure magic.

*5 stars*
Profile Image for Ceecee.
1,905 reviews1,433 followers
January 21, 2020
Isabel Allende is one of my favourite authors and I have read a lot of her books over the years. This one is a real epic in every sense of the word and I read with fascination, admiration and at times horror at what humans inflict on fellow humans. The central characters are Victor Dalmau and Roser Bruguera and the novel takes us from the Spanish Civil War to Chile in 1994. Victor and Roser fight on the Republican side against Franco’s Nationalists, they flee Spain and go to France, from there they eventually go to Chile as poet Pablo Neruda hires a ship The Winnipeg to rescue some the trapped Spanish citizens. The long petal of the sea in Chile and this is how Neruda describes it to those he has rescued. Each chapter has some of Neruda’s words or poetry which is lovely. Here are real events combined with fictional characters to create an amazing historical novel.

This is an incredible story which takes an overarching look at real events and to me it felt like a docu-drama. I like the first part of the book more than the second as I think the storytelling of the Spanish Civil War is very compelling. I had Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica in my mind as I read about the shocking events. The part of the story in Chile is very good and at times shocking - Pinochet’s military dictatorship is well documented and is part of other books by Isabel Allende. I think perhaps because I knew less about the story set in France and Spain and so I enjoyed those sections more. My one criticism is that the story is told in the third person and at times this feels a bit impersonal but I’m assuming this is a deliberate choice as at times the characters have to detach themselves from horrific events around them.

The book has many themes. There is love especially between Victor and Roser, there is hope symbolised by The Winnipeg and a new life in Chile, there is a desire to find a place to belong as Victor and Roser’s life journey took them to several countries, there is war and dictatorship, there is bravery and survival. This is a massively ambitious book and tremendous respect goes to the author for daring to tell such a huge story. There are some fantastic descriptions and one of the ones that I will remember is when Victor felt his heart physically break with the reality of the Nationalist victory in Spain and the consequences of that for him and others. The characters real and imaginary are fantastic- I especially love Roser as her optimism in the face of terrible odds is inspirational and Victor is brave, loyal and deeply caring.

Some of the events are heartbreaking and shocking both in Spain and Chile. I had no idea that France called the Spanish refugees Undesirables and either sent them back to Spain or put them in concentration camps where many died. That Roser and Victor survive to live on so successfully in Chile is miraculous. This is a soaring, inspirational tale which had me gripped from start to finish and I like that the book finishes on an optimistic note for Victor.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing.
Profile Image for Jen CAN.
474 reviews1,300 followers
March 14, 2020
Allende can romanticize the simple things Just as she does with this title to describe where Chile snuggles into South America and the Pacific Ocean.
Her descriptions are so vivid you can smell the ocean; see the vibrant colours; hear the voices of country.
A story of the Spanish war that leads to a migration. Another generational story rich with characters, relationships and history. Maybe a little slower than some of her other works but appreciated the work that went into the research.
Gives me a wanderlust to travel.
My adoration for Allende continues 4⭐️
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,692 reviews14.1k followers
February 3, 2020
4.5 So very glad that Allende has returned to form. I had trouble with her last few books, though her earlier novels were outstanding. Historicals are definitely her forte as this book about demonstrated.

This is the story of Victor and Roser who get together under tragic circumstances. It is also a story of war, refugees, displacement and making a new country one's home. The Spanish Civil War, Franco and his terror, which sends many fleeing to France where they are not welcomed. Pablo Neruda, and his ship the Winnipeg. Neruda sponsored and chose a group of refugees that would settle in Chile. Roser and Victor are among this group and will result in a lifelong friendship.

In Chile Victor plays chess with Allende, a duly elected President, though not for long. Replaced by the Generals in a coup that will result in Pinchocets dictatorship. The historical facts are true, as are the people. A book that shows love can grow, even under the worst possible circumstances.

Victor and Roser are wonderful, fully realized characters. The prose is terrific, and resulted in a very readable, well flowing story. The status and non welcoming of refugees is current today, where many are fleeing danger in their own countries, trying to find safety, a new life. The refugee camps, also still present today, are found I many countries , detention centers in my own. As always when reading historicals I am disturbed to find how much my own country is involved in the fate of others. Wish it wasn't so, but it is what it is. We can't change history but one would think we could learn from it and do better. Wishful thinking.
Profile Image for ✨ A ✨ .
423 reviews1,625 followers
February 25, 2021
‘Years later, Neruda was to define it as a long petal of sea and wine and snow…with a belt of black and white foam...’

Keep in mind that this was my first adult book my Allende that I've read (I read her YA books as a teen).

I didn't know anything about the Spanish Civil war and I struggled to keep up with everything in the beginning. The first 50 pages were a bit hard for me to get through but once the plot started moving forward, I got used to her writing style and I became hooked.

None of the characters were perfect, they all had their own flaws, made bad choices. But ultimately that's what made them so incredibly realistic.

A lot of this book was based on real events. Even some of the characters that our MC interacts with were real people. Like Pablo Naruda and Salvador Allende. You could really tell how much research the author did and that she drew from her own experiences as an exile.

“So much hatred, so much cruelty . . . I don't understand,' said Victor. His mouth was dry and the words stuck in his throat.
'We can all turn into savages if we're given a rifle and an order,' said another prisoner who had come over to them.”

So many things about this story was a new experience for me. From reading about the civil war and the Chile setting.
What I really loved was how we follow the characters through out their life until old age. I thought that was really brilliant.

I don't have much experience reading about characters in their old age. It seems most authors seem to avoid this period of life and I thought Allende did a beautiful job.

The only reason I didn't give this 5 stars is because of how long it took me to get into the story at the beginning but I found the second half (especially the last quarter) of the book to be so gripping and beautiful and by that time I didn't want the story to end.

I finished this with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes.

« Thank you to the publishers for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review. »

Thoughts on the audiobook:

I alternated between reading the book and listening to the audio version. The narrator was really good. His pacing was great and he did every accent exceptionally as well as the words in Spanish or French.
Profile Image for Liz.
1,959 reviews2,406 followers
June 10, 2021
I can’t believe this is the first book by Isabel Allende that I’ve read. If this is any indication, I’ve been missing out. This is such a well done historical fiction. It fulfills all my requirements for HF - teach me something new, but incorporate facts without overwhelming the story. I was surprised how much of this book resonated with me, drawing parallels with current times - the political divides, the migrants at the border. I also loved what she had to say about both socialism and fascism. One of the truest paragraphs was this:
“He had become cynical, with little left of his youthful idealism and generosity. He admitted that socialism was the most just system, but in practice it led to a police state or a dictatorship as in Cuba, where anybody who didn’t agree with the regime either escaped to Miami or ended up in prison. His aristocratic nature abhorred the disorder of equality.”
I loved the points the book made about making a home wherever you land, about family, about moving forward. I was unaware of Allende’s own history or that she herself was a political refugee and an immigrant. No wonder this book rang so true!
I read this for my book club and recommend it to others looking for a book that would lead to a fascinating discussion.
Profile Image for luce (tired and a little on edge).
1,417 reviews3,405 followers
August 27, 2021
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Isabel Allende is one of my all time favourite writers.
When I was in middle-grade I fell in love with her Eagle and Jaguar series and in the years since I’ve enjoyed other novels by her.
Having loved her memoir of Chile, My Invented Country, I was looking forward to A Long Petal of the Sea as it promised to be an evocative account of Spanish refugees in Chile.

Set against the tumultuous backdrop of the Spanish Civil War, this novel tells the story of a young doctor, Victor Dalmau, who alongside his sister-in-law and many of their compatriots are forced into exile. The narrative opens in Spain, introducing us to Victor, his family, and Roser. Here Allende spends large sections to detailing the causes and consequences of the Spanish Civil War. We read of the bleak reality of soldiers such as Victor’s brother as well as the dangers faced by civilians. Victor, who is fighting against the fascist regime of Francisco Franco, soon realises that the only way he and his loved ones can survive is by leaving their once beloved but now unrecognisable country.
Enter the poet Pablo Neruda. It is thanks to him and the Winnipeg ship that around 2,000 refugees were able to escape a war torn Europe. In Chile Victor and Roser will have to learn to acclimate to a culture that is different from their own one. Their new status as refugees is not an easy one to embrace and both Victor and Roser will find difficulties in adjusting themselves to their new home.
On paper the story sounded like a tragic yet poignant epic. Sadly, within the first pages I soon picked up on the fact that in this novel Allende’s writing is all-telling and no-showing. There are a few brief dialogues here and there, but for the most part it is an act-by-act account of historical events with a few uninspired soap-operish elements thrown into the mix.
This ‘happened’, and then this ‘happened’, and years later this ‘happened’. Maybe I wouldn't have minded as much if the style hadn't been so very dry. I never grew connected to the people she was writing of because they didn’t really strike me as real people (which is ironic given that there are a few cameos of real-life people).

I managed to make my way through this narrative but only out of a sense of duty (towards Allende, whom I still consider to be an excellent writer and towards NetGalley). Usually it takes me a few days to finish a book...A Long Petal of the Sea took me over a week.

In the acknowledgments section Allende writes that “This book wrote itself, as if it had been dictated to me”. And in some ways it makes sense. This book feels like a blow by blow recital. The story lacks spontaneity and life, the characters are expandable.

While I recognise the vast amount of research that Allende must have carried out in order to write this book, and that she was inspired by the story of someone she personally knew...the writing is this novel far too passive for my taste.

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Profile Image for Tahani Shihab.
592 reviews803 followers
April 24, 2021
قلم إيزابيل الليندي من النوع السهل الممتع، ففي هذه الرواية تحكي الكاتبة قصة الطبيب الأسباني فيكتور، الذي أصبح أشهر جرّاح قلب في تشيلي وزوجته عازفة البيانو روزر، من خلال رواية تاريخية سياسية، رومانسية إنسانية متخيلة.

تُبحر الكاتبة إيزابيل الليندي بالقارئ إلى بداية الحرب الأسبانية في عام 1938. عندما يفرّ آلاف الأسبان إلى الحدود الفرنسية هربًا من نظام فرانكو القمعي. مما أدى إلى اصطفاف اللاجئين على الحدود مع فرنسا ومعاناتهم من البرد والجوع وسوء المعاملة من قبل الفرنسيين. تدخّل الشاعر بابلو نيرودا لإنقاذ بعض اللاجئيين الأسبان، فجهّز سفينة لتسفير 2000 لاجئ أسباني إلى تشيلي على متن الباخرة وينييغ.

رواية جميلة ممتعة وشيقة عن الحرب وما تخلفه من دمار وتهجير للمواطنين الذين ينتظرهم إما الإعدامات دون محاكمة، أو القتل العشوائي بسبب أن أحد أفراد العائلة من المناضلين. حيث يبقى الخيار الوحيد أمامهم المنفى إلى دول أخرى لا ترحب بالمهاجرين.


“لن يأتي أحد لمساعدتنا. فكّر بما أقوله لك، يا بنيَّ، حتى الاتحاد السوفيتي تخلَّى عنَّا. فإسبانيا لن تَعُد تهمّ ستالين. عندما تسقط الجمهورية سيكون القمع مرعبًا. لقد فرض فرانكو طريقته في التطهير، هذا يعني: أقصى ما يُمكن من الرُّعب، الحقد الشامل، الانتقام الأكثر دمويَّة. لن يفاوض ولن يعفو. قوَّاته تقترف فظاعات لا يُمكن وصفها”.

“أسوأ خيانة هي إشاعة اليأس أو الرُّعب بين سكَّان مستنفدين، عانوا وتحمَّلوا الكثير”.

"لا شيء، ولا حتَّى النصر، سيمحو ثقب الدم الرهيب” ـ بابلو نيرودا.

“نموت واقفين خير لنا من العيش راكعين”.

لا تصدَّق الدعاية الفرانكويَّة، لن تكون ثمَّة رحمة ولا عدالة. سيكون حمَّام دم، مثلما جرى في بقية أنحاء البلاد. لقد تخوزقنا”.

“لقد انشطر قلبي”. في تلك اللحظة، أدرك المعنى العميق لهذه الجملة، وخُيِّل إليه أنه سمع صوت زجاج يتكسَّر، وأحسَّ بأنَّ جوهر كيانه ينسكب ويتحوَّل إلى خواء، وبلا وعي للحاضر،. وبلا أمل بمستقبل. وتوصَّل إلى أنَّه لا بدَّ أن يكون هذا هو الذهاب في الدم، مثلما حدث لرجال كثيرين لم يتمكن من إنقاذهم”.

“كثير من الألم، كثير من الدناءة والخسَّة في هذه الحرب بين الأخوة؛ الهزيمة أفضل من مواصلة القتل والموت”.

“لا شيء ينمو في عتمة الأسرار، فالحبّ بحاجة إلى الضوء والفضاء كي يتمدَّد ويتَّسع”.

“الوطن هو المكان الذي يوجد فيه موتانا”.

“وضع الخطط شيء وممارسة الحكم شيء آخر. سوف ترى كيف ستحدث فوضى سياسية واجتماعية في البلاد، وکیف سيمضي الاقتصاد إلى الإفلاس. هؤلاء الناس يفتقرون إلى الخبرة والإعداد، يمضون وقتهم في مناقشات لا تنتهي، ولا يتوصلون إلى التوافق على أي شيء”.

“من غير الممكن تغيير الماضي، ولكنْ ربَّما يكون بالإمكان المضيّ في استبعاد أسوأ الذكريات”.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Dalia Nourelden.
488 reviews638 followers
February 9, 2023
انا حقيقي سعيدة جدا بقراءة هذه الرواية ،من قبل قرائتي لهذه الرواية و انا أحب ايزابيل الليندى ، أحب اسلوبها وطريقتها فى السرد ، أحب انها حتى الآن لم تخذلني فى اى كتاب قرأته لها ، والمعلومات والأحداث التى تقدمها بشكل رائع وهنا أحببتها أكثر بالطبع لأسلوبها وسردها وحبكة تفاصيله�� ولان رغم كرهي للتفاصيل السياسية والتاريخية الا انى احببتها كالعادة مع ايزابيل فهى تجعلني مستمتعة معها وأتعرف على تفاصيل وأحداث لم أهتم يوما ان أعرف عنها شيئا دون أن اشعر بالملل وهذه بالنسبة لى ميزة هامة احتسبها لايزابيل الليندى وتجعلني أحبها .

. ولأنى من خلال تقييمات ورفيوهات وأحاديث الأصدقاء وأعجابهم بهذه الرواية. كنت متشوقة جدا لقراءة هذه الرواية وكانت توقعاتي لها عالية لذا كان خوفي ايضا مضاعفا 🙈🙊، خوفا من ان يسقط سقف توقعاتي محطما لرأسي و حماسي . لذا ظلت فى مكتبتي أخاف من الاقتراب منها واؤجل اللقاء حتى تغمرني الرغبة فى البدء بها وقد حان وقتها بشكل مفاجئ بالنسبة لى و الحمد لله جاءت الرواية لتزيد من حبي واحترامى لهذه الكاتبة الجميلة .

أجد انه من الصعب حقا الحديث عن هذه الرواية ومن الصعب ايضا عدم الحديث عنها . لن استطيع ايفائها حقها وإيصال إعجابي بها . كما ان المتعة الحقيقية تكمن فى الرحلة نفسها بصحبة ايزابيل الليندى واشعار بابلو نيرودا واسمحوا لي أن اشارككم هذه القصيدة التى أضافت ايزابيل جزء منها فى الفصل الثامن لكنها أعجبتنى بشدة فبحثت عنها

إذا ما نسيتني بابلو نيرودا


إذا ما نسيتني بابلو نيرودا

أريدك أن تعرفي
شيئًا واحدًا:
تعرفين ما يكون عليه الأمر:
إذا تطلعتُ
إلى القمر الكريستاليّ، إلى الغصن الأحمر
للخريف المتمهّلِ عند نافذتي؛
إذا لمستُ،
قرب النار،
الرمادَ الذي لا يمكن لمسُه،
أو جسدَ الجذع المتجعّدَ؛
فإنّ كلّ شيء سيحملني إليكِ،
كما لو أنّ كلَّ ما هو موجودٌ ــــ
العبير، الضوء، المعادن ــــ
قواربُ صغيرةٌ
نحو جُزُركِ التي تنتظرني.
حسنًا، الآن،
إذا توقّفتِ عن حبّي شيئًا فشيئًا،
فسأتوقفُ عن حبّكِ شيئًا فشيئًا.
إذا نسيتِني
فلا تبحثي عني،
لأنّني سأكون قد نسيتُك أصلًا.
إذا كنتِ تظنّين أنّ راياتِ الريح
التي تعْبر حياتي طويلةٌ ومجنونة،
وقرّرتِ تركي
على ضفافِ القلب
حيث لديّ جذورٌ،
أنّني في ذلك اليوم،
في تلك الساعة،
سأرفعُ ذراعيَّ،
وستسافرُ جذوري،
قاصدةً أرضًا أخرى.
لو في كلِّ يوم،
وكلِّ ساعة،
شعرتِ أنّك قدري
بعذوبةٍ لا تسكَّن؛
لو أنه، في كلّ يوم، صعدتْ زهرةٌ
إلى شفتيك لتبحثَ عني؛
آه حبيبتي، آه مليكتي،
ففي داخلي، سيتجدد كلُّ ذلك الحريق.
في داخلي، لا شيء يُطفأ أو يُنسى؛
فحبّي يتغذّى على حبك، يا حبيبتي؛
وما دمتِ حيّةً فسيكون بين ذراعيكِ،
من دون أن يترك ذراعيَّ.

بابلوا نيرودا
إذا ما نسيتني


" لقد كانت حياتي مجموعة من الإبحارات ، تنقلت من مكان إلى آخر في هذه الأرض . كنت أجنبيا من دون أن أدري أن لي جذورا عميقة ... وكذلك أبحرت روحي "

تصحبنا ايزاييل من خلال ١٣ فصل لتسرد لنا احداث سياسية وتاريخية وشخصية من عام ١٩٣٨ وحتى عام ١٩٩٤ . الفصول فى البداية سنوية ثم مع الثلث الاخير تقريبا يضم الفصل مرور العديد من السنوات .

نتابع الأحداث من خلال عدة شخصيات أبرزهم بالطبع عائلة البروفيسور مارسيل لويس وزوجته كارمي دالماو والابن الاصغر وليام والأكبر فيكتور دالماو وروزر بروغيرا التى ضمها البروفيسور إلى عائلته إعجابا بموهبتها الموسيقية وشخصيات اخرى هامة ستظهر لنا تباعا مع ذكر لشخصيات حقيقية بالطبع مثل الشاعر بابلو نيرودا الذي يفتتح معنا كل فصل بجزء من قصيدة له و سلفادور الليندى الذي حكم تشيلي .

. تبدأ أحداث الرواية والقسم الاول منها " حرب ونزوح " في عام ١٩٣٨ لتقص لنا احداث الحرب الأهلية في إسبانيا و معاناة الشعب والهروب من اسبانيا للفرار من بطش الديكتاتور الجنرال فرانكو الى فرنسا من خلال متابعتنا لابطالنا خصوصا فيكتور دالماو حينا وصديقه السائق ايتور ايبارا وروزر حينا آخر

" كان الرجال يتصارعون حتي الموت من أجل إلإمساك برغيف وتتلقي النساء وكذلك الأطفال بعض الفتات اذا ما تقاسم شخص رحيم حصته معهم . كثيرون كانوا يموتون ، مابين ثلاثين وأربعين شخصا كل يوم "
.... .

" بعد وقت متأخر جدا سيستخلص العالم الحسابات المفروضة: لقد مات قرابة خمسة عشر ألف شخصا في مخيمات الجوع والحرمان وسوء المعاملة والأمراض الفرنسية تلك . تسعة من كل عشرة أطفال ماتوا "


ثم يظهر لنا بعدها و مع القسم الثاني في الرواية " منفي وغراميات وفراق " الشاعر بابلو نيرودا وقصة توفيره للسفينة وينيبيغ ومساعدته لنقل جماعة من اللاجئيين الاسبانيين الى تشيلى التي وصفها نيرودا في شعره بأنها "بتلة بحرٍ ونبيذٍ وثلجٍ متطاولة" ومساعدتهم على الاستقرار والانتقال الى تشيلي .




ولننتقل حينها إلى تشيلي لنلتقي هناك بآل دوسولار التي تضم ايسيدرو وزوجته لورا والابن الاكبر فيليبه
وابنتهم اوفيليا والمربية خوانا نانكوتشيو
ونتابع حياة روزرو وحياة فيكتور الذي قال يوما ما
" أري أن حياتي موسومة بالحرب الأهلية في شبابي ، وبعد ذلك بالانقلاب العسكري وبمعسكرات الاعتقال والمنفي. لم أختر شيئا من هذا كله ، لقد أصابني وحل بي بكل بساطة "

وروزر التى قيل عنها :
" لكنها عاشت ثلاث حيوات . إنها آتية من الفقر ، ونجت من حرب خاسرة وعانت أحزان المنفى وآلامه " .

ثم يأتي القسم الثالث " عودات وجزور " لنستكمل حياة شخصياتنا مع التعرف على الاحداث التى تقع فى تشيلي ، والأنقلاب العسكرى الذي اطاح بسيلفادور الليندى وما تعرض له مؤيديه ، الانقلاب الذي تأثرت بها الكاتبة نفسها بصفتها ابنه اخيه
كانت آخر كلمات أليندي عبر الراديو كالتالي:
 ” أعلن أني لن أتنازل، اني مستعد أن أقدم حياتي دفاعاً عن السلطة التي ائتمنتني الشغيلة عليها، أن هروبي سيكون أقذر من خيانة هؤلاء الجنود الذين خانوا وطنهم…عاشت تشيلي، يحيا الشعب، يحيا العمال! هذه هي كلماتي الأخيرة، وأنا واثق من أن تضحيتي هذه لن تكون عبثية.وستكون العقاب المعنوي للجبن والخيانة ”


فهى رواية عن تاريخ تشيلي وحكاية اللاجئين الاسبان ، عن الديكتاتورية وتأثيراتها ، عن الظلم وعن القمع والقتل ، عن الفقد والضياع وأوجاع الشعوب والظلم الذي تتعرض له ، وعن حب الوطن والانتماء له . عن الحب العاطفي وعن الصداقة وعن العائلة وعن الشغف ، عن الحب السريع المشتعل والحب الذي ينمو ببطء دون ان ننتبه إليه حتى نجده قد تملكنا . عن الكفاح والأمل ايا كان العمر . باختصار هى رائعة أخرى من روائع ايزاييل الليندى.
وكما تقول ايزابيل الليندى عن الرواية :


١٧ / ٦ / ٢٠٢١

اليوم لى احتفالين أولهم عيد ميلاد حبيبى الغالي ورفيقي الصغير ابن اخى الحبيب أحمد كل عام وهو بألف خير وسعادة 💖💖


واحتفالى الثاني لإنهائي هذه الرواية الجميييلة التى استمتعت بقرائتها ولتكون بالنسبة لى الرواية الأولى نظريا لهذا العام التى اقيمها بخمس نجوم كاملة بدون انقاص حتى ربع نجمة 😂 رغم ان آخر فقرة فيها عكسي تماما وكان من الممكن فى رواية أخرى ان لا تعجبني لكن هنا اعجبتنى وهى الرواية الثالثة فعليا بعد تقييمى للبصيرة والجزء السادس من سلسلة سبتيموس الظلام الذين قيمتهم بخمس نجوم
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,083 reviews30.1k followers
January 27, 2020
Thank you, Random House and Ballantine Books, for the gifted copy.

Isabel Allende has long been one of my favorite storytellers, ever since I read The House of the Spirits/La Casa de los Espiritus in Spanish while in college.

I was lost in A Long Petal of the Sea. So much so, I slowly savored reading it over a month’s time, which I rarely do. I needed to read it slowly because I never wanted to leave these characters. It also gave me time to reflect on this book’s brilliance. This type of characterization and storytelling is exactly why I read. Bonus points for learning more about Spain during this time period.

I know it's probably clear: A Long Petal of the Sea is at the top of my favorites list. If you love a story you can fall into, please don’t miss it. No one weaves a story like Isabel Allende.

Many of my reviews can also be found on instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader
Profile Image for Heba.
995 reviews1,894 followers
July 14, 2022
"ايزابيل الليندي" ..أنتِ تستحقين يا سيدتي لقب شهرذاد أمريكا اللاتينية....
كيف يمكن للحقيقة المتخيلة تكسب أشد الأحداث التاريخية مأساوية بريقاً يأخذك أينما كان....لابد وأنكِ تتمتعين بذاكرة استثنائية وثوقيتها تتجلى في سلاسة سرد الأحداث كما إنه يبدو أنكِ قمتِ بالتقصي وجمع العديد من المعلومات الثرية بتفاصيلها لكي تقدمين عملاً بمثل هذه الإنسيابية التي لا نظير لها....
ليس هنالك وصفاً مماطلاً...ولا حشواً ��بثياً ..ثمة حالة من التوازن يصعب على المرء الإتيان بتوصيف دقيقٍ لها...
تشعر بأنفاسها المتوهجة الشغوفة تلاحق الحروف المرسومة على الورق...أم تراها هى من تلاحقها...؟ من يدري...
ينبعث من الكلمات قوة غامضة تستبد بك...تستسلم لها ، تشعر كما لو ان زمنك انت بات متجمداً وقد توقف عند اللحظة التي شرعت فيها بالقراءة بينما زمن "سفينة نيرودا" هو الزمن الوحيد الذي يمضي دون توقف....
ما بين الحرب الاسبانية الأهلية والتي انتهت بهزيمة الجمهوريين، والتنقل على متن سفينة " وينيبيغ" إلى تشيلي حيث يتكرر السيناريو ثانية ...والمزيد من الدماء ..الدناءة..والموت....
حداد على معاناة العالم ...عالم مشوه بائس بعداواته وحروبه القاسية ، باختلافاته المقيتة وايدولوجياته المتسلطة الواهية...ولكن دونما أن تغرق في رثاء لاجدوى منه...دوماً هنالك رنين قوة يصدر من الكلمات...صوت يأبى الإنكسار ..ينفض رماد الحزن الذي يقبع عميقاً ..فيتناثر غباراً على ظلال الكلمات....
هنا المنافي واغترابها...تعلق الروح بجذورها..الحنين والتوق إلى الوطن...جراح الحروب التي لا تندمل ، والالتحاف بالذكريات المؤلمة في ظل نكبات متتالية لم يفصلها هدنة....
بعيداً...يأتيك صوت أشعار "نيرودا" تشق مياه البحر ، تتماوج بكلماتها العذبة الدافئة لا تعرف سوى وجهة واحدة...هى القلب....
واخيراً يبقى الإمتنان للشيء الوحيد الذي يجعل المرء يتحمل كل ذاك...ألا وهو الحب.....
"لقد انشطر قلبي " تلك اللحظة ..أدرك المعنى العميق لهذه الجملة وخُيل اليه أنه سمع صوت زجاج يتكسر وأحس بأن جوهر كيانه ينسكب ويتحول إلى خواء ، بلا ذاكرة من الماضي ، بلا وعي للحاضر ، وبلا امل بمستقبل ، وتوصل إلى انه لابد أن يكون هذا هو الذهاب في الدم.....
Profile Image for Barbara.
267 reviews204 followers
May 7, 2021
"We're going to put an end to the privileges of the oligarchy, the Church, the big landowners, all the other exploiters of the people. We have to defend democracy."

Where is home? Where is your heart? Is it the country of your birth? Is it where you grow old, or is it some country in between? These are questions Roser and Victor, the main characters in A Long Petal of the Sea, face. They are the same questions thousands of displaced people face today. Whether escaping countries torn by war, authoritarian governments, violence, or draught, all victims have to struggle with this sense of where do we belong. Roser and Victor are forced to leave Spain, and years later, they are forced to leave Chile. Fascism and authoritarian regimes seem to follow them through the years.

Allende tells the epic story of this unconventional couple caught in the political upheaval during the Spanish Civil War. Roser is a young musical protege of Victor's father and the pregnant lover of Victor's brother, Guillem. When Guillem dies fighting for the Republican cause and the fight against Franco becomes futile, they, like 500 thousand other Spaniards, must leave Spain or face the brutality of the fascist regime. Victor, Roser, and Victor's mother undertake the arduous journey across the Pyrenees into an unwelcoming France. From the horrific French internment camps they are fortunate to be able to board a ship for Spanish refugees which will take them to Chile, a country sympathetic to their political beliefs and their current dilemma. The one requirement for Roser and Victor is they must marry.

Through their many years in Chile we follow their lives, the shared raising of Roser's baby, their careers, their relationships. Victor finishes his medical degree which was interrupted by the war. Roser follows her career as an accomplished musician. Their marriage of necessity becomes one of
understanding, respect, and deepening love. But trouble is brewing in Chile. A military coup replaces the socialist government with the dictator, Pinochet. They must leave Chile and go to Venezuela.

A Petal to the Sea refers to the slender blade shape of Chile. It is a line taken from a poem by Chilean
poet, Pablo Neruda. Allende begins each chapter with a line or two of his poetry. Neruda, the consul of emigration in 1938, was instrumental in obtaining the ship, the Winnipeg, that brought Roser and Victor to Chile. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in literature in 1971 "for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent's destiny and dreams".

Allende's novel is such a tribute to courage, resilience, endurance and love. Her characteristic strong women are present in all her books I have read and reflect who she is. The Isabelle Allende Foundation is "invested in the power of women". This is storytelling by a master. This is a history that needs to be known.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,192 reviews1,241 followers
September 20, 2021
Pain is inevitable in this world. But what separates us as humans is how we react and respond to the relentless waves that pound against us in their fury. Who we become upon reaching the other side is telling in itself.

Isabel Allende is a masterful narradora......a Chilean storyteller with an amazing experiential background. Born in Lima, Peru, she has lived through Latin American unrest. In A Long Petal of the Sea, Allende will focus on the horrendous impact upon the people because of the Spanish Civil War beginning in 1936. There are parallels with Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls that was inspired by his years as a war correspondent in Spain. You feel it, you see it, you live it.

A Long Petal of the Sea opens the door to 1938 in Spain and focuses on several families who have been caught up in the midst of the country's civil war. General Francisco Franco and his forces wish Spain to return to its imperial glories of the past. With his high and mighty mindset, he rules with an iron fist and spreads terror. Thousands of his own countrymen are slaughtered for speaking out and rising up against him. His atrocities are felt by the Lincoln Brigade of Americans who came to assist. Over 9,000 Americans are buried on Spanish soil.

The aforementioned families include two brothers, Victor and Guillen Dalmau, whose lives we will track through Allende's outstanding writing. Survival will mean escaping Spain for France and then to South America, in particular Chile, through the appeal of the poet Pablo Neruda. Without Neruda's help thousands more Spaniards would have died at the hands of Franco.

Allende's characters are so complex as their lives unfold. It's here that many readers will feel the intricacies of Allende's story and it may bog down at times with the weight of it. But this is Allende's gift for detail at which she excels so well. You will readily feel the frustrations and hope's deadends through her storytelling.

A Long Petal of the Sea takes you to a place in history where you may have little or no experience. Compassion brews upward from allowing yourself to feel and experience another's pain. War and civil unrest create the sorrowful situations of people on the move seeking a far better existence and forcing themselves to rebuild their lives under dire circumstances. Resilience comes with guarding your heart while taking on the mantle of a new identity.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Ballantine Books (Random House) and to the highly talented Isabel Allende.
Profile Image for Debbie W..
707 reviews451 followers
October 13, 2020
With her latest book, I am reminded once again why Isabel Allende is one of my favourite authors. She tells a political story of love, hope and compassion. She paints beautiful portrayals of each character so that her readers can relate to and empathize with them and their imperfect humanities. Allende brings to light historical events I was totally ignorant about until now. Her extensive research of Spain's Civil War beginning in 1938, the Spanish refugees who escaped to France and then sailed on the SS Winnipeg to Chile in 1939, to Chile's political history up to 1991 was so enlightening that I had to Google these events to learn more. I found this story to be suitably paced with a satisfying ending. A MUST READ for all historical fiction fans!
October 28, 2021
Spanning decades, covering multiple generations, the Long Petal of the Sea is the dramatic story of a family set against the background of a country and a world torn by war, as we relive the horrors, misfortunes, and tragedies of so many people caught up in one of history’s most turbulent times.

Victor Dalmau is a young doctor, who marries his brother’s widow, Roser, after he was killed in the fight against the forces of Franco. A revolutionary himself, Victor is then forced to flee Spain to France during the Spanish civil war. The marriage, one of convenience, may miss the love and tenderness of romance but the strength and bond between them is mesmerising. Victor and Roser are stoic figures in the fight for survival and begin planning and securing ships that will take refugees and people exiled during these tumultuous times to a safe haven in Chile. On the map Chile looked slender and remote, but years later Neruda was to define it as

“ a long petal of the sea and wine and snow.. with a belt of black and white foam”

The book chronicles the lives, losses, and triumphs from the end of the Second World War onwards, through the times of Salvador Allende, who is a relative of the author and shares the same surname, and the ruthless Pinochet regime.

The historical period covered in the book is quite extraordinary, and although extensive it does not lose its way, and with deep and rich insights into the turbulent times it invokes strong emotions of compassion and sympathy for people that were persecuted, oppressed, and displaced at home and in a foreign country living in abject poverty.

What I disliked about the book was the extent to which the historical elements were woven into the story. Sound confusing? Well, here is why

It felt a bit like reading a history book interspersed with fictional characters and their stories rather than the other way round, which I tend to prefer with historical fiction novels. As such it lacked a bit of the passion I enjoy from heartfelt and moving stories that tug on your heart strings or make you sit up and take notice. For that reason, the fictional element felt a bit fragmented at times as the stories of our fictional characters was suspended in favour of the history lesson (whilst the history is fascinating – not to that extent in this novel).

Beautiful writing as usual from Isabel Allende, and the depth of knowledge of the period and Allende’s common theme of the displacement and migration of people around the world in times of extreme poverty, political unrest, and war, continues to give these “people” a voice in history.

Highly recommended but brace yourself a lesson in history too.
Profile Image for Libby.
575 reviews157 followers
February 12, 2020
Isabel Allende brings the history of the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War and the 1973 Chilean coup d’etat to vivid life as the backdrop of this dramatic story. She begins each chapter with the powerful and heartfelt poetry of Pablo Neruda, setting an emotional tone for the terrible cost of war, longing for one’s country, romantic ardor, and political ideology. Like little jewels, her fictional characters are carefully set into the tapestry of historical fact.

In 1939, it is Pablo Neruda as Special Consul in Paris for Immigration that bears the responsibility for seeing to it that 2,200 Spanish refugees make their way onboard the Winnipeg bound for Chile. Victor Dalmau had three years of medical studies under his belt and thus had worked as part of a medical team during the Spanish Civil War. When one day, Victor brings a young soldier back to life by massaging his heart through an open chest wound, he feels the call of his destiny. After a long and harrowing journey (fleeing the Nationalist soldiers), he finds himself applying to Neruda for the opportunity to emigrate to Chile by way of the Winnipeg along with his deceased brother’s girlfriend and their baby boy. When Neruda tells him that preference is given to immediate family members, he and Roser are married for the sake of convenience.

In this story, character development is masterful. I was in awe of Roser, rescued from being a goatherd by her adoptive father and taken under the wing of Professor Dalmau as his favorite music student. He tells his youngest son, Guillem, “that girl is sacred,” and instructs him to always show her respect. Guillem is a soldier and doesn’t suffer for lack of female attention, but when Roser nurses him back to health after a serious illness, the attraction is mutual. Throughout the novel, Roser is revealed as tough, rock-solid, and pragmatic. When she becomes Victor’s wife, there is initially no romance, but over time and their complex histories, something special takes root and flourishes. For all the interest I have in the historical context of this novel, I am happy that Allende creates characters that are so colorful and with such great depth.

Although Victor served the apolitical purpose of medicine, his family came down solidly on the side of the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War. Interestingly, this was the left, sided with communists, anarchists, workers, and peasants and supported by Mexico and USSR. The Nationalists were generally upper class led by General Franciso Franco and supported by fascist Germany and Italy. Imagine how those people (the Republicans) who had to flee Spain for their lives in 1939 must have felt when Chile, the country that had become their new homeland began to have similar political problems in 1970. Unfortunately, our own country is heavily implicated in the black history of those times. Allende builds a beautiful story, always maintaining her focus on her characters while giving them the shape of loved ones as they rise from the soil of Spain and Chile's history and politics.
Profile Image for Nadia.
267 reviews174 followers
November 16, 2019
I came across Isabel Allende when I was 16 and was looking for books similar to One Hundred Years of Solitude. Somebody recommended The House of the Spirits (her first novel) to me which I read in a day and is one of my all time favourites. I've read a couple of other novels from Isabel Allende who in my opinion consistently delivers well written books often with aspects of magical realism intertwined with the rich history of Chile, and political and social insights. 

A Long Petal of the Sea is a historical fiction novel (with no elements of magical realism), a family saga spanning from 1936 to 1994. Based on the true events of the ship Winnipeg which carried over 2,000 Spanish refugees from France to Chile in 1939 organised by the poet Pablo Neruda, the story follows the lives of a young doctor Victor Dalmau and his wife Roser. While the story is fictional, the book provides a realistic account of the Spanish Civil War, the political situation in Chile during WWII and after. While I enjoyed learning about the historic events depicted in the novel, the story itself can lack excitement at times as some of the plot events are described more than once and felt a bit repetitive.   

3.5 stars

Many thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing for my review opy in exchange for an honest review.
October 15, 2019

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I've read a lot of Isabel Allende's stuff before and I really like some of it, but some of it is also too weird for me. A LONG PETAL OF THE SEA is actually a pretty good introduction to Isabel Allende because it's mild, and doesn't have any magic realism, so you get a sense of her literary style without the surrealism that can sometimes make her stories hard to follow.

A LONG PETAL OF THE SEA is set in Spain in the 1930s, under the fascist regime of Francisco Franco. A rift is beginning to form, and those who do not follow his tyrannical ways suffer or disappear. Roser and Victor are a young couple who end up fleeing as refugees to Chile. Their marriage is one of convenience so they can both be sponsored by Pablo Neruda to contribute to Chile's economy in new positions (as a musician and a doctor).

One of the things I liked best about this book is that it's like one of those epics from the 1970s and 80s-- it follows Roser and Victor throughout their entire lives. Roser's history is especially interesting, as she came from nothing, and was adopted by a rich old man, only to fall in love with a soldier who died before they could be officially married, leaving her as a single mother. When she marries Victor, her brother-in-law, they aren't attracted to each other at all. He only marries her to be a father to her son, Marcel, and help get her into Chile as his wife.

Victor is definitely a kind man, although he makes mistakes (one of which is having an affair with the daughter of a wealthy landowner, Ofelia). It's not really cheating since their relationship (the one he has with Roser) is open, and both of them plan to get divorced eventually, once they go back to Spain. Their platonic relationship actually gives them a really strong bond, though, and eventually, after so many years of companionship and shared experiences, Victor begins to fall for her for real.

The end of the book is a little sad and bittersweet, but not for the reasons you might think. A LONG PETAL OF THE SEA is a very timely book, because it shows how immigrants and refugees can contribute and add to a country's culture and economy, as well as the inevitability of our mortal ends, and the importance of having a life well-lived, surrounded by family. It's definitely a much better book than THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE, another book about fascist Spain that definitely skates over the oppression. In A LONG PETAL OF THE SEA, you feel the stakes-- and they are weighty.

I'm not giving this a higher rating because it could be boring at times. Allende does a lot of recounting, more telling and less showing. It gives it an almost fairy-tale quality at times, but at other times this matter-of-fact play-by-play of every character's actions was hard to pay attention to, and I occasionally caught my mind drifting while I was attempting to read. I did like the story, and the characters, and-- again-- not to hate on Ruta Sepetys, but I'd take Isabel Allende over Ruta Sepetys any day, and if you're going to read a book about fascist Spain, this is the one you should pick.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! 

3 to 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Fiona.
817 reviews428 followers
July 4, 2020
I was drawn to this book by its setting in the Spanish Civil War and by the story of the Winnipeg, the ship chartered by Pablo Neruda to take 2,000 refugees to Chile. The preface by Isabel Allende whet my appetite and the first few pages were a very strong and shocking opening. It soon became so, so dry though. I struggled to feel any emotion behind the words. This happened, then this happened, she said and he said, then this happened.......with a lot of historical detail behind events. The history was for me the most interesting part. I usually love learning about history through fiction but I’d rather read an actual history than this long-winded account.

I’m not finishing this book as there are too many other books waiting on my shelves. I wanted to enjoy it much more than I did but I have to be honest. I’m giving it 3 stars because it would probably be unfair to give fewer.

With thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing UK and NetGalley for a review copy.
Profile Image for شهاب الدين.
155 reviews131 followers
August 23, 2021

" الحكومات تذهب والشعراء يبقون، يا دون بابلو نيرودا، ولسوف تعود حضرتك محاطاً بالمجد والمهابة، تذكر هذا الذي أقوله لك"

" أنت ترى يا فيكتور كيف أن الحياة والموت يمضيان على الدوام جنباً إلى جنب


دائماً كنت أقول لصديقي الأدب مثلث، متساوي الأضلاع، أضلاعه هم الأدب اللاتيني والروسي والعربي، وأي شيء أخر يتخلف عنهم كثيرا
والأن أنا في حضرة رواية من أروع روايات الأدب اللاتيني المعاصر، بالإضافة لأختلاط القصة بشكل مباشر ببابلو نيرودا شاعر الزمان والدم والحب.

الأفضل والأسوء نقطة نسبية، عادة ما يصعب جداً الإجماع على شيء معين بالتفضيل، لكن هنا الأمر مختلف، فعندما أخبرك أن بابلو نيرودا هو الشاعر الغربي الأفضل على مر العصور في جميع الأزمنة، عليك أن تعترف بكونها حقيقة يقينية لا جدال فيها.
فنحن هنا بصدد الحديث عن واحد من أعظم شعراء التاريخ المعاصر في الأراضي الغربية من الكرة الأرضية، وعلى كل حال لا يضاهيه أحد في الأراضي الشرقية في العصر الحديث.
إنه بابلو نيرودا، الشاعر التشيلي الأعظم، شاعر الإنسانية والحرب والسلام والدم والترحال، شاعر المنفى والوطن، شاعر النجاة والهلاك. بفضل بابلو نيرودا وحده أكثر من ثلاثة أللاف أسرة إسبانية كُتب لهم حياة جديدة فراراً من ديكتاتورية فرانكو الخالد بعد الحرب الأهلية في إسبانيا.

"إنه بابلو نيرودا، رجلاً من الجنوب، من أراضي الأمطار والأحشاب، أفضل شعراء جيله. "


" لا بأس الأن،
اذا رحتِ شيئاً فشيئاً، تتخلين عن حبي
فسوف أتخلى عن حبك شيئاً فشيئاً
اذا ما نسيتيني
فلا تبحثي عني، لإني سأكون قد نسيتك"
بابلو نيرودا - إذا نسيتيني

هل تعرف يا صديقي بدولة صغيرة تسمى تشيلي؟ في أقصى جنوب العالم الغربي، كان يقول عنها بابلو نيرودا إنها بتلة بحر طويلة، لو نظرت للخريطة الأن لوجدت صدق حديثه عنها، إن كنت من فئة المثقفين فبالطبع ستعرف تشيلي من خلال قلم بابلو نيرودا وإيزابيل الليندي، أما لو كنت من هواة كرة القدم فأنت تعرفها بالطبع من خلال اللاعب ارتورو فيدال وسانشيز وغيرهم من نجوم كرة القدم.
أما لو كنت أسباني يعيش بأراضي تشيلي اللاتينيه ستعيش عمرك كله انت وأحفادك وأولادهم ممتنين لذلك الشاعر العظيم بابلو نيرودا.


صديقي القارئ أنا لا اتحدث عن التاريخ هنا بشكل مفصل فلن أزعجك بالأيام والسنين لكن عليك أن تعرف أن بنهاية الحرب الأهلية في اسبانيا عام 1939 وسقوط إقليم كتالونيا أخيراً وهو أخر من صمد أمام هجوم فرانكو الغشيم ومساعدات هتلر وموسوليني الخبيثة، بدأت حقبة جديدة في تاريخ اسبانيا أمتدت حتى 1975 بموت فرانكو، ذلك الرئيس الخالد الذي لا يموت أبداً!.

كان يقول ماريو فارغاس يوسا في كتابه ليتوما في جبال الإنديز: ’ إني أسأل نفسي مراراً وتكراراً في كل مرة لماذا لا يموت أولاد العاهرات؟’

ربما تنطبق هذه المقولة على فرانثيسكو فرانكو، على كل حال بنهاية الحرب الأهلية كان لأهل كتالونيا مصيرين لا ثالث لهما، الأول هو الموت للرجال والنساء والاطفال والشيوخ فجميعهم سواء عند فرانكو ولا فرق بين��ما، والثاني هو الفرار إلى الجبال والكهوف على حدود فرنسا، قيل حينها أن حدود فرنسا أختفت بشكل جزئي بعد نهاية الحرب من على العالم بسبب تكدس الأسبان الهاربين من مصير فرانكو الخبيث لهم، وبالطبع دون الحديث عن التفاصيل الداخليه، لم تستقبل فرنساً كل هذا العدد على كل حال.
في ظل تلك الظروف وإنهيار الدولة الشعبية الديموقراطية الإسبانية، يأتِ بسفينة الأمل، سفينة وينبيغ، تلك السفينة التي حملت على خشبها ألفين لاجئ أسباني لقدم العالم، حيث تشيلي اليمينية الكاثوليكية المتحفظة، وكان الفضل كله أولا وأخراً للشاعر العظيم بابلو نيرودا. بموافقة الرئيس سلفادور الليندي – هو أول رئيس إشتراكي في امريكا اللاتينيه –
ومن هنا بدات حياة جديدة لهؤلاء اللاجئين الأسبان في ألاراضي التشيلية وتم دمجهم بالمجتمع التشيلي بطريقة كبيرة


" من غير الممكن تغيير الماضي، ولكن ربما يكون بالإمكان المضي في استبعاد أسوأ الذكريات "

ولكن بخصوص حديثنا عن الرواية، فتعد رواية سفينة نيرودا هي أخر أعمال الروائية التشيلية إيزابيل الليندي، كما إنها أخر مترجمات المترجم الراحل صالح علماني، فهم يتركون لنا إرثاً عظيماً.
أنا عاجز جداً عن كتابة المراجعة لهذه الرواية،الرواية ساحرة حد إنك ربما تعتزل القراءة لفترة ما بعدها حتى لا يختفي بريقها سريعاً.

إيزابيل الليندي صاحبة القلم الشامل والوفي فهي تكتب ما بين الواقع والخيال،ما بين الحلم واليقظة، ما بين الأمل واليأس حتى تحدثنا عن أهم فترة في تاريخي إسبانيا وتشيلي عندما يبدء الحديث عن الحرب الأهلية الإسبانية والقمع الديكتاتوري لفرانكو الخالد الذي لا يموت أبداً وخصوصا إنهيار مدينة كتالونيا أخيراً وكل ذلك جاء بشكل مفصل وسرد ممتع إلى حد كبير، وحقائق تاريخية وأساليب أدبية بليغة نظراً إن هذه الحرب خاصة كانت هي الصورة المصغرة للحرب العالمية الثانية، فإما أن ينتهوا الألمان أمام المقاومة الشعبية بأسبانيا، أو تنتهي أوروبا لأجل هتلر وموسوليني وهذا ما حدث.

" دائما هناك حرب في مكان ما يا فيكتور. "

إيزابيل الليندي أبدعت بكل ما تحمله الكلمة من معاني، الرواية وجبة دسمة بشكل كبير، ممتلئة بالمعلومات السياسية والمشاعر الإنسانية والحب العذري، والصراع الأبدي بين الإشتراكية والرأسمالية وبكل ذلك ستظل معك أشعار وقصة حياة بابلو نيرودا لحظة بلحظة طوال الرواية.

أما بخصوص الإشتراكية وتلك الصراع المذكور، الأمر مضطرب بداخل عقلي ،الصورة مشوشة للغاية، كثيراً ما بحثت عن حقيقة الإشتراكية والرأس مالية، وتلك الفترة الدموية لأوروبا وأمريكا اللاتينية، فعندما اقرأ عن روسيا البلاشفة وروسيا القيصرية، أكره الإشتراكية ولا أجدها إلا خراباً وخير دليل على ذلك رواية جنتلمان في موسكو الرائعة – بالطبع انا لا أحصل على معلوماتي من الروايات وحدها -. وبداخل ألأراضي الاتينية إذا بحثت في التاريخ قليلاً ستجد الرؤية الإشتراكية كانت أكثر صدقاً من الفاشية الكاثيولوكية والعسكرية. ودائما ما ينتهي الأمور ببحور من الدم وحرب أهلية غير مبررة ثم إنقلاب عسكري،.
في نهاية هذه الرواية لن تتمكن سوى من وضعها في مكتبك على رف من ذهب، ونقوش من الياقوت، لتضعها في قائمة الكلاسيكيات الأفضل تاريخياً، وبجانب روايات العظماء دوستويفسكي وتولستوي وفيكتور هوجو ويوسا وشيسكبير، وبجانب كل هؤلاء في الركن المضيء، توجد سفينة نيرودا لإيزابيل الليندي

تخيل يا صديقي ماذا لو أن منفاك هو حقاً وطنك وأرضك؟

" الوطن هو المكان الذي يوجد فيه موتانا"
Profile Image for Annette.
742 reviews321 followers
January 17, 2022
A Long Petal of the Sea begins in 1930’s Spain and progresses from turbulent times of social conflicts in Spain to the ones in Chile, where the two main characters, Victor and Roser, after leaving their homeland of Spain try to make Chile their new home. Victor Dalmau’s decision of leaving his work as a doctor in the army hospital isn’t easy. His obligation is torn between his patients and to the responsibility he feels toward Roser. She is a gifted music student taken under the protective wings of Victor’s father, who is a music teacher in Barcelona, and in a way is adapted as a family member.

As Franco’s Nationalist troops advance, there is an exodus of people trekking toward the French border. And when fascists take over the country, Victor feels responsibility toward Roser. Thus, they sail with about two thousand other Spaniards to Chile. A country, none of them knows anything about. And most of them coming from the concentration camps in France, where men and women with children were separated, unexpectedly bringing a lot of reunions, producing dramatic and emotional scenes.

Interestingly developed characters, also involve a prominent Chilean family with the daughter Ofelia, who takes an integral part in this story, and delves into the strict class division. It also brings the historical figure of Pablo Neruda, poet, who defines himself as the voice of long-suffering people, and who charters a ship, the SS Winnipeg, giving some people hope. His influential approach in uniting and uplifting people helps the candidacy of Salvador Allende in presidential campaign, but it also leads to a very turbulent time for Chile.

The story touchingly begins with historical background of the Spanish Civil War. And further explores the conflicts of social ideologies through both upheavals in Spain and Chile. It doesn’t bring descriptive gruesome scenes, and yet, it evokes human emotions and convincingly presents the dramatic time in history. It also brings human exploration, and what a difference we can make. The subject of the refugees continues to be timeless, the resistance toward them, because it invites the unknown. And yet historically, they prove to have a positive influence, like the ones who landed at the shores of Chile. Those who weren’t supposed to be among refugees such as artists, and intellectuals have “enriched the country with a wide range of talent, knowledge, and culture.” They raised “Chilean society from its slumbers.”

Beautifully woven story of timeless social conflicts, with protagonists who are exiled, searching for a place to belong.
Profile Image for Twins.reading.books.
319 reviews1,009 followers
April 27, 2020
Isabel is that kind of person that you'd wish to live forever so she can write books in eternity because every book she puts out it is more and more complexed filled with many details that are compelling and captivated! You could feel the ocean right beneath your feet reading this amazing historic fiction novel based on the true events, the vibrant colours and the fascinating background of the waters were something to enjoy a lot!
This is a Spanish war story which leads to immigration, the connections between history and the political characters are structered in epic admiration! The story is told in the third person and it made this even more understandable, the merged topics like love, hope, desire, bravery are crafted in the most perfect way that Isabel could and brings us this masterpiece that has amazed us with the outstanding interesting story of the young doctor Victor and his wife Roser!
The heartbreaking and shocking moments are in mixed emotions that don't let your brain fly out outside the lines of the book! The book very likely tells you that the Author has done a lot of research to write such a complete book with an amazing historical period! The realistic Spanish Civil war and the political situation in Chile during WWII are incredible detailed merged in the fabulous characters that elaborated a mind-blowing story that has dark and light moments!
Profile Image for Sherif Metwaly.
467 reviews3,339 followers
January 6, 2022

تنهيدة، لحظة صمت، زفير طويل يعقبه شهيق عميق تتغلغل معه ذرات الأكسجين عميقًا داخل روحي، لأتنفس حياةً جديدة عقب عودتي من رحلتي الثامنة مع قلم العزيزة إيزابيل الليندي، شهرزاد الأدب اللاتيني الساحرة ، التي ألجمتني، كالعادة، بجمال خلطتها المعتادة عبر سفينة نيرودا بين أسبانيا وتشيلي وفنزويلا، خلطة الرحلات بين الحب والحرب والفرح والحزن والموت والحياة، الخلطة المكررة؛ ورغم أن التكرار في العادة يعني الملل والرتابة، إلا أن هذا لا يحدث مع إيزابيل، فالدهشة الأولى حاضرة دائمًا وأبدًا، وجعبتها من الشخصيات الفريدة التي لا تنتهي تجعل من كل لقاء وكأنه اللقاء الأول، حيث القدرة الكلية والاستثنئاية على الإبهار من أبسط الطرق، لتصير أسيرًا لسحرها، مثلي، متعلقًا بقلمها تعلقي بطهي أمي الشهي، قليل الأصناف ربما لكنه، مهما تكرر، يظل أشهى ما طهوته يد امرأة في هذه الدنيا على الإطلاق.


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