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. 🍇🍷🍇

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