Eva Luna

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Las aventuras picarescas de una Sherezade latinoamericana, relatando su nacimiento ilegítimo, su orfandad, su adolescencia sin rumbo, sus actividades contra el gobierno, y su romance con un problemático director de películas documentales. Por medio de su don narrativo, Eva Luna inventa una realidad personal determinada por la magia y el destino.

Author Biography:

Nacida en Perú, Isabel Allende se crió en Chile. Algunos de sus libros, La casa de...

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Las aventuras picarescas de una Sherezade latinoamericana, relatando su nacimiento ilegítimo, su orfandad, su adolescencia sin rumbo, sus actividades contra el gobierno, y su romance con un problemático director de películas documentales. Por medio de su don narrativo, Eva Luna inventa una realidad personal determinada por la magia y el destino.

Author Biography:

Nacida en Perú, Isabel Allende se crió en Chile. Algunos de sus libros, La casa de los espíritus, De amor y sombra, Eva Luna, Cuentos de Eva Luna, El plan infinito, y más recientemente, Paula, raducidos a más de 25 lenguas, encabezan la lista de bestsellers en varios paises de America y Europa. Isabel Allende reside actualmente en California.LANGUAGE: Spanish

Niece of the assassinated Chilean president Salvador Allende, Isabel Allende has written a luminous literary novel that traces the life of an orphan from her impoverished beginnings to her rise to fame and fortune.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A woman makes love to an Indian dying of snakebite, miraculously restoring him to life and engendering a daughter named Eva``so she will love life.'' Thus begins Allende's latest novel, a magnificent successor to The House of the Spirits and Of Love & Shadows. Set in a Latin American country, it relates Eva's picaresque adventures. Brought up in the house of an eccentric doctor devoted to mummifying corpses, where her mother is a servant, Eva is left an orphan at six. Her black godmother, or madrina , leases her as a servant to a series of bizarre households of metaphorical significance, the last of which she leaves in grand style upon emptying a government Minister's chamberpot over his head. Interleaved with Eva's story is her account of a certain Rolf Carle, with whom her life will become linkedshe tells of his youth in Nazi Austria and young manhood as a filmmaker in South America. Through a series of improbable and felicitous coincidences, Eva is taken under the wing of such exotic benefactors as a street urchin who becomes a guerrilla leader, a colorful whorehouse Madam, a kindly Turkish merchant and a stunningly beautiful transsexual. Like the author, Eva is a prodigious fabulist, weaving extraordinary tales that change reality at will, making it, as she says, easier to bear. Although the fabulist's art is seen as dangerously escapist, Allende's wonderful novel, crammed with the strange and fantastical, the sensuous and the erotic, also speaks powerfully in the cause of freedom. 40,000 first printing; BOMC and QPBC alternate. October
Library Journal
Born in the back room of the mansion where her mother toils, and herself in service from an early age, the enchanting and ever-enchanted Eva Luna escapes oppression through story telling. Rolf Carle flees Germany for South America, and ultimately works as a documentary film maker, to escape childhood memories of burying the concentration camp dead. The two are brought together by guerrilla Huberto NaranjoEva's lover and a subject for Rolf's camerain this dense, opulent novel that serves as a metaphor for redemption through creative effort. In her earlier works The House of the Spirits, LJ 4/15/85; Of Love and Shadows, LJ 5/1/87, Allende's rich language occasionally shaded into overripeness; but here the prose is more tightly controlled, the characterizations defter. Her best work yet. BOMC alternate. Barbara Hoffert, ``Library Journal''
From the Publisher

“An exotic dance that beguiles and entices.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Remarkable . . . [Isabel] Allende seems to draw characters and tales from a bottomless well as Eva Luna narrates the story of her life. . . . Vivid and passionate and human.”—The Washington Post Book World
“With vivid imagery, Eva Luna transports the reader to an almost mythic continent where magical happenings are everyday events.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“Sumptuous . . . Allende’s canvas is large, busy, full of feeling, incident and rich detail.”—Chicago Tribune
“There is a richness of language, image, and adventure that flows effortlessly.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553280586
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/1989
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 307
  • Product dimensions: 4.15 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Isabel Allende is the bestselling author of twelve works of fiction, four memoirs, and three young-adult novels, which have been translated into more than thirty-five languages with sales in excess of fifty-seven million copies. She is the author most recently of the bestsellers Maya's Notebook, Island Beneath the Sea, Inés of My Soul, Portrait in Sepia, and Daughter of Fortune. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She received the Hans Christian Andersen Literary Award in 2012. Born in Peru and raised in Chile, she lives in California.


In Isabel Allende's books, human beings do not exist merely in the three-dimensional sense. They can exert themselves as memory, as destiny, as spirits without form, as fairy tales. Just as the more mystical elements of Allende's past have shaped her work, so has the hard-bitten reality. Working as a journalist in Chile, Allende was forced to flee the country with her family after her uncle, President Salvador Allende, was killed in a coup in 1973.

Out of letters to family back in Chile came the manuscript that was to become Allende's first novel. Her arrival on the publishing scene in 1985 with The House of the Spirits was instantly recognized as a literary event. The New York Times called it "a unique achievement, both personal witness and possible allegory of the past, present and future of Latin America."

To read a book by Allende is to believe in (or be persuaded of) the power of transcendence, spiritual and otherwise. Her characters are often what she calls "marginal," those who strive to live on the fringes of society. It may be someone like Of Love and Shadows 's Hipolito Ranquileo, who makes his living as a circus clown; or Eva Luna, a poor orphan who is the center of two Allende books (Eva Luna and The Stories of Eva Luna).

Allende's characters have in common an inner fortitude that proves stronger than their adversity, and a sense of lineage that propels them both forward and backward. When you meet a central character in an Allende novel, be prepared to meet a few generations of his or her family. This multigenerational thread drives The House of the Spirits, the tale of the South American Trueba family. Not only did the novel draw Allende critical accolades (with such breathless raves as "spectacular," "astonishing" and "mesmerizing" from major reviewers), it landed her firmly in the magic realist tradition of predecessor (and acknowledged influence) Gabriel García Márquez. Some of its characters also reappeared in the historical novels Portrait in Sepia and Daughter of Fortune.

"It's strange that my work has been classified as magic realism," Allende has said, "because I see my novels as just being realistic literature." Indeed, much of what might be considered "magic" to others is real to Allende, who based the character Clara del Valle in The House of the Spirits on her own reputedly clairvoyant grandmother. And she has drawn as well upon the political violence that visited her life: Of Love and Shadows (1987) centers on a political crime in Chile, and other Allende books allude to the ideological divisions that affected the author so critically.

But all of her other work was "rehearsal," says Allende, for what she considers her most difficult and personal book. Paula is written for Allende's daughter, who died in 1992 after several months in a coma. Like Allende's fiction, it tells Paula's story through that of Allende's own and of her relatives. Allende again departed from fiction in Aphrodite, a book that pays homage to the romantic powers of food (complete with recipes for two such as "Reconciliation Soup"). The book's lighthearted subject matter had to have been a necessity for Allende, who could not write for nearly three years after the draining experience of writing Paula.

Whichever side of reality she is on, Allende's voice is unfailingly romantic and life-affirming, creating mystery even as she uncloaks it. Like a character in Of Love and Shadows, Allende tells "stories of her own invention whose aim [is] to ease suffering and make time pass more quickly," and she succeeds.

Good To Know

Allende has said that the character of Gregory Reeves in The Infinite Plan is based on her husband, Willie Gordon.

Allende begins all of her books on January 8, which she considers lucky because it was the day she began writing a letter to her dying grandfather that later became The House of the Spirits.

She began her career as a journalist, editing the magazine Paula and later contributing to the Venezuelan paper El Nacional.

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Read an Excerpt


Me llamo Eva, que quiere decir vida, según un libro que mi madre consultó para escoger mi nombre. Nací en el último cuarto de una casa sombría y crecí entre muebles antiguos, libros en latín y momias humanas, pero eso no logró hacerme melancólica, porque vine al mundo con un soplo de selva en la memoria. Mi padre, un indio de ojos amarillos, provenía del lugar donde se juntan cien ríos, olía a bosque y nunca miraba al cielo de frente, porque se había criado bajo la cúpula de los árboles y la luz le parecía indecente. Consuelo, mi madre, pasó la infancia en una región encantada, donde por siglos los aventureros han buscado la ciudad de oro puro que vieron los conquistadores cuando se asomaron a los abismos de su propia ambición. Quedó marcada por el paisaje y de algún modo se las arregIó para traspasarme esa huella.

Los misioneros recogieron a Consuelo cuando todavía no aprendía a caminar, era sólo una cachorra desnuda y cubierta de barro y excremento, que entró arrastrándose por el puente del embarcadero como un diminuto jonás vomitado por alguna ballena de agua dulce. Al bañarla comprobaron sin lugar a dudas que era niña, lo cual les creó cierta confusión, pero estaba allí y no era cosa de lanzarla al río, de modo que le pusieron un pañial para tapar sus vergüenzas, le echaron unas gotas de limón en los ojos para curar la infección que le impedía abrirlos y la bautizaron con elprimernombre femenino que les pasó por la mente.

Procedieron a educarla sin buscar explicaciones sobre su origen y sin muchos aspavientos, seguros de, que, si la Divina Providencia la había conservado con vida hasta que ellos la encontraron, también velaría por su integridad física y espiritual, o en el peor de los casos se la llevaría al cielo junto a otros inocentes. Consuelo creció sin lugar fijo en la estricta jerarquìa de la Misión. No era exactamente una sirvienta no tenía el mismo rango que los indios de la escuela y cuando preguntó cuál de los curas era su papá recibió un bofetón por insolente. Me contó que había sido, abandonada en un bote a la deriva por un navegante holandés, pero seguro que ésa es una leyenda que inventó con posterioridad para fibrarse del asedio de mis preguntas. Creo que en realidad nada sabía de sus progenitores ni de la forma como apareció en aquel lugar.

La Misión era un pequeño oasis en medio de una vegetación voluptuosa, que crece enredada en sí misma, desde la orilla del agua, hasta las bases de monumentales torres geológicas, elevadas hacia el firmamento como errores de Dios. Allí el tiempo se ha torcido y las distancias engañan al ojo humano, induciendo al viajero a caminar en círculos. El aire, húmedo y espeso, a veces huele a flores, a hierbas, a sudor de hombres y a aliento de animales. El calor es oprimente, no corre una brisa de alivio, se caldean las piedras y la sangre en las venas. Al atardecer el cielo, se llena de mosquitos fosforescentes, cuyas picaduras provocan inacabables pesadillas, y por las noches se escuchan con nitidez los murmullos de las aves, los gritos de los monos y el estruendo lejano, de las cascadas, que nacen de los montes a mucha altura y revientan abajo con un fragor de guerra. El modesto edificio, de paja y barro, con una torre de palos cruzados y una campana para llamar a misa, se equilibraba como todas las chozas, sobre pilotes enterrados en el fango de un río de aguas opalescentes cuyos límites se pierden en la reverberación de la luz. Las viviendas parecían flotar a la deriva entre canoas silenciosas, basura, cadáveres de perros y ratas, inexplicables flores blancas.

Era fácil distinguir a Consuelo aun desde lejos, con su largo pelo rojo como un ramalazo de fuego en el verde eterno de esa naturaleza. Sus compañeros de juego eran unos indiecitos de vientes protuberantes, un loro atrevido que recitaba el Padrenuestro intercalado de palabrotas y un mono atado con una cadena a la pata de una mesa, al que ella soltaba de vez en cuando para que fuera a buscar novia al bosque, pero siempre regresaba a rascarse las pulgas en el mismo sitio. En esa época ya andaban por aquellos lados los protestantes repartiendo biblias, predicando contra el Vaticano y cargando bajo el sol y la lluvia sus pianos en carretones, para hacer cantar a los conversos en actos públicos. Esta competencia exigía de los sacerdotes católicos toda su dedicación de modo, que se ocupaban poco de Consuelo y ella sobrevivió curtida por el sol, mal alimentada con yuca y pescado, infestada de parásitos, picada de mosquitos, libre como un pájaro. Aparte de ayudar en las tareas domésticas, asistir a los servicios religiosos y a algunas clases de lectura, aritmética y catecismo, no tenía otras obligaciones, vagaba husmeando la flora y persiguiendo a la fauna, con la mente plena de imágenes, de olores, colores y sabores, de cuentos traídos de la frontera y mitos arrastrados por el río.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    Why aren't all of Isabel Allende's books in Nook form?

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  • Posted December 14, 2010

    Eva Luna by Isabel Allende. Published by "Random House Publishing Group".

    Isabel Allende wrote this book about Eva Luna who narrates her own life. This book is exciting, romantic, sad, and adventurous. It starts off by telling the story of Consuelo, Eva's mother, and about her life. After Eva's born, her mother dies and she has nowhere to go since her father had died as well. Eva lives with multiple people in exchange for working for them. As she grows up, she meets many important people in her life including the men she falls in love with. When she becomes a young adult, she meets with 3 people from her past, a transgender whom she lives with, her "abuela" and one of her lovers. The transgender, Mimi, allows Eva to stay with her and her lover, Huberto Naranjo, whom she's known since she was a child, meets up with her in the most unexpected times in her life. Mimi and Eva find Eva's "abuela" Elvira. Elvira used to live with Eva in the house of her patrona and Elvira came and lives with them. After a time Eva meets with Huberto, Mimi is furious because of the fact that they love each other and she claims she knows who Huberto really is. But when Huberto becomes a Commander and Eva meets Rolf Carle, she feels as if she'd known him for years. Who will she chose; the guerilla fighter or the German immigrant? I didn't love this book but it wasn't torture reading it. The major reason why I didn't enjoy this book was because it confused me. Ever other chapter it went from talking about Eva then about Rolf Carle. And for quite some time, I had no idea what Rolf had to do with the story or with Eva. Thankfully the end cleared up my confusion and the book started to make sense to me. I especially liked the romance in the story, for example, how Mimi didn't want Eva with Huberto but she didn't care because she loved him so much. From reading this book, I learned that no one has a boring life and everyone has an interesting story to tell, just like the stories Eva was known for telling. I overall liked this book but I don't think I'd like to read it again. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Spanish books or has enjoyed any other books by Isabel Allende. But I would not recommend this book to anyone in my age group because I know that most of them wouldn't enjoy it.

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  • Posted September 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:


    Eva Luna is an imaginative tale of personalities well developed, and life situations imaginatively described. Her humor, imagination, and ability to spin a yarn are truly remarkable. Her writing is as good as that of Gabriel Garcia Marquez--my favorite author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2007

    one of my favorites!

    i absolutely LOVED reading this book. i really enjoyed all the characters in Eva Luna. There is a certain feeling you get when reading this, maybe its from the magic realism that Allende sometime embeds. Most of all, the richness of the characters and scenery is what makes this novel so great. I also think The House of the Spirits by Allende was superb!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2007

    great imagination

    Wolds of possibilities

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2005

    A book you can't miss!

    This extraordinary book, Eva Luna, by Isabel Allende, is about a girl living in South America and the story of her life. This girl finds herself in this world completely alone after her mom dies, with nowhere to go and with a talent for telling stories that was barely worth anything at that time. She has to go through hard times, tough situations and new experiences to survive. Through out her life she meets and makes friends that later on are really important to her and affect her life in every possible way. She meets all kinds of people, from different nationalities to different lifestyles. She meets a Turkish merchant, a South American guerilla fighter, and a German immigrant that makes this book a definite page-turner. Another thing that makes this book so interesting is the variety of characters and how interesting they make this story. For example, Eva Luna a girl with a passion for telling stories, a writer, and a person with a great heart always who wants to help others in every way possible. Eva Luna meets a German immigrant who during his childhood suffered a lot. Then he decides to move to South America and start a new life as a photographer. Another interesting character is a Turkish merchant who is married to a woman who can¿t stand seeing him because of a birth defect in his lip, but who is the most generous man anyone has ever met. These characters make this story a great story to read. This story is full of rich detail, and feeling. It makes you feel and understand the hard situations that Eva Luna was going through as if it were you living those same experiences. This story is very original and full great adventures and various situations from romance to revolution to storytelling. Allende narrates this story in such a way that keeps you glued to the book from the very beginning. A book everyone should read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2003

    loved it

    i enjoyed it a lot. it s simply excellent, unputdownable, incredible and terribly real. i loved reading it!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2001

    I thought I discovered this fabulous new author and to my surprise realized she had written a book made into a movie

    I read this book a few years ago, and was completely thrilled and didn't know she did House of Spirits,I enjoyed it very much, rich details, romance and a great story, I would like to read more by this author.

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    Posted January 8, 2009

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