A Long Petal of the Sea

A Long Petal of the Sea

A Novel

Book - 2020
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"In the late 1930s, civil war gripped Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life irreversibly intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. In order to survive, the two must unite in a marriage neither of them wants, and together are sponsored by poet Pablo Neruda to embark on the SS Winnipeg along with 2,200 other refugees in search of a new life. As unlikely partners, they embrace exile and emigrate to Chile as the rest of Europe erupts in World War. Starting over on a new continent, their trials are just beginning. Over the course of their lives, they will face test after test. But they will also find joy as they wait patiently for a day when they are exiles no more, and will find friends in the most unlikely of places. Through it all, it is that hope of being reunited with their home that keeps them going. And in the end, they will find that home might have been closer than they thought all along"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, [2020]
ISBN: 9781984820150
Branch Call Number: F ALL
Characteristics: 318 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Long petal of the sea


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Aug 04, 2020

Learned a lot about the Spanish Civil War and 20th Century Chile.
Think 'Forrest Gump' - a few central characters seem to be everywhere things are happening.
Well written and interesting if you're a fan of historical fiction.

CircMary Jul 04, 2020

The first part of the book was so gripping and detailed. The way she built up the characters had me hanging on every word. The second half didn’t have the same intensity and felt a little rushed. So I just couldn’t quite give it the 5 stars. But still a wonderful book. Reflecting on it a few days later, I was struck by how fascism can so easily raise its ugly head in the world - a chilling reminder for us today.

Mar 19, 2020

The title, A LONG PETAL OF THE SEA, refers to the country of Chile. It’s inspired by the writings of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (see Quotes) who, in addition to other historic figures like former Chilean President Salvador Allende and Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco, take part in the storyline. Spanning the years 1936-1994, this sweeping family drama takes place against periods of political turmoil and struggle in Spain and Chile. I learned a lot about Spanish and Chilean history and culture while reading this. The plot also deals with serious issues, including immigration and income inequality, that our world is still grappling with today. All in all, PETAL is a very commendable work by author Isabel Allende & well worth a read.

Mar 08, 2020

The Spanish Civil War, Franco, and great tie-in to Pablo Neruda provided the backdrop to an otherwise love and/or relationship story. The historic piece was well researched but got too embedded in itself and therefore missed a degree emotional connectedness to the romantic piece. The time and place and events are historically important but somehow was not easy for me to follow. I love what Allende attempted but was less successful than some of her other novels.

Mar 04, 2020

This book is probably going to be the best Historical Fiction title of the year. I for one read it in one sitting. The novel starts during the Spanish Civil war in the Nineteen Thirties and follows the Dalmau family from Spain to Chile. This leads to the history of Chile from the election of Allende to the coup and establishment of Pinochet as the leader of Chile. The book is a love story and shows how love can survive through the worst of times.I would call it a romantic historical novel which transcends genres. A must read regardless of whether you are an Isabel Allende fan or not.

Mar 03, 2020

This book invested my interest initially but about halfway through it was clear the author couldn't develop the characters and only finished with ramblings from one country to another. The people and places left me wanting more...

Feb 23, 2020

A nice story that breaks a cardinal rule of storytelling by telling rather than showing.

Feb 09, 2020

At once a tale if steadfast love and of the cruelty of war and revolution. Victor and Roser have a marriage of convenience in order to escape Francos Spain and the concentration camps of France which did not want the Spanish refugees. They immagrate to Chile with the help of Pablo Neruda. While there, they each have passionate affairs while maintaining their marriage without consummation. Victor is the uncle to Rosers son but this is never revealed to the public.
Allende beautiful writing is haunting and not to be forgotten

Feb 04, 2020

And yet another Isabel Allende novel replete with a litany of Latin American tropes: the sweeping magical realism, the domineering patron, the haciendas, the revolutions and the revolutionaries, the wretched refugees, the damsel in distress, the far fetched love story, the class struggles, the poets, the strong and superstitious arm of the Catholic Church, the right and left wing governments. Get the picture? After awhile her novels all seem like variations of the same story. Roberto Bolaño described her writing as anemic. I can see why. If you’re going to read this novel, be sure to brush up on the Spanish Civil War and Chilean history from the late 1930’s to the Pinochet dictatorship. Pour yourself a healthy glass of Don Melchor while you’re at it. It’ll help set the mood. 🍇🍷🍇

Jan 28, 2020

"Historical fiction"? Like souffle is just an omelet. Really this is a great love story with loads of history seamlessly woven in. Beautifully crafted with a classic ending. Don't wait on line get it at Peak's Picks pronto.

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Mar 19, 2020

“Pain is unavoidable, but suffering is optional.” - p. 254

Mar 19, 2020

“He told them that in Chile the social classes were like a mille-feuille cake, easy to reach the bottom but almost impossible to reach the top of, because money could not buy pedigree.” - p. 136

Mar 19, 2020

“None of them knew anything about Chile. Years later, Neruda was to define it as a long petal of sea and wine and snow… with a belt of black and white foam… but that would not have left the migrants any the wiser. On the map, it looked slender and remote.” - p. 113


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