Wednesday, June 9, 2010

1st Random Summer Giveaway

Throughout the summer I am going to randomly giveaway some cool stuff around these parts! First off is a read once, but in excellent condition, copy of Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende.

Description from Isabel Allende has established herself as one of the most consummate of all modern storytellers, a reputation that is confirmed in her novel Portrait in Sepia. Allende offers a compelling saga of the turbulent history, lives and loves of late 19th-century Chile, drawing on characters from her earlier novels, The House of Spirits and Daughter of Fortune.

The book's heroine is Aurora del Valle, who "came into the world one Tuesday in the autumn of 1880, in San Francisco". As Aurora sets out to retell her own history and that of her family, she admits "there are so many secrets in my family that I may never have time to unveil them all: truth is short-lived, watered down by torrents of rain". In typical Allende fashion, Portrait in Sepia is crammed with love, desire, tragedy and dark family secrets, all played out against the dramatic backdrop of revolutionary Chile. Aurora's mother is a Chilean-Chinese beauty, whilst her father is a dissolute scion of the wealthy and powerful del Valle family. At the heart of Aurora's slow, painful recreation of her childhood towers one of Allende's greatest fictional creations, the heroine's grandmother, Paulina del Valle. An "astute, bewigged Amazon with a gluttonous appetite", Paulina holds both the del Valle family and Allende's novel together, as she presides over Aurora's adolescence in a haze of pastries, taffeta and overweening love.

One of the most interesting aspects of the novel is Allende's decision to turn her heroine into a photographer, bringing together the written word and the photograph as a way of holding onto the past: "through photography and the written word I try desperately to conquer the transitory nature of my existence, to trap moments before they evanesce, to untangle the confusion of my past". There is little confusion in Allende's elegantly crafted and hugely enjoyable novel. --Jerry Brotton

Allende came to visit my college when I was an undergrad and she is SOOO fascinating. I seriously left the talk to go buy this book. It is wonderful and she is an excellent storyteller. She writes in Spanish and it is translated afterwards.

To enter: be a follower and leave a comment of who your favorite storyteller is!

This is open until Tuesday, June 15th. Winner will be announced next Wednesday the 16th!


Gracie said...

I'm interested to see how the translation affects the writing. Some translated books are so awkward, but others read so beautifully and simply.
My favorite story teller...sorry, totally Sid Fleischman. I'll never grow up! Haha!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I'm already a follower. :)

It's hard to pick a favorite story teller. Maybe Anita Shreve (although I haven't liked her more recent books as much as her past ones, like The Pilot's Wife). Or Richard Paul Evans. I like how he tends to start each chapter with an excerpt from a journal that the main character of the book is keeping.

Unknown said...

My favorite story teller is probably Margaret Atwood. She creates these whole worlds and you don't completely know what is going on until partway through the book.
amandarwest at gmaildotcom

Margie said...

I'm a new follower.
This book looks fascinating. Thanks for the giveaway.
One of my favorite storytellers is John Grisham.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Anonymous said...

I love Allende and am so jealous you were able to hear her speak!