A capsule of the writings of Isabel Allende:
"The House of the Spirits" is one of the first magic realism books from South America to express women's spirits and lives. "This was the first big woman's book," translator Margaret Sayers Peden notes. "Isabel suffered having to take the criticism that she was a female Garcia Marquez. The first thing I could think of was, well, pat me on the back." The book later was made into a movie (now out in video) starring Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Winona Ryder and Antonio Banderas.
"Of Love and Shadows" is an account of bravery and love amid terrifying living conditions in Chile during the 1970s. Following Salvadore Allende's election as the first Marxist president, ultra-conservatives propagated ac ts of murder, sabotage and terrorism. Peasants who disappear are later found in a mass grave. Peden translated this and Allende's next four books. "Eva Luna" is a great book about being a woman. "Most women (in Latin American literature) are objects to conquer or destroy," Peden observes. …