Monday books – Eva Luna by Isabel Allende

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Eva Luna was the first book of Isabel Allende’s that I ever read, but not the first one I bought. That honour went to Portrait in Sepia which I found on the $10 shelf at Paperchain Bookshop in Manuka. Before I even had a chance to add Portrait in Sepia to my reading pile I lent it to my mother who took it home and devoured it (I inherited my love of reading from her, by the way). In the meantime, I came across Eva Luna in another bookshop (yes, I haunt bookshops!) in its orange and white Penguin Books cover. This time it went straight to the top of my reading pile and before long I was totally in love with little Eva.

Born in a poor household, Eva discovered a gift for telling stories at a very young age. Her mother died when she was young and she was raised amongst the servants in the wealthy household where her mother worked. Eva eventually runs away, is caught and brought back, runs away again and manages to make her way through life by telling stories. Along the way we share Eva’s fears, anger, love, tribulations and the spirits of life and the moon for which she was named.

Like most of Isabel Allende’s novels, this sprawling tale manages to weave itself together beautifully until we realise there is a point to where the story is leading. It is a story of life, built around the lives of several characters in Chile – I’m guessing here because the novel never says where it is set  – against the backdrop of social change and revolution in that country.

I feel that Isabel breaks so many of the creative writing rules that we are fed and I am ever thankful for that because her novels are just so beautiful. Chile runs deep through her novels and she speaks to me of the beauty and the harshness of the narrow country on the western side of South America.As always with Isabel Allende’s novels, Eva Luna leaves you with a longing to walk for a moment amongt these wonderful characters.

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