Monday, August 30, 2010

Island Beneath the Sea | Isabel Allende

This is such a treat. Allende's novels is such a treat. She veers from her usual landscapes and characters to the Caribbean and the island of Haiti. The story involves whites, Negro slaves, mulattoes, quadroons and every shade in between. I learned a lot about of Saint-Domingue the original name of this island. It was a French colony, populated by rich white French, some Spanish and the imported slaves which worked in the sugar cane industry. It appears to have been one of the worst colonies for a slave to live in with the cruelty towards them incredible to read about. The novel follows the Valmorain family and their slaves and the children the master has with his wife and with his slave woman Tete. The chapters go between the voices of the narrator telling us the general story and Tete's chapters in which she  tells us her perspective.

Eventually there is an uprising and the family flees to New Orleans where they have to adapt to new ways of dealing with slavery and then to the news that Napoleon has sold Louisiana to the Americans.

It's a great story well told, and the characters are memorable as in most of Allende's novels and well worth reading.
Other books by Allende are "Eva Luna", "Stories of Eva Luna", "Paula", "Daughter of Fortune", "Portrait in Sepia", "Zorro", "Ines of my Soul", "The Sum of our Days".
The Island Beneath the Sea
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