Saturday, June 5, 2010
Isabel Allende "Eva Luna"
This is a very readable and enjoyable novel. The strength of the story lies in the world Allende creates. She makes ordinary things seem extraordinary and magical. This mirrors Eva's own internal world where she finds strength in the midst of poverty and danger, by summoning up spirits and stories from her past to envelop and protect her.
Several themes are explored in Eva Luna. Perhaps most central is the plight of women in countries where there is political instability. Allende skillfully explores issues of gender, poverty and identity. Despite these serious themes, there is nothing depressing or preachy about Eva Luna. At the heart of the novel is Eva's ability, through story telling, to strengthen her own resolve and enchant those she meets.
I did not feel especially connected to Eva or any of the characters, but what kept me involved with the story were the different worlds that Eva inhabits which in turn inform her internal world and dream scape. These include the hot, noisy and filthy city; the dusty, lonely town and the wet, luscious jungle. There is a joyful earthiness to Allende's writing that is truly captivating. Her style is both mythical and visceral, and totally transports the reader to another world. Surely this is the hallmark of a true story teller. I look forward to diving into Isabel Allende's other novels.