Isabel Allende: Life and Spirits
by Celia Correas Zapata
English Translation by Margaret Sayers Peden
Publication Date: 2002
This is an intimate interview/biography of passionate contemporary Latin American author Allende, who became a novelist when she transformed a letter she had written to her dying 99-year-old grandfather into the manuscript for her first novel, La casa de los espiritus (The House of Spirits). This powerful book led Argentine-born biographer Celia Correas Zapata to invite Allende to speak at the university, a meeting that inspired a friendship between the two women. Here, Correas Zapata captures the life, spirit and literature of Allende through a series of interviews with the author. Correas Zapata also shares information she has gathered from Allende’s family and acquaintances in Chile and includes a chronology through 1998, although the biography itself provides information on publications through 2000. There has yet to be a standard biography of Allende, whose life story is still being lived, but this intimate look joins other critical works about her writing and another less contextualized and personal collection of interviews, Conversations with Isabel Allende, to form the basis of knowledge about this important contemporary writer. Recommended for both public and academic libraries.
CELIA CORREAS DE ZAPATA, poet, critic, and essayist, is the editor of numerous anthologies of Latin American literature, including Short Stories by Latin American Women: The Magic and the Real (Arte Público Press, 1990), Detrás de la reja (Monte Avila, 1980), Tiempo ajeno (Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, 1980) and Ensayos hispanoamericanos (Editorial Corregidor, 1978). Her most recent book, Isabel Allende: Life and Spirits (Arte Público Press, 2002), is a biography that has won her much praise from top critics.
“In chapters that alternate between biographical text and question-and-answer format, Zapata, a longtime friend of Allende, creates a portrait based on her subject’s memories and bons mots on love, family and writing…full of meaty details that will interest Allende’s fans and may be useful for libraries at schools offering courses on contemporary female or Latin American writers.”–Publisher’s Weekly
“Here, Correas Zapata captures the life, spirit, and literature of Allende…”–Library Journal