From the New York Times bestselling author of The House of the Spirits, this epic novel spanning decades and crossing continents follows two young people as they flee the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War in search of a place to call home.
In the late 1930s, civil war grips Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. In order to survive, the two must unite in a marriage neither of them desires.
Together with two thousand other refugees, they embark on the SS Winnipeg, a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda, to Chile: “the long petal of sea and wine and snow.” As unlikely partners, they embrace exile as the rest of Europe erupts in world war. Starting over on a new continent, their trials are just beginning, and over the course of their lives, they will face trial after trial. But they will also find joy as they patiently await the day when they will be exiles no more. Through it all, their hope of returning to Spain keeps them going. Destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world, Roser and Victor will find that home might have been closer than they thought all along.
A masterful work of historical fiction about hope, exile, and belonging, A Long Petal of the Sea shows Isabel Allende at the height of her powers.
Advance praise for A Long Petal of the Sea
“Both an intimate look at the relationship between one man and one woman and an epic story of love, war, family, and the search for home, this gorgeous novel, like all the best novels, transports the reader to another time and place, and also sheds light on the way we live now. Isabel Allende is a legend and this might be her finest book yet.”—J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Saints for All Occasions
“This is a novel not just for those of us who have been Allende fans for decades, but also for those who are brand-new to her work: What a joy it must be to come upon Allende for the first time. She knows that all stories are love stories, and the greatest love stories are told by time.”—Colum McCann, National Book Award–winning author of Let the Great World Spin
It is a good person who is a world renowned author, but says her best achievement is not her books, but the love she shares with a few people, especially her family, and having always tried to help people. Such are the thoughts of Isabel Allende, a Chilean author who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Hussein Obama. She has written: The House of the Spirits, and City of the Beasts. Her novels are considered to be the genre of magical realism. They are usually based on her own experiences, historical events, and pay homage to the lives of women. She also uses elements of myth and realism.
Allende was born in Lima, Peru. Her father was a cousin to Salvador Allende, the President of Chile from 1970 to 1973. Her father left her mother, so Isabel ended up moving to many places when her mother married a diplomat. In 1962 Isabel married an engineering student, when she moved back to Chile to complete her secondary education. She then led a dual life as obedient wife and mother, but in public was Barbara Cartland, well-known tv personality, a dramatist, and journalist with a feminine magazine.
Allende had jobs with the United Nations in Santiago, then Brussels and elsewhere. In Chile she translated books from English to Spanish, but was fired because she made some changes on her own (which were not appreciated) and was altering some endings from "happily ever after", to allow the heroine some independence to do good in the world.
She now runs the Isabel Allende Foundation, founded in 1996 to honor the author's daughter Paula Frias, who passed away at age 29. They award life-changing grants to women to improve their care.