My Invented Country

Isabel Allende

Just three when her parents divorced, Isabel Allende was raised in her grandparents’ home in Chile. She left school at 16; and married Miguel Frías at 19. She then juggled her work as a journalist, editor, advice columnist and television interviewer with looking after her two children. But when her cousin the Chilean president Salvador Allende was assassinated in 1973 in Pinochet’s right-wing military coup, her life changed profoundly. It was too dangerous to stay in Chile; and she, her husband, and their two children fled to Venezuela. During her impoverished exile, she started writing ‘The House of the Spirits’. Based on her memories of her family and the political upheaval in her native country, it became an international bestseller and everything changed again…

Reviews of My Invented Country

  • ‘Allende’s writing is so vivid we smell the countryside, hear the sounds, see the bright birds, the scorched earth, smell and even taste the soft fruit.’ The Times

    ‘Allende has a gift for conversational writing and a sharp sense of humour…I very much enjoyed this visit to the other Chile, that half-remembered country of her imagination.’ New Statesman

    ‘Allende is incapable of telling a bad story. She writes of her own experience with a kind of wild candour. Her heroically sustained narrative, her lovingly prepared plots and surprise inventions explode in an exaltation.’ Independent

    ‘Lucid, original and expounded with an unquestionable sense of humor…part essay and part autobiography…When Allende poses sweeping general truths, she leaves room for argument…But the book gets my undivided attention when it expounds on the relationship of the author to that country of hers, invented, imaginary, fictional, to the story of her family, which is itself invented memory, and to her vocation as a narrator…It will provoke curiosity. And that is where everything begins.’ LA Times