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Interview: Isabel Allende's Ever-Present Question: 'What's the Most Generous Thing to Do?'

'I am addicted to stories. I love hearing about other people's lives.'
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  • Violeta
  • 'I am addicted to stories. I love hearing about other people's lives.'

Publisher's Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • This sweeping novel from the author of A Long Petal of the Sea tells the epic story of Violeta Del Valle, a woman whose life spans one hundred years and bears witness to the greatest upheavals of the twentieth century.

“An immersive saga about a passion-filled life.”—People

Violeta comes into the world on a stormy day in 1920, the first girl in a family with five boisterous sons. From the start, her life is marked by extraordinary events, for the ripples of the Great War are still being felt, even as the Spanish flu arrives on the shores of her South American homeland almost at the moment of her birth.

Through her father’s prescience, the family will come through that crisis unscathed, only to face a new one as the Great Depression transforms the genteel city life she has known. Her family loses everything and is forced to retreat to a wild and beautiful but remote part of the country. There, she will come of age, and her first suitor will come calling.

She tells her story in the form of a letter to someone she loves above all others, recounting times of devastating heartbreak and passionate affairs, poverty and wealth, terrible loss and immense joy. Her life is shaped by some of the most important events of history: the fight for women’s rights, the rise and fall of tyrants, and ultimately not one, but two pandemics.

Through the eyes of a woman whose unforgettable passion, determination, and sense of humor carry her through a lifetime of upheaval, Isabel Allende once more brings us an epic that is both fiercely inspiring and deeply emotional.

©2022 Isabel Allende (P)2022 Random House Audio

What listeners say about Violeta

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Not my favorite....


Apart from the idea that an old woman would be writing about her sex life to her grandson, I found this story increasingly unbelievable.as she faced issue after issue throughout her life.
While I can truly appreciate the strength women have, I couldn’t help but find this tale of a woman able to continue both her romantic life and her very physically adventurous activities well beyond her 80’s to be yet another example of the “perfection” held up to our gender as “ the way aging is”. Let’s face it, most of us can’t manage half the challenges this woman was supposedly able to rise to.

I found the narrator to be mechanical and a voice apart from the main character.

Not my favorite Allende book

7 people found this helpful

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Violeta

Do you know how awful it feels to finish a book you thoroughly enjoyed? Then next book will pale in comparison through no fault of the next writer’s, but few compare to this master storyteller. Few.
If you enjoy fiction featuring families and want an escape from the wretched world we live in, this is probably perfect for you.
Enjoy.

5 people found this helpful

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Engrossing. Could not put it down.

Such a moving story with a memorable and large cast of characters. Could not hold back the tears.

4 people found this helpful

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Returning this to Audible

Maybe I’m just not in the mood. However, I can’t get into this story at all. Maybe it’s the translation! But it seems to me as if this book is written in bullet points. Very little description thus far. It is just not maintaining my interest.

2 people found this helpful

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100 years of beautiful

another beautiful book by Isabel Allende. pulls me in with her words it makes me fall in love.

our lives are all so different and unique I am grateful to have known for violeta's

2 people found this helpful

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I love Isabel Allende but

this book lacks the fire and the magic that other books have. it didn't transport me either. That's my opinion...

1 person found this helpful

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Second try - still dissapointed

There are readers and there are story tellers. Unfortunately the narrator of this book is the former. The first time I tried to listen, I gave up. Given my love for the author, I tried again. I was able to get over my distaste for the narrator, thinking her weird inflection might be because English is her second language (just a guess) but it was still annoying. And to be fair, Allende didn't give her much to work with. The book is a meandering recollection and somewhat recycled from her previous works. This book felt like the author needed the requisite pandemic publication and threw this together. No real story line. Forgettable. 😒

1 person found this helpful

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A wonderful deep nostalgic experience!

I love all of Isabell Allende’s books. This one I thoroughly loved. As a 58-year-old woman I totally understood the chapters and seasons of her life as she recalls them to her grandson. For the majority of the book we do not know who Camilo is but we find out later on. The reflections of our protagonist ring true to me personally and should also to all people as we age ! this is not to say young people will not enjoy this book, but it shows how your life goes through amazing changes , and you can never anticipate where your life will go and what you will see and who you will meet and what you discover. If you are always curious you will never be bored!

Pardon my typing errors I am dictating this message!

1 person found this helpful

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Violeta

I am trying to catch my breath the way I always find my self at the of an Isabel Allende novel. Perhaps I should have waited some time before reviewing this novel. It was an experience that Carries the reader through South American history, politics and culture
The work, suffering,and life of Violeta. She is a unique powerful woman but somehow we all can find part of our own lives and feelings in her powerful story. Don’t miss the experience.

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highly recommend!

listened to it any free second I had throughout the day. great book. normally only listen to book while working out :)