This was A’s Book Club January pick, and I was delighted. I had read two other Isabel Allende novels before this (The House of the Spirits, which I will defend to this day over One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Zorro), and I have been hoping to work my way through her canon. And this is an excellent choice. I’ve made it a goal to read through more of Allende’s canon this year, and Eva Luna reminded me why.
Eva Luna is a storyteller, though she won’t realize this for many years. Her mother’s origins are murky, and her own are seemingly impossible. But Eva uses her years of servitude as fodder for her fantasies and tales. And amidst civil unrest, she searches for love, only to find it in a remarkable man whose abilities mirror her own. I realize that this is a bare-bones summary, but to be truthful, this is a novel that you really should experience on your own. It unfolds slowly and then, all at once (to paraphrase from John Green, if I may), and the experience is in the journey with which you follow Eva and her life.
This novel is peopled by extraordinary characters. And there is a trans woman’s storyline which is deftly handled, showing how ahead of the times Allende was when she wrote this in the 1980s. If you are an Allende fan, read this lovely book. And if you have never read her, this is a great place to start. I definitely look forward to reading Allende’s work as this year progresses.
Cross-posted to my blog.