An early, but not first novel by Isabel Allende. This novel takes place smack in the middle of the Pinochet regime, and I had to look up some info (I am fairly well familiar with the regime and it’s basic history, but the dates of the novel were curious to me). Because she’s related to the deposed and murdered president Salvador Allende, you can imagine, especially if you read this novel, that there’d be no way she wouldn’t have been targeted and killed by Pinochet. Writing from Venezuela (it seems, though she might have been otherwise because of some confusing dates), this novel is about a love affair between a photographer, though former psychiatrist, and the former fiance of a military officer. As their affair develops, they begin looking for a missing girl from their town, and end up discovering a mass grave. This leads to their own imminent peril as you can imagine.
Without a doubt, and I mean this sincerely, this is a very good novel. But the influence of and adherence to and respect for Gabriel Garcia Marquez haunts this novel. Perhaps it does her other early novels as well, but she goes as far as quoting the title of a Garcia Marquez novella in this novel in such a kind of nodding way. Normally this kind of thing annoys me because almost never is the author of the current book nearly up to the task, and maybe Allende is or isn’t in this novel, but this novel is quite good, so it’s hard to fault her. The danger in this novel is downright scary and I am glad, especially given Pinochet’s reach at his height that she was able to survive any forms of reprisal.