A Long Petal of the Sea

A Long Petal of the Sea

A Novel

Large Print - 2020
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Random House, Inc.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of The House of the Spirits, this epic novel spanning decades and crossing continents follows two young people as they flee the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War in search of a place to call home.

“One of the most richly imagined portrayals of the Spanish Civil War to date, and one of the strongest and most affecting works in [Isabel Allende’s] long career.”—The New York Times Book Review

In the late 1930s, civil war grips Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. In order to survive, the two must unite in a marriage neither of them desires.

Together with two thousand other refugees, Roser and Victor embark for Chile on the SS Winnipeg, a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda: “the long petal of sea and wine and snow.” As unlikely partners, the couple embraces exile as the rest of Europe erupts in world war. Starting over on a new continent, they face trial after trial, but they will also find joy as they patiently await the day when they might go home. Through it all, their hope of returning to Spain keeps them going. Destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world, Roser and Victor will find that home might have been closer than they thought all along.

A masterful work of historical fiction about hope, exile, and belonging, A Long Petal of the Sea shows Isabel Allende at the height of her powers.

Praise for A Long Petal of the Sea

“Both an intimate look at the relationship between one man and one woman and an epic story of love, war, family, and the search for home, this gorgeous novel, like all the best novels, transports the reader to another time and place, and also sheds light on the way we live now.”—J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Saints for All Occasions

“This is a novel not just for those of us who have been Allende fans for decades, but also for those who are brand-new to her work: What a joy it must be to come upon Allende for the first time. She knows that all stories are love stories, and the greatest love stories are told by time.”—Colum McCann, National Book Award–winning author of Let the Great World Spin

Baker & Taylor
Sponsored by the poet Pablo Neruda to flee the violence of the Spanish Civil War, a pregnant widow and an army doctor unite in an arranged marriage, only to be swept up by the early days of World War II. Tour. (general fiction). Simultaneous.

Publisher: New York, New York :, Random House Large Print,, [2020]
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9780593172056
Branch Call Number: LP FIC ALL
Characteristics: 420 pages ;,24 cm.


From Library Staff

Suggested by Liza: "One of the most richly imagined portrayals of the Spanish Civil War to date, and one of the strongest and most affecting works in Isabel Allende's long career"- The New York Times Book Review.

From the critics

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Oct 20, 2020

book club - Marna Dec 2020

Oct 05, 2020

Readers meet Roser and Victor during the Spanish Civil War, then follow them into exile in Chile where they live the remaining years of their lives.

Loved this book, another perfect one for September’s Hispanic Heritage Month reading. Allende writes a beautiful story of unconventional love filled with sympathetic fictional and real-life characters. Chile’s famed poet Pablo Neruda plays a key role in Roser and Victor’s life—an irony that I began reading this book on the anniversary of his death. Many parallels to the years surrounding the election of her uncle Salvador Allende and this current time in US politics. Recommended.

Sep 12, 2020

Victor and Roser Dalmau, who leave their home in the brink of WWII, after much hardship and loss and suffering arrive in Chile and it becomes their home for many years. The couple were forced to marry in order to survive, and stay together as a form of family loyalty. Who they are as individuals, and who they come to be together is the heart of the story. Although this was a novel, the author explains how the events and historical characters are in fact real. The title of this story describes where Chile snuggles into South America and the Pacific Ocean. Isabel does an incredible job using descriptive writing as her descriptions are so vivid you can smell the ocean; see the vibrant colours; hear the voices of the country. Overall, this is a story about the Spanish war that leads to a migration. It’s another generational story rich with characters, relationships and history. I absolutely loved it. I appreciated the work that went into the research in order to produce such a well-written story. I would say that A Long Petal Of The Sea is a quite timely read as the author captures how immigrants and refugees affect a country’s culture and economy. Another reason why I did not give this story a higher rating was due to it being boring at times. Allende has times where she does a lot of recounting, more telling and less showing. Occasionally there were times where my mind drifted elsewhere while I was attempting to read. All in all though, I enjoyed reading A Long Petal of The Sea as the author incorporated a lot of figurative language, interesting historical events, and the true meaning behind the writing which is to show who we become upon reaching the other side, and allowing us to experience another’s pain. 4/5 stars
@Bookland of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

Aug 16, 2020

Isabel Allende is a beautiful writer. This book reads like an historical fiction. It traces the lives of two lovers in a complicated relationship from their exile from Spain during the civil war, to Chile, some time in Venezuela after the coup there, and then a return to Chile to live out their lives. I believe that Isabel is the niece of the Marxist leader who was elected in Chile, and then killed during the coup. She had a front-row seat for the terrible atrocities that took place in Chile. While it has politics at its base, this is a story about enduring love and relationships that last a lifetime.

Aug 04, 2020

Learned a lot about the Spanish Civil War and 20th Century Chile.
Think 'Forrest Gump' - a few central characters seem to be everywhere things are happening.
Well written and interesting if you're a fan of historical fiction.

CircMary Jul 04, 2020

The first part of the book was so gripping and detailed. The way she built up the characters had me hanging on every word. The second half didn’t have the same intensity and felt a little rushed. So I just couldn’t quite give it the 5 stars. But still a wonderful book. Reflecting on it a few days later, I was struck by how fascism can so easily raise its ugly head in the world - a chilling reminder for us today.

Mar 19, 2020

The title, A LONG PETAL OF THE SEA, refers to the country of Chile. It’s inspired by the writings of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (see Quotes) who, in addition to other historic figures like former Chilean President Salvador Allende and Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco, take part in the storyline. Spanning the years 1936-1994, this sweeping family drama takes place against periods of political turmoil and struggle in Spain and Chile. I learned a lot about Spanish and Chilean history and culture while reading this. The plot also deals with serious issues, including immigration and income inequality, that our world is still grappling with today. All in all, PETAL is a very commendable work by author Isabel Allende & well worth a read.

Mar 08, 2020

The Spanish Civil War, Franco, and great tie-in to Pablo Neruda provided the backdrop to an otherwise love and/or relationship story. The historic piece was well researched but got too embedded in itself and therefore missed a degree emotional connectedness to the romantic piece. The time and place and events are historically important but somehow was not easy for me to follow. I love what Allende attempted but was less successful than some of her other novels.

Mar 04, 2020

This book is probably going to be the best Historical Fiction title of the year. I for one read it in one sitting. The novel starts during the Spanish Civil war in the Nineteen Thirties and follows the Dalmau family from Spain to Chile. This leads to the history of Chile from the election of Allende to the coup and establishment of Pinochet as the leader of Chile. The book is a love story and shows how love can survive through the worst of times.I would call it a romantic historical novel which transcends genres. A must read regardless of whether you are an Isabel Allende fan or not.

Mar 03, 2020

This book invested my interest initially but about halfway through it was clear the author couldn't develop the characters and only finished with ramblings from one country to another. The people and places left me wanting more...

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Mar 19, 2020

“Pain is unavoidable, but suffering is optional.” - p. 254

Mar 19, 2020

“He told them that in Chile the social classes were like a mille-feuille cake, easy to reach the bottom but almost impossible to reach the top of, because money could not buy pedigree.” - p. 136

Mar 19, 2020

“None of them knew anything about Chile. Years later, Neruda was to define it as a long petal of sea and wine and snow… with a belt of black and white foam… but that would not have left the migrants any the wiser. On the map, it looked slender and remote.” - p. 113

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