Books: Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
I first read a small review for Isabel Allende's Eva Luna on an Instagram post. It went like this:
"I read...a lot. Everything I read takes me to a different place and time; leaving me baffled, enchanted, nostalgic or confused. But every now and then, I read something that is...beyond.
It leaves me breathless, and it's story makes me proud to be the slightly chaotic person I am, and makes me feel okay that I'm continually searching and loving and learning with all the effort I can muster. 'Eva Luna' by Isabel Allende was a story like this. I'd (shamefully) never heard of the author even though the book has been published multiple times and republished as a penguin classic.
Oh Eva Luna, you enveloped me into another world of story telling and left me romanced with images and feelings that will remain forever secrets in my own mind. #creditwhereitsdue "
The draw for me was in the description, in the idea of a storyteller within a story, of the vivid and vibrant landscapes that the book promised to contain. It was further recommended by the fact that it is a Penguin Classic, a series that so far I have trusted in its recommendations, and yet I'd never heard of it. The confession that "I'd (shamefully) never heard of the author..." made me feel I was in the same boat, that I should know this author. The idea of "another world," the imagery, the "enchanted," all drew me in before I'd even got my hands on the book. As an avid reader of female memoir, but interested in getting a little more fiction into my reading, it sounded like a great addition to my list.
Having now read the text myself, I can understand the place the review, which drew me in so thoroughly, stemmed from. It is indeed a world you become immersed in, its imagery is wonderfully exotic, filled with vibrancy, descriptions which affect the senses, and colourful sights. It is this vibrancy which is so juxtaposed with war, heartbreak, sickness, and death. The struggle that is Eva Luna's life is, in many ways, a beautiful struggle. Her anecdotes, the characters she meets, the way in which she deals with the situations, all bring lightness to her hardship, and at times even humour. You root for her, and her comrades, you discover how two very different strands of this world can at last come together as one. A book which takes you through bits of history, into parts of both Europe and South America. It portrays the lunacy of human survival, and the terrors of dictatorship. Isabel Allende is a Chilean-American writer known for often implicating the "magic realism" tradition into her novels. She manages to meld a world which is historical and educational, but also alight with seemingly magical places. This is such a well-written story, unique to many I have read before it. I suggest you pick up a copy and get lost in its pages.