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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Friday, June 17, 2005

Zorro - Isabel Allende's newest book

I picked up an autographed copy of Isabel Allende's latest novel, Zorro a couple of weeks ago. I decided to start reading it last night. It looks like another classic piece of literature.

Isabel Allende, was born in Peru and raised in Chile. Her uncle was Salvador Allende who's popular government was toppled by C.I.A. backed Fascists on 9/11 1973. Shortly after the coup, she went into exile.

Originally a journalist, Isabel later turned to writing fiction. She wrote the landmark epic, House of the Spirits which deals with generations of family tradition. It celebrates the contiunium women maintain throughout time. The novel follows their contributions to Humanity; regardless of the challenges and suffering they endure. Allende has several other works and all are highly reccomended reads because her style constantly changes.

The opening lines of this most recent novel reflect Allende's powerful, unique voice whose beauty resonates with the lyrical intonations of Spanish - the language in which she pens all of her work.

"With this document I intend to set the record straight before the slanderers who are determined to defame Zorro have their say. Our enemies are many, as is often the case with those who defend the weak, rescue damsels in distress, and humiliate the powerful. Naturally, every idealist attracts enemies, but we prefer to count our friends, who are much greater in number. I am compelled to recount these adventures because it serves little purpose for Diego to risk his life for the sake of justice if no one knows of it. Heroism is a badly remunerated occupation, and often it leads to an early end, which is why it appeals to fanatics or persons with an unhealthy fascination with death. There are all too few heroes with a romantic heart and a fun-loving nature. Let me say it straight out: there is no one like Zorro."

Thus begins he swashbuckling adventure about a man with conviction, Quixotic yet capable of holding his own against corrupt, powerful foes; the kind of hero we could use today.

Whenever I read Allende, I can see the world stripped of all its trappings, I see nothing is so overwhelming that it cannot be dealt with. When all else is lost, there is always hope. I love how she celebrates the triumph of the Human Spirit.

She is one of my favorites. I have no doubt I am going to enjoy this novel immensely.


At Fri Jun 17, 09:59:00 PM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love her books too. Will be reading Zorro when my daughter is finished with it.

Were you as lucky as I was to hear her speak at Popejoy a couple of years ago? That ticket was money well spent.


At Sat Jun 18, 04:00:00 AM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...


Yes I was there. Her story about Paula was heart-wrenching. I admire her strength and devotion to her child. In the end, I suppose no one can really fathom the depth of despair reached in experiencing the death of a child - until such a tragedy has actually befallen them. I pray to be spared of that experience because I couldn't live through it.

Children are supposed to outlive their parents. That is the natural order of things. Unfortunately - as in Paula's case - all the money in the world cannot save someone when their time to die has come. I read House of the Spirits many years before Paula's death and I found it incredible that Isabel really did reflect her character's profound ability to endure and carry on. I have often wondered whether that experience of writing Casa de Los Espiritos helped her to get through Paula's death. Which brings me to Paula; again, Allende presents us yet another beautiful invitation to share her world view - this time with words about her incredible life.

When we chance upon writers like Isabel, we not only are richer for the experience but we begin to see there is a shared Humanity that transcends all borders and social constructs based on abstract distinctions. In the end, we are simply Human Beings - a part of the huge collective body that senselessly chooses to focus on differences rather than realize our connectedness.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do believe that every person’s differences ought to be acknowledged because they ultimately provide an understanding for why people behave the way do and how their perspectives have been shaped. To deny that moves a person away from the realm of ignorance and into what I refer to as stupidity - prideful refusal to accept perspectives different from our own. I’m getting that a lot lately.

Isn’t it amazing, we read the same book – we attend the same function and we even live in the same city and yet we would never have known each other but through the blogosphere? I think it is incredible. My son picked up my copy of Allende and started reading it this morning – he smiled quite a bit. It was fun to watch his eyebrows raise as he flipped the pages.

He’s 19 and has already been recognized for his own writing abilities – that happened last year. Two of the final three feshman essays were his and the UNM English Department chose one for publication in the Mercury Reader - a required text for College Freshmen across the United States. I am very proud of him. He will be a Junior this year. The future looks bright for him.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that he recognizes the beauty of Allende’s prose. He read it and he commented about it. I’m glad your daughter is reading it too. Isn’t it amazing to be able to share your thoughts with your own kid - especially about something like a great book or, more importantly, a fine mind like Isabel Allende’s?

I thank you for dropping by because it presents me an opportunity to share my thoughts - across time and space - with another Human Being whom I would never have been lucky enough to meet were it not for the internet. Hopefully, one day my words will reach beyond this little venue and take on a life of their own in a book.

I have something to say - let's see if people are willing to part with their money in order to read it!

Be safe,

At Sun Jun 19, 10:21:00 AM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved "Daughter of Fortune". I borrowed the book from a colleague and then found I needed to borrow the extra time to actually sit down and READ. To my delight the book was available on audio tape... now my drive to and from work was bearable. Listening to the profeesional reader made her book come to life. Silly as this may sound, many times I could be found sitting in my car, in the driveway finishing the chapter. Julie

At Sun Jun 19, 10:24:00 PM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

That's a nice visual Julie - sitting in your driveway listening to Isabel. You are going to love Zorro.



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