La suma de los dias (The Sum of Our Days)

( 7 )

Overview

En las páginas de este libro, Isabel Allende narra con franqueza la historia reciente de su vida y la de su peculiar familia en California, en una casa abierta, llena de gente y de personajes literarios, y protegida por un espíritu: hijas perdidas, nietos y libros que nacen, éxitos y dolores, un viaje al mundo de las adicciones y otros a lugares remotos del mundo en busca de inspiración, de la mano de divorcios, encuentros, amores, separaciones, crisis de pareja y ...

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Overview

En las páginas de este libro, Isabel Allende narra con franqueza la historia reciente de su vida y la de su peculiar familia en California, en una casa abierta, llena de gente y de personajes literarios, y protegida por un espíritu: hijas perdidas, nietos y libros que nacen, éxitos y dolores, un viaje al mundo de las adicciones y otros a lugares remotos del mundo en busca de inspiración, de la mano de divorcios, encuentros, amores, separaciones, crisis de pareja y reconciliaciones.

Es también una historia de amor entre un hombre y una mujer maduros, que han salvado juntos muchos escollos sin perder ni la pasión ni el humor, y de una familia moderna, desgarrada por conflictos y unida, a pesar de todo, por el cariño y la decisión de salir adelante. Esta es la familia que descubrimos en Paula y que desciende de los personajes de La casa de los espíritus.

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Editorial Reviews

Dallas Morning News
“...Ms.Allende...executes this epistolary memoir with the same authenticity and poetry that grace her fiction...Ms. Allende is a survivor worth reading and emulating.”
USA Today
“THE SUM OF OUR DAYS is terrific. It’s funny, insightful, moving and filled with Allende’s unique voice.”
Denver Post
“A vibrant voice, which is at once introspective and forthright…an inspiring and thought-provoking work…The insights resonate, on page after page.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Allende’s THE SUM OF OUR DAYS adds up to an exuberant love letter—not only to her daughter, but to her tribe and anyone lucky enough to belong to one.”
Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Allende is a genius.”
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“A powerful memoir”
Dallas Morning News
“...Ms.Allende...executes this epistolary memoir with the same authenticity and poetry that grace her fiction...Ms. Allende is a survivor worth reading and emulating.”
Denver Post
“A vibrant voice, which is at once introspective and forthright…an inspiring and thought-provoking work…The insights resonate, on page after page.”
Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Allende is a genius.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Allende’s THE SUM OF OUR DAYS adds up to an exuberant love letter—not only to her daughter, but to her tribe and anyone lucky enough to belong to one.”
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“A powerful memoir”
USA Today
“THE SUM OF OUR DAYS is terrific. It’s funny, insightful, moving and filled with Allende’s unique voice.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061551888
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/3/2009
  • Language: Spanish
  • Edition description: Spanish Language Edition
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 694,530
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (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.

Biography

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

La Suma de los Dias


By Isabel Allende

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Isabel Allende
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061551871

Capítulo Uno

Las aguas más oscuras

En la segunda semana de diciembre de 1992, apenas cesó la lluvia, fuimos en familia a esparcir tus cenizas, Paula, cumpliendo con las instrucciones que dejaste en una carta, escrita mucho antes de caer enferma. Apenas les avisamos de lo que había ocurrido, tu marido, Ernesto, se vino de Nueva Jersey y tu padre de Chile. Alcanzaron a despedirse de ti, que reposabas envuelta en una sábana blanca, antes de llevarte para ser cremada. Después nos reunimos en una iglesia para oír misa y llorar juntos. Tu padre debía regresar a Chile, pero esperó a que escampara, y dos días más tarde, cuando por fin asomó un tímido reflejo del sol, fuimos toda la familia, en tres coches, a un bosque. Tu padre iba delante, guiándonos. No conoce esta región, pero la había recorrido en los días previos buscando el sitio más adecuado, el que tú hubieras preferido. Hay muchos lugares para escoger, aquí la naturaleza es pródiga, pero por una de esas coincidencias, que ya son habituales en lo que se refiere a ti, hija, nos condujo directamente al bosque donde yo iba a menudo a caminar para mitigar la rabia y el dolor cuando estabas enferma, el mismodonde Willie me llevó de picnic cuando recién nos conocimos, el mismo donde tú y Ernesto solían pasear de la mano cuando venían a vernos a California. Tu padre entró al parque, recorrió una parte del camino, estacionó el coche y nos hizo señas de que lo siguiéramos. Nos llevó al sitio exacto que yo habría elegido, porque había ido allí muchas veces a rogar por ti: un arroyo rodeado de altas secuoyas, cuyas copas forman la cúpula de una catedral verde. Había una ligera niebla que difuminaba los contornos de la realidad; la luz pasaba apenas entre los árboles, pero las hojas brillaban, mojadas por el invierno. De la tierra se desprendía un aroma intenso de humus y eneldo. Nos detuvimos en torno a una minúscula laguna, hecha con rocas y troncos caídos. Ernesto, serio, demacrado, pero ya sin lágrimas, porque las había vertido todas, sostenía la urna de cerámica con tus cenizas. Yo había guardado unas pocas en una cajita de porcelana para tenerlas siempre en mi altar. Tu hermano, Nico, tenía a Alejandro en brazos, y tu cuñada, Celia, iba con Andrea, que todavía era un bebé, tapada con chales y prendida del pezón. Yo llevaba un ramo de rosas, que lancé, una a una, al agua. Después, todos nosotros, incluso Alejandro, de tres años, sacamos un puñado de cenizas de la urna y las dejamos caer sobre el agua. Algunas flotaron brevemente entre las rosas, pero la mayoría se fue al fondo, como arenilla blanca.

—¿Qué es esto?—preguntó Alejandro.

—Tu tía Paula—le dijo mi madre, sollozando.

—No parece—comentó, confundido.

Empezaré a contarte lo que nos ha pasado desde 1993, cuando te fuiste, y me limitaré a la familia, que es lo que te interesa. Tendré que omitir a dos hijos de Willie: Lindsay, a quien casi no conozco, sólo lo he visto una docena de veces y nunca hemos pasado de los saludos esenciales de cortesía, y Scott, porque él no quiere aparecer en estas páginas. Tú le tenías mucho cariño a ese mocoso solitario y flaco, con anteojos gruesos y pelos desgreñados. Ahora es un hombre de veintiocho años, parecido a Willie, que se llama Harleigh; él se puso Scott a los cinco años, porque le gustaba ese nombre, y lo usó por mucho tiempo, pero en la adolescencia recuperó el suyo.

La primera persona que me viene a la mente y al corazón es Jennifer, la única hija de Willie, quien a comienzos de ese año acababa de fugarse por tercera vez de un hospital, donde habían ido a parar sus huesos por una infección más, entre las muchas que había soportado en su corta vida. La policía no hizo el amago de buscarla, había demasiados casos como ése, y esa vez los contactos de Willie con la ley no sirvieron de nada. El médico, un filipino alto y discreto que la había salvado a golpe de perseverancia cuando llegó al hospital volada de fiebre, y que ya la conocía porque le había tocado atenderla en un par de ocasiones anteriores, le explicó a Willie que debía encontrar a su hija pronto o se moriría. Con dosis masivas de antibióticos durante varias semanas podría salvarse, dijo, pero había que evitar una recaída, que sería mortal. Estábamos en una sala de paredes amarillas, con sillas de plástico, afiches de mamografías y exámenes de sida, llena de pacientes esperando su turno para ser atendidos de urgencia. El médico se quitó los lentes redondos de marco metálico, los limpió con un pañuelo de papel y respondió a nuestras preguntas con prudencia. No sentía simpatía por Willie ni por mí, a quien tal vez confundía con la madre de Jennifer. A sus ojos éramos culpables, la habíamos descuidado, y ahora, demasiado tarde, acudíamos a él compungidos. Evitó darnos detalles, porque era información confidencial, pero Willie pudo averiguar que además de los huesos convertidos en astillas y de múltiples infecciones, su hija tenía el corazón a punto de reventar. Hacía nueve años que Jennifer se empeñaba en torear a la muerte.

La habíamos visto en el hospital durante las semanas anteriores, atada de las muñecas para que no se arrancara las sondas en los delirios de la fiebre. Era adicta a casi todas las drogas conocidas, desde el tabaco hasta la heroína; no sé cómo su cuerpo resistía tanto abuso. Como no lograron encontrar una vena sana para inyectar los medicamentos, optaron por colocarle una sonda en una arteria del pecho. A la semana sacaron a Jennifer de la unidad de cuidados intensivos y la llevaron a una sala de tres camas, que compartía con otras pacientes, donde ya no estaba amarrada y no la vigilaban como antes. Comencé a visitarla a diario y le llevaba lo . . .



Continues...

Excerpted from La Suma de los Dias by Isabel Allende Copyright © 2007 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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    It is sad to see the author of "The House of Spirits-La casa de los espíritus" and "Paula" perform so poorly. She has lost all her ability to narrate and her prose has lost any magical realism it ever had.

    In La suma de Los Días (The sum of Days) , Isabel Allende admits: "I had called my muse without results. Even the most horrendous muse had abandoned me." (p. 143). Later she tells us that she: remembered her career as a newspaperwoman: if she receives a subject and enough time to do research, she can write just about anything." (Page 144).

    This is the birth of "La suma de los Días," where Ms. Allende narrates her recent history, particularly the one that deals with her family in California, full of people and literary friends. Unfortunately for the reader, this is a terrible discourse of an author singing her praises, even insulting other writers-when her husband Willie decides to write a novel her comment is: "Anyone could say that writing a novel is like plating geraniums. I spend ten hours a day stuck on my chair trying to find the right phrase to be able to tell a more effective story. I suffer with my plot, I get involved with the characters, I do research, edit over and over and then I have to travel half the world promoting my books like a frustrated salesperson." (P. 281).

    Supposedly a sequel to Paula, Her technique is terrible, she changes from the second person to the third at will, confusing the reader. We don't know whhen she's talking to Paula or narrating her story. She also goes back and forth in time and several times she starts a story and tells you she'll finish it later.

    It is sad to see the author of "The House of Spirits-La casa de los espíritus" and "Paula" perform so poorly. She has lost all her ability to narrate and her prose has lost any magical realism it ever had.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    nada se compara con el amor de una madre

    este libro, al igual que Paula, es conmovedor... isabel allende le habla a su hija muerte y le cuenta todo lo que ha pasado en su vida desde su muerte...
    es un libro sobre el amor de una familia... y nos hace ver que todos tenemos problemas pero que estar unidos es lo mas importante siempre..

    she truly is an amazing writer..

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2008

    Para sentirlo!

    Este libro es leer la vida de mi autora favorita. Leer sus vivencias es sentirlas, ansiarlas, querer tenerlas. Su forma de escribir tan vivaz, autentica y sin enfado. Con ella se viven todos los sentimientos y se desplaza a la imaginacion de manera que su historia se mete a nuestros cuerpos.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2008

    Very good

    It was worderful, Isabel Allende open her heart and feelings and tell you to see life with good and bad things, no matter what. But if you want to understand the book you have to read Paula first.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2007

    la mejor

    Estaba esperando con ancias este libro ya que Isabel Allende es una de mis escritoras preferidas , ya habia leido todos sus libros pero esperaba este y al fin salio muchas gracias.

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    Posted August 24, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2010

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