If you have never read an Isabel Allende book, don’t make Paula your introduction to this internationally known writer. Many years ago Isabel Allende’s, House of Spirits came highly recommended to me by a friend. In my thrift book rummaging I came across both House of Spirits and Paula and after many years of my personal library shelf, Paula jumped out at me last year. Yes, normally a three hundred page book would take me about a month of leisure reading time, but the dramatic pauses that I had to take to get through this book took months. It was a very slow read for me because of the limited subject content. As a mother I truly felt what Isabel Allende went through, however the repetition of the waiting for the miracle left the book on my nightstand for many nights.
I made it through the book riding on the beautifully first hand historical accounts of Chilean history and the admirable descriptions of the country she loved that I have never visited before. As a history buff I thrive on the unknowns of history that can only be told by native sons and daughters of times and places far away from my quaint little dwelling here in Texas. Isabel Allende brought those still faces of time like Pablo Neruda, Victor Jara, Salvador Allende and Augusto Pinochet into the lime light of my heart and etched them into my memory as forces of nature that once created, inspired, changed, destroyed and took you to that moment in time where you question the sanity of humanity based on the actions of man.
She also drops pearl of wisdom to those who have hope for the world: “Silence before being born, silence after death; life is nothing but noise between two unfathomable silences.” She also hints little tid bits of love to her fellow writers as an act of sharing her gifts unconditionally: “They say a book is never finished; instead, the author just gives up.”
Although reading Paula was bitter sweet, I’m not giving up. I still have House of Spirits on my library shelf, and I pass it every day so I am sure it will jump out at me too. On to the next Isabel Allende!
July 30, 2015