Isabel Allende, 1942–, Chilean novelist. Since the 1973 coup that deposed her cousin, President Salvador Allende Gossens, Isabel Allende, who is among the most notable contemporary Chilean writers, has lived abroad, for many years in California. Her fiction is distinguished by its fusion of traditional realism with both the fantastic and with political (including feminist) concerns. Her first and best-known novel, The House of Spirits (1982, tr. 1985), which reflects the influence of Gabriel García Márquez and the technique of magic realism (her work has been called
by some critics), tells the story of a Chilean family over three generations. Allende's fiction also includes Of Love and Shadows (1984, tr. 1987); Eva Luna (1987, tr. 1988); The Infinite Plan (1991, tr. 1993), her first work set in the United States; Daughter of Fortune (1998, tr. 1999); Portrait in Sepia (2001); Inés of My Soul (2006), the fictionalized life of a 16th-century conquistadora; and Island beneath the Sea (2010), a tale of the 18th-century Haitian slave revolution.
See her memoirs, Paula (1994, tr. 1995), Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses (1997, tr. 1998), and My Invented Country (2003); J. Rodden, ed., Conversations with Isabel Allende (1999, repr. 2004); studies by W. Zinsser (1989), P. Hart (1989), S. R. Rojas and E. Aguirre, ed. (1991), R. G. Feal and Y. E. Miller, ed. (2002), L. G. Levine (2002), H. Bloom, ed. (2003), and K. C. Cox (2003).