Customer Reviews for

Retrato en sepia (Portrait in Sepia)

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2001

    Aurora's search for her identity.

    This is the eloquent family saga of a pantheon of eclectic characters brought together by Aurora de Valle¿s search for her enigmatic past. Aurora was born in San Francisco under the protection of her maternal grand-parents, an unconventional marriage between a Chinese doctor, Tao Chi¿en and an English women, Eliza Sommers. However she is brought up in Chile by her business-savvy matriarchal paternal grand-mother Paulina del Valle. Liberated from social norms usually restricting young girls in the stifling Chilean aristocracy Aurora dedicates herself to photography to capture ¿moments of truth.¿ The historical setting is the latter part of nineteenth century Chile as explained by Allende in a recent press conference because, ¿I believe it is a period when the Chilean character was truly formed.¿ Chile¿s brutal expansionism into neighbouring countries and bloody revolution, including stark insights into rudimentary medical practices provide the backdrop. This contrasts with the more socially light-hearted San Francisco especially the Chinese community, the stigmas confronting these early immigrants and the sad plight of the trade in young prostitutes euphemistically know as ¿sing-song¿ girls. As with other Allende books, strong female characters push back the frontiers of convention, such as Nivea del Valle who as the author describes, ¿is capable to give birth to fifteen children and still continue fighting for women¿s rights¿. Historical fact and chronological order dominate over magical realism to provide afascinating tale of the varying kinds of love and a search for one¿s identity to establish a sense of belonging in the world. An excellent read, convincingly weaving together diverse social themes that doesn¿t miss a beat.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2008



    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2001


    Isabel Allende tells such beautiful stories, so richly detailed and with so many interesting personalities given to the characters. The book is so absorbing, you feel you have become part of the del Valle trama. It was sad when the book came to an end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2015

    Love it

    Lo dicho, Isabel Allende una de las mejores escritoras de estos tiempos.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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