Forest of the Pygmies [NOOK Book]


Once again Alexander Cold and his indomitable journalist grandmother, Kate, are braving the mystical unknown, this time in the heart of Africa. Along with Alex's friend Nadia Santos and a photographic crew from International Geographic magazine, they have travelled to Kenya to work on an article about the continent's first elephant-led safaris. But when a missionary approaches their camp in search of companions who have mysteriously disappeared, Alex, Nadia, and their group find themselves embarking on a ...

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Forest of the Pygmies

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Once again Alexander Cold and his indomitable journalist grandmother, Kate, are braving the mystical unknown, this time in the heart of Africa. Along with Alex's friend Nadia Santos and a photographic crew from International Geographic magazine, they have travelled to Kenya to work on an article about the continent's first elephant-led safaris. But when a missionary approaches their camp in search of companions who have mysteriously disappeared, Alex, Nadia, and their group find themselves embarking on a dangerous mission to Africa's equatorial forest to aid a clan of Pygmies. For the Cold expedition is the tribe's last hope for survival in a world where poaching, corruption, and slavery run rampant.

Forest of the Pygmies is the concluding volume of acclaimed author Isabel Allende's celebrated trilogy, which begins with City of the Beasts and continues with Kingdom of the Golden Dragon.

Eighteen-year-old Alexander Cold and his grandmother travel to Africa on an elephant-led safari, but discover a corrupt world of poaching and slavery.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Forest of the Pygmies by Isabel Allende, trans. from the Spanish by Margaret Sayers Peden, wraps up the trilogy begun with City of the Beasts and Kingdom of the Golden Dragon, of which PW wrote, "Allende's complex heroes, suspenseful tests of courage and the mystic aura that surrounds the story add depth and excitement to a classic battle of good versus evil." Now Alexander, his grandmother, Kate, and Nadia are bound for Kenya, where Kate is on assignment to write about the first elephant-led safaris. But they also discover a ring of slavery and poaching. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, May 2005: Allende completes her trilogy that began with City of the Beasts and continued with Kingdom of the Golden Dragon with this volume, set in Africa. Kate has been sent to Kenya to write an article about the first elephant-led safaris, and her grandson Alex and his friend Nadia are along for the thrilling ride. A sorceress in Nairobi warns them of danger ahead, and they encounter plenty of it when the safari ends and they head out to look for missing missionaries in a remote swampy jungle. After a plane crash and close encounters with wild animals, they enter the territory of a tyrant who has enslaved the local pygmies, and Alex and Nadia visit the world of the spirits to help free them. Allende, author of many acclaimed books for adults as well as this series for YAs, evokes the climate and creatures of Africa beautifully, and this tense tale has memorable characters and lots of action and excitement along with elements of magical realism. Best appreciated by those who have read the previous volumes, though. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, HarperCollins, 296p., $7.99.. Ages 12 to 18.
—Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-Isabel Allende's trilogy (Kingdom of the Golden Dragon and City of the Beast, both HarperCollins) comes to a satisfactory conclusion in this volume (Rayo, 2005). The adventures of Nadia and Alex take them to Africa where they survive a plane crash and bring about the downfall of an evil dictator, thus freeing his enslaved pygmies. Although the plot is simple to follow without having read the first two titles in the series, the fantastical elements of Alex's and Nadia's mystical abilities such as talking with the animals and becoming invisible are simply part of the tale and not explained. Blair Brown reads the novel, most of which is in narrative form, at a quick pace reflecting the emotions of the story, varying her tone and sound level when appropriate. Her diction is precise, and she speaks the African names with ease. She uses several different accents to differentiate between the characters when necessary. A good choice where the first two novels are popular.-Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Allende takes her readers into the wilds of Africa in the final installment of her fantasy adventure trilogy that follows City of the Beasts (2002) and Kingdom of the Golden Dragon (2004). This story begins when 18-year-old Alexander Cold and his friend, Brazilian native Nadia Santos, join Alex's salty grandmother Kate, a journalist for International Geographic, and two photographers on a safari in Kenya. When a Catholic missionary persuades them and a local pilot to help find his colleagues who are lost in the remote jungles of Ngoube, the heroic group endangers their lives in an attempt to save them. While packed with hair-raising near misses and vivid glimpses of Africa's landscapes, tribal customs and wildlife, this is stiffly written, didactic and relentlessly descriptive. The characters are distinct, but undeveloped, and Allende awkwardly explains rather than reveals their interrelationships. Alexander and Nadia have totemic animal spirits, but since the origin and nature of this phenomenon are never explained, it's all rather baffling even within the context of Allende's magic realism. A rich but ultimately disappointing travelogue. (Fiction. 12-15)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062254498
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/1/2014
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 169,967
  • File size: 650 KB

Meet the Author

Isabel Allende is the author of twelve works of fiction, including the New York Times bestsellers Maya’s Notebook, Island Beneath the Sea, Inés of My Soul, Daughter of Fortune, and a novel that has become a world-renowned classic, The House of the Spirits. 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

Forest of the Pygmies

By Isabel Allende


ISBN: 0-06-076196-2

Chapter One

The Market Fortune-teller

At an order from the guide, Michael Mushaha, the elephant caravan came to a stop. The suffocating heat of midday was beginning, when the creatures of the vast nature preserve rested. Life paused for a few hours as the African earth became an inferno of burning lava, and even hyenas and vultures sought the shade. Alexander Cold and Nadia Santos were riding a willful bull elephant named Kobi. The animal had taken a liking to Nadia, because during their time together she had made an effort to learn the basics of the elephant's language in order to communicate with him. During their long treks, she told him about her country, Brazil, a distant land that had no creature as large as he, other than some ancient, legendary beasts hidden deep in the heart of South America's mountains. Kobi appreciated Nadia as much as he detested Alexander, and he never lost an opportunity to demonstrate both sentiments.

Kobi's five tons of muscle and fat shivered to a halt in a small oasis beneath dusty trees kept alive by a pool of water the color of milky tea. Alexander had developed his own style of jumping to the ground from his nine-foot-high perch without mauling himself too badly, since in the five days of their safari he still had not gained the animal's cooperation. He was not aware that this time Kobi had positioned himself in such a way that when Alex jumped down, he landed in a puddle of water up to his knees. Boroba, Nadia's small black monkey, then jumped on top of him. As Alex struggled to pry the monkey off his head, he lost his balance and plopped down on his seat. He cursed to himself, shook off Boroba, and only with difficulty regained his footing because he couldn't see through his glasses, which were dripping filthy water. As he was looking for a clean corner of his T-shirt to wipe the lenses, the elephant thumped him on the back with his trunk, a blow that propelled him face first into the puddle. Kobi waited for Alex to pull himself up, then turned his monumental rear end and unleashed a Pantagruelian blast in his face. The other members of the safari greeted the prank with a chorus of guffaws.

Nadia was in no hurry to get down; she waited for Kobi to help her dismount in a more dignified manner. She stepped upon the knee he offered her, steadied herself on his trunk, and then leaped to the ground with the grace of a ballerina. The elephant was not that considerate with anyone else, not even Mushaha, for whom he had respect but not affection. Kobi was an elephant with clear principles. It was one thing to transport tourists on his back, a job like any other, for which he was rewarded with excellent food and mud baths. It was something entirely different to perform circus tricks for a handful of peanuts. He liked peanuts, he couldn't deny that, but he received much more pleasure from tormenting people like Alexander. Why did the American get under his skin? The animal wasn't sure, it was a matter of chemistry. He didn't like the fact that Alex was always hanging around Nadia. There were thirteen elephants in the caravan, but he had to ride with the girl. It was very inconsiderate of Alex to get between Nadia and him that way. Didn't he realize that they needed privacy for their conversations? A good whack with the trunk and occasionally breaking wind in Alex's face were just what that young man deserved. Kobi trumpeted loudly once Nadia was down and had thanked him by planting a big kiss on his trunk. The girl had good manners; she would never humiliate him by offering him peanuts.

"That elephant is infatuated with Nadia," joked Alexander's grandmother, Kate Cold.

Boroba didn't like the turn Kobi's relationship with his mistress had taken. He had observed them with some worry. Nadia's interest in learning the language of the pachyderms could have dangerous consequences for him. She couldn't be thinking of getting a different pet, could she? Perhaps the moment had come for him to feign some illness in order to gain his mistress's total attention, but he was afraid she would leave him in camp and he would miss the wonderful outings around the preserve. This was his only chance to see the wild animals and, in addition, he wanted to keep a close eye on his rival. He installed himself on Nadia's shoulder, claiming that position as his right, and from there shook his fist at the elephant.

"And this silly monkey is jealous," Kate added.

She was used to Boroba's shift of moods, because she had lived under the same roof with him for nearly two years. It was like having a freakish, furry little man in her apartment. And it had been that way from the beginning, because Nadia had agreed to come to New York to study and live with Kate only if she could bring Boroba. They were never apart. They were so inseparable that they had obtained special permission for the monkey to go to school with her. Boroba was the only monkey in the history of the city's education system to attend classes regularly. It wouldn't have surprised Kate to learn that the creature knew how to read. She had nightmares in which Boroba, sitting on the sofa wearing glasses and sipping a glass of brandy, was reading the financial section of the Times.

Kate had observed the strange trio formed of Alexander, Nadia, and Boroba for some time. The monkey, who was jealous of anyone who came too near his mistress, had at first accepted Alexander as an inevitable evil, but with time had become fond of the young man. Perhaps he realized that in this instance it was not a good idea for him to offer Nadia the ultimatum of "it's him or me," as he usually did. Who knows which of the two she would have chosen? Kate realized that both young people had changed a lot during the past year. Nadia would soon be fifteen and her grandson eighteen; they already had the physical appearance and seriousness of adults.


Excerpted from Forest of the Pygmies by Isabel Allende Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 22 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 6, 2014

    Great series

    I read Allende's juvenile series first in Spanish and enjoyed it very much. I sent my 16 year old grandson the first book in English The City of the Beasts and when he said he liked it I got the other two The Forest of the Pygmies and the Kingdom of the Golden Dragon. These are very simple books to read for a teenager who reads well and a lot; but the ideas in the books are entertaining and exciting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    Forest of the pygmies

    Forest of the pygmies has a very interesting cover with a touch of African culture.the story opens up by introduing the characters,with main character nadia Santos and Alexander cold. you enter the book when the characters are on a safari.I thought this book was alright. I do like all of the Isabel Allende's books (that I have read).This book is hard to follow for me it go's from one thing to another slow but the transition to one one chapter to another you have to find out whare you were.all in all I would recommend this book to sires lover.

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  • Posted October 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Read!

    This book, and series as a whole, is amazingly written, and has an enthralling plot. The characters are deep,independent,and humorous, with traits that can be compared with people i know in real life. Overall, this is a great book for sharing with your friends and rereading on cold nights.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2008

    Good, quick, and easy read.

    The book Forest of the Pygmies, the third and final book in a series by Isabel Allende, is about a pair of people, Alexander and Nadia, both of whom possess the spirits of the Jaguar and Eagle respectively, and their journey to Africa with Alexander¿s grandmother, a journalist for International Geographic. She goes to Africa to write an article about the wildlife, going on a safari early in the beginning. This safari serves to introduce the characters and develop them in the beginning, but the safari is interrupted on its last day as a Spanish missionary bursts from the forest, begging for the group to help him find his other missionary friends, lost in an African village. The group agrees to help, and so they venture into the heart of an African forest, far from the comforts and luxuries of civilization, where they enter an entirely different world. In here they discover a far deeper conflict than the missing men, finding an age-old conflict between the African villagers and their slaves, the pygmies. The book was short, yet well written, and I enjoyed reading it. Allende uses a writing style called magical realism, which means that she uses magical creations like spirits and voodoo in an otherwise realistic world. This writing style fits in well with the setting and conflicts of the novel. However, one thing that I did not like was that several times the magical components of the story seemed a little too convenient, taking away from the realism portion to advance the plot and making the book seem more unlikely. Fortunately, these instances are few, and the other portions of the book are more believable, and this realism is one thing that draws me to the book. For example, she describes in a very detailed way the dangers of Africa, be they the natural diseases, animals, or food shortages. I would recommend this book to all readers. There is nothing too graphic about it, though if the reader is afraid of bugs, be warned there are a lot of bugs in Africa. The book can be picked up even without prior knowledge of the first two books as well, as the first two have little impact on the third¿s story. Allende¿s Forest of the Pygmies uses magical realism in order to display Africa realistically and to influence the story beyond the real world. It is a good, quick read, and if a reader finds themselves in need of a book, read this one. I promise he¿ll enjoy it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2006

    Awesome books

    Kingdom of the Golden Dragon seriously made me want to become a Buddhist monk!!!!! a total must read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2006

    A bit disappointing

    After waiting in anticipation to read the final installment of Isabel Allende's Alexander Cold series, I was quite disappointed. Other than it being predictable, the ending was not at all what I expected it to be, it just ended, the final sentence of the trilogy upset me most of all. Of the three books, I highly recommend 'City of the Beasts.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2005

    Outstanding Author!

    I loved Allende's first two books in this series. I wanted to buy it the instant I saw it, but I was broke. Please, just read them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2005

    Isabel Allende is an AMAZING author!

    Isabel Allende's first two novels in the Alexander Cold series are AMAZING reads, and they're translations! I was very intrigued by her first two novels and had a LOT of fun reading them (City of the Beasts and Kingdom of the Golden Dragon are their names). I can't wait to read this new book! It's released tomorrow and I can't WAIT to read it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2005

    these are not just childrens books

    In my experience of reading isabel allendes city of the beasts and kingdom of the golden dragon, they are like disney movies, in the sense that theya re for children but much of the plot and darker or complex parts of the story are for adults and teens to enjoy. I hope that the third installment is justa thrilling as the first.

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    Posted October 26, 2008

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    Posted November 1, 2008

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