Isabel Allende’s “Beyond Winter”: a story of friendship and redemption

Beyond winter, the new novel by Chilean-American writer Isabel Allende, is deeply rooted in the news. Through a beautiful story of friendship and redemption, he tackles the themes of identity and migration. The author portrays the fragile status of Latin American immigrants, especially those fleeing inhuman living conditions in Guatemala.

Lucia Maraz, a Chilean expatriate in Canada during the Pinochet dictatorship, still bears the deep scars of her past. During the first years of the regime, her brother was reported missing and she never recovered. She also faced divorce and cancer.

Lucia always kept moving forward and ended up at New York University as a visiting professor. Settled in the basement of the brownstone house of a somewhat gruff colleague, Professor Bowmaster, she is entering a new chapter in her life.

Grumpy, on the fringes of society, Richard Bowmaster has gone through several griefs and, to keep his sanity, has imposed a reassuring routine that he never deviates from. When a monster snowstorm rages over New York City, a trivial collision with another vehicle will catapult it into another universe. The young woman driving the other vehicle is an undocumented Guatemalan immigrant. He asks Lucia to help him … and what young Evelyn Ortega reveals to them will bind their destiny forever.

Brooklyn and its history

In this new novel, we find all the beauty and depth of Isabel Allende’s pen, her humanity, her deep values, her evocative power. The book, she explains, was born during a family reunion in Brooklyn, where her stepdaughter comes from. “Someone suggested that I write about Brooklyn, about this neighborhood where the Mafia was,” she said in an interview.

“I didn’t pay too much attention to it, because it’s not my way of working. But when I started writing on January 8, everything came to mind: Brooklyn, the crimes and the young women I knew through my foundation. “

Beyond winter It’s not autobiographical, she says, though it’s still very personal. “I created the character of Lucia based on my journalist friends who remained in Chile after the military coup. The brother of one of them disappeared during the events. ” Richard Bowmaster’s character, however, is inspired by his brother Juan, “who is exactly like him.”

Homeless

Isabel Allende has spoken about her family and the military coup in several of her books, but this time she denounces through the character of Evelyn Ortega the miserable working conditions of many undocumented Latin American women.

“I have a foundation and we work a lot with refugees. Most come from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Many come from Guatemala because the people there are desperate. The country is ruled by drug traffickers, drug trafficking, gangs, corrupt police, a completely ineffective government and a long history of abuse of indigenous people. “

Vulnerable people

“I love Evelyn’s story because it describes, in a way, what happens to people without papers. They are abused in their work because they are not represented. “

“These people are very vulnerable and I wanted to tell their story, which is so common these days. Who would want to leave their country, their family, their land, and why? These people want to save their skins. This is what people don’t understand. ”

  • The American writer of Chilean origin Isabel Allende has been a resounding success since the publication of her first novel, The house of spirits.
  • His books have been translated into 35 languages ​​and have sold over 65 million copies worldwide.
  • She was decorated in 2018 by the Foundation with the National Book Award for her outstanding contribution to American letters.
  • She lives in California.
  • She set up the Isabel Allende Foundation.

EXTRACT

The Right launched a campaign of terror: Chile would end up like Cuba, the Soviets would kidnap children to brainwash them, and churches would be destroyed, nuns would be raped and parish priests would be executed, property would be snatched from their legitimate masters. to abolish private property, and finally, the humblest peasant would leave the feathers of his last hen there and be taken into slavery in a Siberian gulag. “

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