The Sum of Our Days

Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende has sold more than 50 million copies of her books worldwide. The most beloved and successful of her books, ‘The House of the Spirits’, was based on her Chilean childhood, and her autobiographical works include the deeply moving ‘Paula’ – a family history written at the bedside of her daughter while she lay in a coma – and the fascinating ‘My Invented Country’, which explored the events of her native Chile where she lived until Pinochet’s military coup. Now, in ‘The Sum of the Days’, we have Isabel describe in an exceptionally vivid, human and deeply personal way her life in California where she has lived for more than 25 years. The first page picks up from where Paula ends – her daughter never did wake up from her coma and died in 1992 – when Allende recounts spreading Paula’s ashes in her favourite part of the woods by their home. It is fair to say that Isabel has never recovered from losing her daughter but has managed to survive by keeping her husband, son, grandchildren as well as close friends – kindred spirits – central to her life. ‘The Sum of the Days’, based on Allende’s own journals and daily correspondence with her mother in Chile, reveals the author to be a dazzling, generous, warm and hysterically funny matriarch within her swirl of family and friends.

Reviews of The Sum of Our Days

  • ‘No amount of acrobatics can out do the absolute core of Allende’s talent: her gift for writing. She can bring even the most inert subjects to life, breathing vitality into them through her prose; if only books were people, her beloved daughter Paula would once again be alive and well.’ The Times

    ‘The reader is swept along by the energy of her prose, her brilliance as a story-teller, and the sheer force and warmth of personality.’ Michael Jacobs, Independent

    ‘If she wrote Paula as a redemptive exercise in grieving, “The Sum of Our Days” is written in the spirit of thanksgiving. Allende looks on with powerless awe as her grandchildren grow up and out of her control. As ever, her writing glows with generosity and affection for all those around her.’ Sunday Telegraph

    ‘Full of life and candid self-revelation “The Sum of Our Days” is a fine vivacious and inspiring memoir about moving on from tragedy and making life bright again.’ Melissa Katsoulis, FT

    ‘Positively bursting with love, hilarity and crazy good times: sex, drugs and lesbian Buddhist monks abound in this rollicking tale of the Allende clan’s life in their Californian castle, and you’ll feel a hundred times richer for reading.’ Sunday Telegraph, ‘Summer Reading’