Radikal Readings: My Invented Country

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I’ve always had roots. Growing up in one area, and in one country with almost my entire extended family. That may lend to my fascination with those who didn’t have the same fate. In Isabel Allende’s case, she was born in Chile, moved frequently, and after 1973 left Chile permanently, never to live there full time again.

My Invented Country, Allende’s third memoir, is a tribute to and filled with longing for a Chile that Allende invented in her head after not having lived there for 30 years. It’s not really a traditional memoir, it’s more filled with nostalgia for her life in Chile pre-Pinochet’s rule. It’s wry, humorous at times, and read more like a story being told to you by a family member.

If you’re looking to read a traditional memoir, this isn’t it. However, it is a nostalgic, at times sad, and at times fun look at a person’s very personal and deep connection to a country they were exiled from for so long. Allende is a wonderful writer and this book gives you a sense of the person behind the majestic novels.

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