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Isabel Allende: 1942—: Novelist

Novels Link United States And Latin America

Returning to the epic sweep of her debut in the late 1990s, however, seemed to bring Allende back to the roots of her creative impulses. Her novels Daughter of Fortune (Hija de la fortuna, 1999) and Portrait in Sepia (Retrato in sepia, 2001) featured characters who had appeared or been mentioned in The House of the Spirits, once again structuring her stories to encompass the experiences of several generations, and this time capturing the cultural interchange that has linked the western United States with Latin American countries. Publishers Weekly noted that "Allende expands her geographical boundaries in this sprawling, engrossing historical novel flavored by four cultures—English, Chilean, Chinese and American—and set during the 1849 California Gold Rush."

Daughter of Fortune landed on best-seller lists and brought Allende an important marker of popular U.S. acceptance and a virtual guarantee of substantial future sales—it was named as a pick title by the nationwide book club headed by talk-show host Oprah Winfrey. Allende became the first Hispanic author Winfrey had selected. Continuing to create new examples in her series of strong female characters, Isabel Allende remains in the process of redefining, for the general U.S. reading public as well as for Spanish-language readers, the image of Latin American fiction.

Selected writings

The House of the Spirits, 1982 (English trans. 1985).

Of Love and Shadows, 1984 (English trans. 1987).

Eva Luna, 1988.

Stories of Eva Luna, 1990 (English trans. 1991).

The Infinite Plan, 1993.

Paula, 1995 (nonfiction).

Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses, 1997 (English trans. 1998).

Daughter of Fortune, 1999.

Portrait in Sepia, 2001.



Dictionary of Hispanic Biography, Gale, 1996.

Feminist Writers, St. James, 1996.


People, April 20, 1998, p 47.

Publishers Weekly, August 23, 1999, p. 41; February 21, 2000, p. 20; July 16, 2001, p. 164.


Contemporary Authors Online. The Gale Group, 2001. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group. 2001. (http://www.galenet.com/servlet/BioRC).

—James M. Manheim

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: (Hugo) Alvar (Henrik) Aalto (1898–1976) Biography to Miguel Angel Asturias (1899–1974) BiographyIsabel Allende: 1942—: Novelist Biography - Worked As Advice Columnist, Based Novel On Pinochet Dictatorship, Novels Link United States And Latin America