A Long Petal of the Sea

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Mar 2020

Member Reviews

Interesting tale, well researched and written.  Allende knows how to capture us from the beginning.  Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher.
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Isabel Allende's personal history and extensive research  tells the story of a couple that escapes Spain's Civil War for Chile only to be caught up over the years in the trials and civil disruptions there as well.   A marriage of convenience between Victor and his pregnant, widowed sister-in-law set the stage for their escape from Spain and a long journey to a new and unexpected life in Chile.  This generational story weaves together factual events with the fiction of the plot line in a slow, graceful narrative waltz.  The characters are multi-dimensional and rich with emotion and life.  The plot runs the spectrum from suffering, sadness and great joy.  I'm a fan of the author and appreciate the opportunity from NetGalley to previous this book.
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This was a well written and very well researched trip to 1930's Spain and Argentina. I never did really connect with any of the characters but it was very interesting none the less.
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Isabel Allende is such a great storyteller. This book follows the lives of Roser and Victor, who flee Spain after the Civil War to Chile on board a boat commissioned by the poet Pablo Neruda. While the story is fiction, it's based on true events and real people. Allende creates complicated characters full of depth and perception who are responding to their worlds being turned upside down. The connections between Spain and Chile, the customs, cultures and plight of refugees is dealt with beautifully and poignantly. As a reader, I sympathized with the difficult and varied circumstances that so many of the characters found themselves in, and felt through her writing just how much war affects all humanity. Ultimately, this is a story of people, what they do to survive and how they make a life even when everything is collapsing around them. Themes of resilience, love and hope thread through the narrative. A throughly enjoyable read.
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Isabel Allende is a favorite author for me.  Allende's books always seem to allow travel to so many countries! This one started in Spain, and spent time France, Chile, Argentina, and the United States.  The focus of the book is an epic journey of the lives of  Victor Dalmau (an army doctor), and Roser (Victor's late brother's pregnant girlfriend.  They flee Spain during the Spanish Civil War, just before World War II, and cross the Pyranees into France.  Somehow they made it aboard a ship carrying refugees to Chile.  They made their home there and things are peaceful for awhile, but it seems trouble can't help but find these two people.  They face many hurdles during the course of the story.

I enjoyed following their lives and their remarkable journey.  Their lives were remarkable.  I found at the end that this book was based on actual events and historical figures even though the book is a work of fiction.  

Thanks to Isabel Allende and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine through Netgalley for an advance copy of this book.
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I love this author and just could not wait to get my hands on her latest work. She tells such an involved and developed story, I always feel like I have a bit of withdrawals when I'm done reading her novels! Love the story, love the writing, would definitely recommend!
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The novel spans the period 1938 to 1994, the novel focuses on Victor Dalmau, a 23-year-old medical student fighting in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side. Victor and thousands of other Republican sympathizers flee Spain to avoid brutal reprisals. In France, he searches the packed refugee camps for Roser Bruguera, who is pregnant with his brother Guillem’s child. ( Guillem had died in battle)
Victor through Chilean poet Pablo Neruda has organized to transport Spanish refugees from Europe manages to win a place on the Winnipeg a ship destined for Chile. Victor persuades Roser to marry him in name only so they can take the journey to Chile. Victor begins to fall in love with Roser 
They raise Roser’s son, Marcel and create stable lives as a Cardiologist and Roser as a musician.
Through it all, their hope of returning to Spain keeps them going. 
 This is an engrossing novel of hope, exile, love, war and above all family.
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Review The Long Petal of the Sea

The Dalmau family lived in Barcelona. Marcel Dalmau, a Music Professor in a university and his wife Carme, had 2 sons, Guillem and Victor. Guillem was the boisterous  one but Victor was quieter and a better student. So in 1936 the two sons went off to fight for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War.

When the boys were gone, Marcel and Carme took in one of the professors talented students, Roser, who became a member of the family. Roser later fell in love with Guillem and became pregnant with his child while he was home on leave. The Republicans were losing and so pregnant Roser and Carme set out to find Guillem and tell him of the pregnancy. They learned that Guillem had died on the battlefield. They did find Victor who had been working as a medic in the field hospitals. 

By this time Republicans were losing and fleeing Spain for France. Victor, Roser and Carme joined the throngs but then Carme left the group in Spain. Once they got across the mountains into France, they found the French did not want them there. Roser had given birth to a son, Marcel, and she and Victor heard about a transport ship, the Winnipeg, that had been refitted to take skilled Spanish refugees to Chile. Roser and Victor married quickly so they could travel as a family. Then they brought their son to Chile. 

The couple continued to live as brother and sister as Roser was grieving Guillem for many years. Roser worked as a musician while Victor was able to go to medical school. 

The book explores the lives of the Spaniards in their new country. Chile experienced it’s own revolutions and the Dalmaus found themselves caught up in politics there as well. 

This book spans the period from 1931 to the 1990s. It examines the political upheavals in both Spain and Chile. The author was raised in Chile and has done extensive research on the history of that country.
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Another excellent book by Allende tells the story of Chilean immigrants who came from Spain to escape Franco’s regime. Following the story of a small family, it shows the gratitude of those who escaped and how they along with the next generation, made a positive impact on Chile. (Net Galley review copy)
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Against the background of the Spanish Civil War, to the political ups and downs of Chile, our main characters Victor and Roser, make their lives. To me the history of the the changing currents in Spain and Chile was what gave the book it’s meat. The characters were well enough formed in that the stories move forward at a good enough pace: alone, they would have merited a three star book.
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I received an ARC of A Long Petal of the Sea, referring to Chile’s geographic location along the coast of South America, by Isabelle Allende and its so nice to see her back in top form.  Allende has tackled the history of immigration, as Victor Dalmau flees Franco’s Spain only to encounter harsh camps and opposition to immigrants in France.  Pablo Neruda, the real life Chilean poet, is charged with bringing select Spainish refugees to Chile aboard the real life Winnipeg.  Victor, his soon to be wife Roser, a talented musician and their infant son, Marcel convince Neruda of their value to Chile’s culture and economy and secure passage.  Thus begins a love affair with Chile through Salvatore Allende’s government, the US backed military coup and the purge by Augusto Pinochet.   Victor, no longer a Spaniard but a true Chilean, flees to Venezuela after being arrested and sent to a concentration camp during the purge. Finally they return to Chile after Pinochet’s fall.  The characters are well done but it is Allende’s beautiful descriptive writing, totally engaging plot and love for her native Chile that makes this book such a pleasure to read.  Such a pleasure to spend time with Allende one  of today’s most accomplished storytellers.  Historical fiction with a strong connection to today’s headlines.
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A Long Petal of the Sea is Isabel Allende's semi fictionalized account (the historical figures are real, other characters are invented) of a pair of Republican refugees from Spain's Civil War who immigrate to Chile on a voyage arranged by poet Pablo Neruda. Yes, that voyage actually happened, and Neruda was the man behind it. Neruda was charged with choosing individuals with useful technical skills. He chose some people like these, but he also apparently chose people he found intelligent or interesting or whose spirit and values he admired. 

Two of these refugees are Victor and Roser. Victor is a not-yet-licensed doctor who served as a medic in the Spanish Civil War and who dreams of becoming a cardiologist. Roser, a former piano student of Victor's father, is pregnant with the child of Victor's younger brother, who was killed in the war. The pair marry and agree they will raise the child together as friends. The novels follows their life in Chile—and other parts of Latin America—through the second half of the 20th Century, including the  election and overthrow of President Salvador Allende, the Pinochet dictatorship that followed, and Chile's gradual return to democracy.

This is a historical period of great interest to me, and I appreciated the longitudinal picture of events A Long Petal of the Sea Provided. Nonetheless, I had a hard time immersing myself in the narrative, which is relatively bare. The novel read like a summary of what might have been had Allende moved beyond a relating a series of events and allowed readers to dwell in the inner lives of the characters.

I'm glad to have read this book, but I was very conscious that I was reading, rather than living through these times alongside the characters.

I received a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes from the published via NetGalley. The opinions are my own.
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It goes without saying that this book is beautifully written.  But in addition to that the story of the journey of one unconventional family through the Spanish Civil War and Chilean dictatorship is heartfelt and pulls the reader in immediately.  There are so many real life characters and stories in this book its easy to forget its a novel.  I enjoyed the journey it took me on while I read it.
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I am always excited to read a new book by Isabel Allende. She has a beautiful style, and I am always so drawn to her characters. This novel was no exception, and I would have been happy to read even more about the Dalmau and del Solar families.
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This is going to be a DNF for me.  I have loved Ms.Allende's work for many years but this particular book is so heavy on detail that I think it detracts from the story and characters. 

I have tried to read it four times and it just isn't for me. I'm sure that it will find it's audience.  

Since I did not finish it I won't publish a review since it's not fair to the author when this book might have an incredible ending that I couldn't manage to get to.

Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this title
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Allende’s latest novel starts out in 1938 Spain, at the height of the Spanish Civil War. After the triumph of Franco and the Fascists, Victor and his late brother’s pregnant girlfriend, Roser, set out to cross the Pyrenees into France. Against all odds, they survive, and eventually make their way to Chile. There, Victor attends medical school, marries Roser, who is a concert pianist, and they live in peace until the 1973 right wing coup causes them to suffer once again. Allende, who has done extensive research (and, as a Chilean, is writing about a time she lived through) provides a compelling insider’s look at events I knew very little about. Thanks to Random House and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC.
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“Those Isles Of Yours That Wait For Me”

I received an advanced readers copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Isabel Allende’s novel is being released in English in January. It’s a grand sweeping epic in which home, love, politics, art, and even family structures are complex and subject to instant upheaval across continents and generations. Allende left off the magical realism this time to tell a very realistic story grounded in historic fact. Reading it felt breathless, wide-scoped, and heart-wrenching, like reading “Doctor Zhivago.” The parallels to current conditions in the world are clear and very compelling.

A family led by the compassionate and honorable Dr. Victor Dalmau escape the brutal rise of Franco in Spain and deadly refugee concentration camps on the border in France, and are brought to Chile on the ship Winnipeg by the poet Pablo Neruda. Neruda actually did bring 2200 Spanish refugees to Chile in 1939. Chile seems like a paradise, but it too soon falls to a dictatorial regime, with disastrous consequences for the poet and his Schindler’s List of the Pacific, who were chosen for brilliance and open-mindedness instead of being the worker drones that Neruda promised Chilean authorities.

The novel demonstrates beautifully how, in an unstable and often cruel world, refugees and immigrants can find home in the hearts of one another, even when shelters, possessions, freedoms, and countries are lost. New and old bonds may be formed and remade in surprising ways, and some of us may even get a little extra life and solace when we thought there was no more joy or safe harbor to be found. There are always, as Neruda wrote, “those isles of yours that wait for me” even if the “long petal of the sea” that is the author’s native becomes a hell on earth. A profound and satisfying novel. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

The novel's plot focuses on decisions the characters make during a time of war and resettling.   The heartbreaking consequences of choices and their lasting impact on the lives of the characters is compelling.
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This far-reaching novel begins with the Spanish Civil War and ends well after the Pinochet coup in Chile, tracing the characters and their families from Spain to Chile, to Venezuela, and back to Chile.  Of course, the author is intimately familiar with Chilean history and politics, and she has developed characters who cause us to care deeply about the political tyranny and man's inhumanity to man that she describes.  The relationship that develops between Victor, a Spanish wartime doctor, and Roser, the pregnant widow of his brother, is complex as it ebbs and flows over decades.  The historical characters such as General Franco, Salvador Allende, and the poet Pablo Neruda, are brought to life as the fictitious characters' lives intersect with them.  This is a memorable and powerful story about war, dictatorship, family, and romance, all with a historical backdrop.
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Allende covers a huge span of time for this book but she keeps it moving. There's no dull moments in this book and she manages to fit character study-type sections for most of the major characters in the book. A lot of the characters are definitely products of their time, but it's fascinating how a lot of these issues are still relatable in present day. This is a solid piece of work that will have you itching to look up how it lines up with historical events.
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