My Invented Country by Isabel Allende
A Nostalgic Journey Through Chile

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Isabel Allende's first memory of Chile is of a house she never knew. The "large old house" on the Calle Cueto, where her mother was born and which her grandfather evoked so frequently that Isabel felt as if she had lived there, became the protagonist of her first novel, The House of the Spirits. It appears again at the beginning of Allende's playful, seductively compelling memoir My Invented Country, and leads us into this gifted writer's world.

Here are the almost mythic figures of a Chilean family -- grandparents and great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends -- with whom readers of Allende's fiction will feel immediately at home. And here, too, is an unforgettable portrait of a charming, idiosyncratic Chilean people with a violent history and an indomitable spirit. Although she claims to have been an outsider in her native land -- "I never fit in anywhere, not into my family, my social class, or the religion fate bestowed on me" -- Isabel Allende carries with her even today the mark of the politics, myth, and magic of her homeland. In My Invented County, she explores the role of memory and nostalgia in shaping her life, her books, and that most intimate connection to her place of origin.

Two life-altering events inflect the peripatetic narration of this book: The military coup and violent death of her uncle, Salvador Allende Gossens, on September 11, 1973, sent her into exile and transformed her into a writer. The terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, on her newly adopted homeland, the United States, brought forth from Allende an overdue acknowledgment that she had indeed left home. My Invented Country, whose structure mimics the workings of memory itself, ranges back and forth across that distance accrued between the author's past and present lives. It speaks compellingly to immigrants, and to all of us, who try to retain a coherent inner life in a world full of contradictions.


About Isabel Allende

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Isabel Allende is the bestselling author of eleven works of fiction, four memoirs, and three young- adult novels, which have been translated into more than twenty-seven languages with over 57 million copies sold. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She received the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award in 2012. Born in Peru and raised in Chile, she lives in California.Nacida en Perú y criada en Chile, Isabel Allende es la autora de nueve novelas incluyendo más recientemente Zorro, Retrato en Sepia, Hija de la Fortuna e Inés del Alma Mía. También ha escrito cuentos cortos, tres libros autobiográficos incluyendo Mi País Inventado y Paula, y una trilogía de libros para jóvenes. Sus libros han sido traducidos a más de 27 idiomas y son bestsellers a través del mundo entero. En 2004, fue nombrada a la Academia de Artes y Letras de los Estados Unidos. Vive en California. Margaret Sayers Peden is an American translator and Professor, she is a Missouri native who was born in 1920. One of the leading translators of her time, Peden has translated more than 40 books and has won numerous prizes and grants. In 2007, she collected a variety of Mexican literature to combine and edit the book Mexican Writers on Writing.
Published January 1, 2003 by Harpercollins. 224 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for My Invented Country

Kirkus Reviews

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"I can't be objective where Chile is concerned," writes novelist Allende (City of the Beasts, 2002, etc.) in this evocative and, yes, highly personal, social geography cum memoir.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of My Invented Country: A Nostal...

Publishers Weekly

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Allende's novels—The House of the Spirits; Eva Luna; Daughter of Fortune; etc.

Apr 28 2003 | Read Full Review of My Invented Country: A Nostal...

The Guardian

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My Invented Country: A Memoir by Isabel Allende, trans Margaret Sayers Peden 199pp, Flamingo, £18.99 Isabel Allende has already published two memoirs, or three if you count the novel that traced her family history, The House of the Spirits (1982).

Nov 01 2003 | Read Full Review of My Invented Country: A Nostal...

Publishers Weekly

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(June)Forecast:Despite a six-city author tour and advertising in the Miami Herald, New York Times Book Review and San Francisco Chronicle, this book probably won't attract as much attention as Allende's fiction does.

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Star Tribune

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Isabel Allende was not blessed with a happy childhood, but she maintains that an interesting childhood like hers is highly preferable.

Jun 28 2003 | Read Full Review of My Invented Country: A Nostal...

Entertainment Weekly

Instead, it's a stunningly intimate memoir of a woman, exiled from her cherished native land, who says, ''I write as a constant exercise in longing.'' Originally posted May 30, 2003 Published in issue #712 May 30, 2003 Order article reprints

May 30 2003 | Read Full Review of My Invented Country: A Nostal...

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