Time for Fiction

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mostly a fascinating novel; occasionally the history takes over, moreso toward the end. In the begnning the history is more closely integrated with the characters and plot.

The plot moves well much of the time. About a third of the way in there is an abrupt shift from Spain to Chile, but the two plots become interconnected soon. Time is more condensed in the early part; later it becomes telescoped. Mostly the telescoped part avoids banal “how the people ended up,” though there are moments when that takes over. There are also moments of engaging plot. Sometimes it seems like too many successful opportunities occur to the same people, though all have difficulties as well.

The characters are mostly well rounded and believable–occasionally Roser seems too understanding and accepting. I did like Roser’s independence to develop her music while Victor developed himself as a medical doctor. Also admirable is the shared parenting of Marcel.

In some ways it is relevant to today. Set in the time of the Spanish Civil War, it provides interesting history, and it makes one think of the Ukraine war–and hope for better contemporary results. The section set in Chile gives some time to reflect on current refugee situations around the world and especially the US southern border.

A novel well worth reading.

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3 responses to “Time for Fiction

  1. Susan Nixon

    That sounds intriguing. The only novel of that era I’ve read is For Whom the Bell Tolls, and Hemingway is not light-hearted at all. =)

  2. Karen Griggs

    Celeste Ng wrote Little Fires Everywhere. This book has many lessons in class, race, and gender.
    Frankly, I could not put it down.

  3. Ah – I have a couple of her books sitting on my bookshelf I haven’t read yet (Daughters of Fortune and A Long Petal of the Sea), I’lll have to read Daughters of Fortune first.

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