Paula

Isabel Allende

This book was written during the interminable hours the novelist Isabel Allende spent in the corridors of a Madrid hospital, in her hotel room and beside her daughter Paula’s bed during the summer and autumn of 1992. Faced with the loss of her child, Isabel Allende turned to storytelling, to sustain her own spirit and to convey to her daughter the will to wake up, to survive. The story she tells is that of her own life, her family history and the tragedy of her nation, Chile, in the years leading up to Pinochet’s brutal military coup.

Reviews of Paula

  • ‘Allende’s best work to date…she has everything it takes: the ear, the eye, the mind, the heart, the all-encompassing humanity.’ New York Times

    ‘Allende’s writing is so vivid we smell the countryside, hear the sounds, see the bright birds, smell and even taste the soft fruit. Moving through Paula’s last days, we enter that world, and share it, gladly, sadly, gratefully, and ultimately changed by the very reading of it.’ Julia Neuberger, The Times

    ‘This is a tender, moving and vivid record of a mother’s agony at the bedside of her daughter. “Paula” begins as a long letter as a way of giving her back the life that is ebbing away…the result is a mesmerizing story. In flawlessly rich prose Allende shares with us her most intimate feelings…an emotionally charged, spellbinding memoir.’ Washington Post

    ‘Allende brings the natural storytelling power so evident in her novels to this courageous testament. She shares her personal tragedy with a warmth and passion that make “Paula” exceptional.’ Sunday Express