Isabel Allende: January 7th


I start all my books on January eighth. Can you imagine January seventh? It’s hell.

~ Isabel Allende


Isabel Allende by Mutari. [Public Domain] via Wikipedia Commons
“Paula is a soul-baring memoir that, like a novel of suspense, one reads without drawing a breath. The point of departure for these moving pages is tragic personal experience. In December 1991, Isabel Allende’s daughter Paula became gravely ill and shortly thereafter fell into a coma. During months in the hospital, the author began to write the story of her family for her unconscious daughter. In the telling, bizarre ancestors appear before our eyes; we hear both delightful and bitter childhood memories, amazing anecdotes of youthful years, the most intimate secrets passed along in whispers. Chile, Allende’s native land, comes alive as well, with the turbulent history of the military coup of 1973, the ensuing dictatorship, and her family’s years of exile.”

“Note from Isabel: I have received more letters from readers in response to Paula than for any other book.”






Allende quotation from Why We Write. Meredith Maran, ed.

4 thoughts on “Isabel Allende: January 7th

  1. Cannot wait to read this, as have read all of her other novels. She is one of my favorite novelists!


    1. As I recall, when her daughter went into a coma, her editor brought notebooks so she could spend her time at the hospital writing. Allende said she couldn’t. The editor said, You must. When she wakes up, you’ll have a lot to tell her. Or words to that effect. And Paula was the result. Her life story is in there–so interesting. A beautiful book (my opinion, but I’m right). Thanks for reading. I hope you and all your family are well.


  2. I’ve been meaning to read Paula for so long. I love Isabel Allende’s writing. So melodic and rich in narrative.


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