Readers have flocked to both Allende's fiction and nonfiction, making her one of the best-selling women novelists in the world today. This volume brings together a variety of essays on the phases of her career, her growth as a writer, Allende's relation to magical realism, along with a comprehensive biography.
The border between fact and fiction has always been a porous one for Isabel Allende. Her acclaimed first novel, The House of the Spirits, began as a letter to her dying grandfather yet is filled with ghosts and green-haired and clairvoyant women; her memoir Paula, though ostensibly nonfiction, is a moving and highly imaginative account of her family history and the illness and death of her daughter, Paula. Even in the many interviews she has given, Allende has embellished the details of her life to captivate and charm her readers. She has more than succeeded.
This title is divided into four sections:
1. Career, Life, and Influence
Edited and with an introduction by John Rodden, a celebrated Allende scholar, this volume in the Critical Insights series brings together a variety of essays on this Chilean Scheherazade. Rodden's introduction assesses the phases of Allende's career and her growth as a writer.
2. Critical Contexts
For students encountering Allende for the first time, four introductory essays provide a valuable framework for studying her in greater depth.
3. Critical Readings
This main section of the book provides ten in-depth essays that offer an examination of all aspects of the author. Each essay is 2,500-5,000 words in length, and all essays conclude with a list of "works Cited" along with endnotes. Four of these essays examine Allende's lesser known works such as "Two Words"; a short story.
The volume's appendices offer a section of useful reference resources:
- A chronology of the author's life
- A complete list of the author's works and their original dates of publication
- A general bibliography
- A detailed paragraph on the volume's editor
- Notes on the individual chapter authors
- A subject index