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Isabel Allende evokes the magnificent landscapes of her country; a charming idiosyncratic Chilean people with a violent history and an indomitable spirit; and the politics religion myth and magic of her homeland that she carries with her even todayThe book circles around two life changing moments The assassination of her uncle Salvador Allende Gossens on September 11 1973 sent her into exile and transformed her into a literary writer And the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001 on her adopted homeland the United States brought forth an overdue acknowledgment that Allende had indeed left home My Invented Country mimicking the workings of memory itself ranges back and forth across that distance between past and present lives It speaks compellingly to immigrants and to all of us who try to retain a coherent inner life in a world full of contradictions

10 thoughts on “Mi país inventado

  1. says:

    For those who have read my reviews then they know that I have mentioned that Isabel Allende is my favorite writer Her most recent book In the Midst of Winter left a bad taste in my mouth because it was largely devoid of her magical realism that I love Craving a book with magical realism but not knowing which author to turn to I decided upon her only memoir which I had not yet read My Invented Country A journey that takes readers from Chile to California and back Allende paints a picture of a proud country that revels in traditions one that she is honored to be a part of Having previously read Allende's other memoirs Paula and A Sum of Our Days I was familiar with many of the stories of her youth From her life as a diplomat's daughter living overseas to relishing the moments spent at her grandfather's side in the large house on the corner in Santiago Allende's childhood was a chock full of stories not without its share of controversy In telling the story of her life there is going to be overlap Whereas in Paula as Allende tells a detailed story of family history to her daughter lying in a coma My Invented Country briefly touches on the family while embellishing the country of Chile for all that it is famous for We are regaled in the nation's history from its civil war with Peru and Bolivia in the 1880s up until the Pinochet years In between Allende calls Santiago the London of South America all the while giving instances of the idiosyncrasies that Chileans are famous for The history and Chilean culture make appearances in her novels so these were not new to me; however it was interesting to find out about the background research that goes into every novel that Allende writes This makes me appreciate her all the as an author As I read through Allende's memoirs I find out and about her personal life Readers discover that her first job was as a columnist in a new woman's magazine and as a television report on a comedy news show This was in the 1970s and Allende was the token woman; her experiences lead her to the feminist leanings that she has had for her entire life Once her family fled Chile for Venezuela during the 1973 coup d'etat which overthrew her uncle's presidency she started to write novels The basis for The House of the Spirits was a year long letter that Allende wrote to her grandfather back in Santiago as he lay dying One year and over four hundred pages later she completed the novel It was in Venezuela that she got ideas and penned Eva Luna Of Love and Shadows and The Stories of Eva Luna Each novel got ideas from her life and family history and written from the heart At age forty five Allende immigrated to California having married an American and receiving residency papers For the last thirty years she has called both San Francisco and Chile home traveling the world to promote and find ideas for her books As an immigrant Allende was almost immediately captivated by the early history of California planting the seeds for her novels Daughter of Fortune and Portrait in Sepia which make up a trilogy that ends with House of the Spirits Allende sees many similarities between the terrain of San Francisco and Chile making it easy for her to adapt to life in the United States making her immigration almost seamless She points out that had she met her husband in Indonesia that she would have moved there believing in divine providence and that everything takes place at its proper appointed time Yet he is a proud Californian just as she is a proud Chilean and she joined the millions of twentieth century immigrants who now call the United States home While I did not learn much new information by reading My Invented Country I did glean how Allende is constantly finding new material for her novels Writing with a nostalgia for the country of her youth while still being able to move between two countries Allende has adapted to life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries This memoir did not completely alleviate the sour taste I got in my mouth from reading her last novel; however it did allow me to be privy to her soothing words that make me feel that she is an old friend or older family member I am still craving a novel full of magical realism but for now My Invented Country than suffices 4 stars

  2. says:

    I never noticed how much I love memoirs until my daughter pointed it out to me We joke about that endlessly since I’m often uite unaware of the genre of a book when I choose it and start reading it Well a memoir and never mind one written by Allende I simply knew that it had to be good This book is full of nostalgia and memories of her life in Chile She writes beautifully and from the heart For me reading Isabel Allende books are a pleasure This one was a re read and I loved it yet again

  3. says:

    Only you can help me in my hard times Only you Isabel

  4. says:

    This is Isabel Allende's funny and sorrowful tribute to her native country She starts off with amusing stories a cat killing refrigerator; her grandfather's insistence that he saw the devil on a bus; her father who disguised himself as a Peruvian Indian woman with bright petticoats and a wig with long braids Later in the book she moves on to the horror and repression suffered by the Chilean people following the CIA assisted military coup in 1973 The book is not so much a memoir as it is an exploration of the nostalgia that has informed Allende's life and writing She left Chile in 1975 to escape Pinochet's dictatorship Her longing for that country of her memory and invention is palpable on every page I've read several of her novels and always imagined her as a serious person Here in her non fiction writing I was surprised and delighted by her sense of humor It's very wry and sometimes has barbs but I found myself laughing out loud many times She shares bizarre stories about her loony family members and explains the origins of the Chilean national character traits The book is loosely organized but Allende has the charms to make it work There's a little history a little geography some politics a lot of Chilean culture and a whole lot of heartIf you've read her novels this book will give you some insight into how she comes by some of her wild creations Her first book The House of the Spirits began as a letter to her beloved grandfather who was dying She describes the resulting novel as an attempt to recapture my lost country to reunite my scattered family to revive the dead and preserve their memories which were beginning to be blown away in the whirlwind of exile

  5. says:

    I am a big fan of Isabel Allende's novels but this book did not capture me I finished three 500 hundred page dense non fiction books while trudging through this less the 200 paged auto biographical tome i know that she recounted joys and pleasures of her country as well of the history of its dark history but I grew weary of the traditional intransigence of the culture HEr novels are gleanings from this same culture and I am intrigued and entranced by them It is puzzling but I would mch rather savor her next novel then try to figure out the reasons why

  6. says:

    It has taken me a while to digest what I want to say about Allende's My Invented CountryIt starts off rather awkwardly with a catalogue of facts about Chile its geography and history Once she gets to the history we begin to hear a characteristic voice at turns wry funny horrified and horrifying as she sums up invasion settlementappropriation of land interactions between the colonists and the native peoples and the s of the Chile her grandparents and parents lived in and in which she grew up part of the time She mentions in this book that she dreams and writes in Spanish and for me this was an illumination that explains much about her style Thinking and writing in Spanish gives her access to memories and images that would be constructed differently in English I wonder who translates her work into English?Her strong opinions have driven her from her teens throughout her adult life especially the rights of women and 'ordinary people' mostly the poor and dispossessed They drove her as a refugee from Chile after the coup first to Venezuela and then to the US Her outrage at the events of the coup and the repression and brutality that followed leap off the pageShe has a knack of writing about incidents in and periods of her personal life that are often imbued with emotion but never cloying or embarrassing to read unlike some other memoirs I have read recently And of course much of her early family history and eccentric family life has found its way into her novels It's not a great prose work but a book I enjoyed and will remember reading for a long time

  7. says:

    Isabel Allende's writing flows like a story that your grandmother would tell you about a time long before you were born but that still has an intricate connection to your world and flickers into existence only to be half seen or intuitively perceived as a lingering presence These are the stories about a past that does not belong to you but that seems so familiar because of the wonderful voice of the author who inadvertently perhaps but nevertheless compellingly makes you a part of her history through the act of telling This is the nostalgic recollection of Chile Allende's country of origin The writing lets itself go lingering on some aspects of day to day life only to drift away toward memories of eccentric uncles and mysterious distant relatives It is a powerful tale of nostalgia that dilutes and distorts but paradoxically perhaps is the main mechanism that makes remembrance possibleA world traveler to say the least daughter of diplomats and exiled after the military coup in 1973 Allende talks about her mother land with a mixture of sadness ironic criticism and heartfelt longing She tells all admitting that many of her novels much like this work have displeased her all too bashful relatives but accepts that what she depicts is to some degree an invention Personal memories become intertwined with what others have told her a keen journalistic eye that notices even the slightest details is thwarted by a subjectivity that is openly acknowledged What makes this book special a mixture between a travel log a novel and an autobiography is the voice that tells the story Allende has humour and a talent for narration that has attracted a wide audience and that has made each of her books wonderfully immersive readsIt is stated somewhere in the first chapters that in order to understand Chile and Chilean life as a whole one must read Pablo Neruda’s poems It got me thinking about countries and their writers be they poets novelists or otherwise Perhaps countries need their writers just as much as writers need their countries – be it a matter of outright rejection or patriotic devotion each author is defined by the space in which he has lived Through his work he or she implicitly tells its story This may be a plain and generally obvious point to make but I believe it is something that comes through Allende’s pages She tells the story of her country and thus also describes herself in a manner that is authentic and believable She acts as a guide or as an inviting host and I was definitely driven to cross her threshold

  8. says:

    Don't believe everything that I say I tend to exaggerate and as I warned in the beginning I can't be objective where Chile is concernedFrom MY INVENTED COUNTRY A Nostalgic Journey Through Chile by Isabel Allende translated from the Spanish by Margaret Sayers Peden 2003My first Allende Not sure if this was a good place to start Definitely gives some context for her novelsImagine a dinner with an older and very opinionated relative you haven't seen for a long time You listen to them talk a lot about everything under the sun Some things sad others funny eccentric family members who left their spouse who had a child out of wedlock Some of it you've heard before some of it new and juicy gossip Some truth bombs some call outs Some mildly racist andor un PC comments shhh Please don't say that Tía Isabel 😖 Entertaining in spots? Yes Cringe worthy in spots? Also yes We Chileans enjoy funerals because the dead person is no longer a rival and now he can't backstab usSeveral times while reading this memoir I pictured her as a somewhat liberatedupdated version of Dowager Countess Violet Crawley Maggie Smith's character from Downton Abbey She speaks her mind and doesn't make apologies for it Privileged bourgeois silver spoon Other than the opening uote where she simply states that she's prone to exaggerationThe first two thirds talk about her history and family her childhood years away from Chile and her youth with her grandfather inspiring her first novel The House of Spirits In the last third likely the best part of the book she discusses the US backed coup d'etat and overthrow of her cousin the democratically elected president Salvador Allende by the military junta of Augusto Pinochet in 1973She readily admits that the Chile that she so loves may have never actually existed hence the invented in the title and waxes on nostalgia and memory It's all over the place thematically but gave me some first hand narrative context on modern Chile its landscape culture and politics

  9. says:

    Isabel Allende looks back with nostalgia at her beloved Chile She tells amusing family stories and the tragic outcome of the military coup of 1973 Allende admits she embellishes her tales about the Chilean people but her love for the country is evident

  10. says:

    I've never been tempted by Allende's fiction and I can't say I am now but this is one well written engaging memoir To break things down I'd say it's about 65% memoir20% history15% travel narrative Other reviewers have said the book is meandering which is true but she tells the story in a way that makes sense to her; autobiographies need not be strictly chronological narratives If you're wondering why no fifth star well she does dwell on the negative at times both in Chile and the USA unfortunately for her she makes an offhand comment that that America won't elect a non white president a few years before just that happens I'm left wondering also whether she's an accurate source for explain the current Chilean mindset when she hadn't lived in the country just visited for the 30 years prior to writing this story? Audio narration by Christine McMurdo Wallis was spot on five stars thereDefinitely recommended