The latest novel from Isabel Allende was a little bit of a disappointment overall. I thought it lacked excitement, the plot was convoluted and events were very laboriously linked together.
One of her main themes, older adults unexpectedly connecting and finding love is one that is dear to my heart. However, I find that others have done it with more grace and more poetry. I can think in particular of Love in the Time of Cholera.
On a more positive side, she still excels in creating characters I care about which is why I read the whole book.
Plot summary: On a snowy day, a middle-aged professor has a small car accident with an illegal immigrant who was using her boss’s car without permission. Following the accident, she shows up at his house asking for his help. As she is Hispanic and he has trouble understanding her, he asks his tenant, a Chilean visiting academic, to assist him. In the end, all three of them conceive of a plan to get rid of the car (and a dead body found in the trunk). They manage to do that without arousing suspicion. As the events progress, the professor and the visiting academic fall in love. When they reach their goal, they still have to help the illegal immigrant find a safe place to live and work and involve the Chilean academic’s daughter in this effort.
There is also the back story of each character and peripheral characters that are not involved in the plot as described in the previous paragraph. As a consequence, the book feels packed with information that does not propel the plot forward.
I would have liked to write a more positive comment as I hate to trash a book, but I am not inspired… and there may be a generalized effect of finding myself disliking several books lately. My husband was asking whether I ever give up on a book. I do hate to do that… but there are so many good books to like out there and life is so short…
Allende, Isabel. Más allá del invierno. Vintage Español, 2017.