1.21.2010

PORTRAIT IN SEPIA by ISABEL ALLENDE



Links for the East Side Readers' discussion.
Isabel Allende website
Reading Guide on Portrait in Sepia
Presidential Lectures: Isabel Allende: Bibliography
Isabel Allende, Book - Meet the Writer tab

Isabel Allende - The New York Times

Review: Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende | Books | The Guardian
Amazon.com: Customer Reviews:
ResearchChannel - An Evening with Isabel Allende (video)
Salon interview
Portrait in Sepia - Wikipedia

Isabel Allende - Information, Facts, and Links
Isabel Allende Facts, info, pictures | Encyclopedia.com
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2 comments:

VA said...

I looked for something else and just finished a 2008 memoir she did called THE SUM OF OUR DAYS. It is basically her life from the time the children are young, her divorce (references only) and moving on with Willie, her second husband, soulmate and the love of her life. I really liked it and didn't need a family tree to follow it. I don't know if the other East Side members would enjoy getting into it before the meeting; I will mention it in any event. It is amazing how people who travel and live in other cultures have such a broader view of life than someone (like your correspondent) who just lives on one level.

Bonnie said...

FYI: This was in today's Writer's Almanac.

"Today, writer Isabel Allende is starting a new book, just as she has been doing every single January 8th for the past 29 years. On January 8, 1981, when Chilean-born Allende was living in Venezuela and working as a school administrator and freelance journalist, she got a phone call that her beloved grandfather, at 99 years old, was dying. She started writing him a letter, and that letter turned into her very first novel, The House of the Spirits. She said, "It was such a lucky book from the very beginning, that I kept that lucky date to start."

Today is a sacred day for her, and she treats it in a ceremonial, ritualistic way. She gets up early this morning and goes alone to her office, where she lights candles "for the spirits and the muses." She surrounds herself with fresh flowers and incense, and she meditates.

She sits down at the computer, turns it on, and begins to write. She says: "I try to write the first sentence in a state of trance, as if somebody else was writing it through me. That first sentence usually determines the whole book. It's a door that opens into an unknown territory that I have to explore with my characters. And slowly as I write, the story seems to unfold itself, in spite of me."

She said, "When I start I am in a total limbo. I don't have any idea where the story is going or what is going to happen or why I am writing it." She doesn't use an outline, and she doesn't talk to anybody about what she's writing. She doesn't look back at what she's written until she's completed a whole first draft — which she then prints out, reads for the first time, and goes about the task of revising, where she really focuses on heightening and perfecting tension in the story and the tone and rhythm of the language.
She said that she take notes all the time and carries a notebook in her purse so that she can jot down interesting things she sees or hears. She clips articles out of newspapers, and when people tell her a story, she writes down that story. And then, when she is in the beginning stages of working on a book, she looks through all these things that she's collected and finds inspiration in them.

She writes in a room alone for 10 or 12 hours a day, usually Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. During this time, she says, "I don't talk to anybody; I don't answer the telephone. I'm just a medium or an instrument of something that is happening beyond me."

She is the author of nearly 20 books published since 1982, among them Paula (1995), Daughter of Fortune (1999), Portrait in Sepia (2000), and the recent memoirThe Sum of Our Days (2008). Her work has been translated into 30 languages, and her books have sold more than 51 million copies. She continues to write fiction in Spanish though she's lived in the United States for decades. Margaret Sayers Peden has done the English translations of several of Isabel Allende's books."