Isabel Allende - Wikipedia
Chilean author Isabel Allende is renowned for writing international bestsellers in , Allende met and married her second husband, Willie Gordon, of two of Gordon's children from a previous relationship, as well as the. They want a connection with a man the way Paula was connected to her husband. .. who is based on my husband, Willie Gordon, I got to know him much better. Isabel Allende is a Chilean writer. Allende, whose works sometimes contain aspects of the In her youth, she read widely, particularly the works of William Shakespeare. She lived in Spain for two months, then returned to her marriage. in , Allende met her second husband, (twice divorced) attorney Willie Gordon.
But the rest — everything changed. And I think that I did pretty well and that I will never fall in love again. However, last year, a man in New York heard me talking on the radio.
He was driving to Boston and he pulled over to hear the program. He was so impressed that he emailed my office. And we started emailing every single day for five or six months. We finally met in October and we fell in love and we have a very profound relationship. Of course, he is in New York and I am in California, but the plan is to get together and I never thought that this could happen to me again.
But you see, even at 74 you can find love. What I have found out, what I have learned is, that there is no age for passion or for love. You can be a teenager, you can be fifty years old or you can be eighty. That is fantastic news, very reassuring.
Interview: Isabel Allende | Books | The Guardian
There is hope always. And I realised that I am much happier when I am in love. I thought I could be really happy alone and I can. But this is much better — to share my life with someone. What is your perspective on loss in life and on letting go? I learned that the hard way. Inwhen I turned 50 years old, my daughter Paula fell into a coma and eventually a year later she died. And during that long year, I took care of her, and day by day I had to let go of everything. I thought I could control the situation, I thought I could make her better, I thought I could make her comfortable.
But there was very little that I could do. I had to let go all forms of control and surrender to the fact that she was going to die. And when she died I had to let go of the last things about her and just keep the spirit and the memories. That was the hardest lesson in my life but it was something that I have been able to use over and over. When I separated from Willie, it was so easy for me to let go of the big house, of all the furniture, of the paintings, of Willie, of the old friends, so for me now — I feel very free.
I feel that I am not attached to anything material and to very few people. In your TEDx talk, you say that you intend to live passionately. How do you keep the passion alive and is there a fine line between passions and addiction?
And the same I do with love and with relationships. I am not interested in acquaintances — I want friends, I am not interested in relatives — I want people who are really close to me, whom I can trust blindly, for whom I would sacrifice anything to help them.
Those are the relationships I am interested in. In my work, I am passionate about every book I write. That is the way I think about life.
And very fortunately for me, age is not a factor to have enthusiasm for life. So, when I did the TED talk and I talked about living passionately, it was not only about love, it was about everything else I do.
And I think that the fact that I could fall in love again means that I have an open heart and that I have passion for everyday life. Olga Murray, founder of the Nepal Youth Opportunity Foundation Do you have any small practical tips for keeping the passion alive in the everyday life? I would say that the first thing is to be healthy.
It is possible but it is hard. So, if you have a good health, my only tip is — get out there! Get out of yourself. Stop looking at yourself, looking at your own little world, and participate in the world outside. Be out there, be of service, work in the community, be engaged with life, with news, with what happens with your neighbours, with your friends, with your family.
And that is how they get depressed, and how they become anxious and get old.
I know a woman, Olga Murray. She is 92 years old. She is the most passionate person I know. She has a foundation that works with orphan children in Nepal, she travels every year — 6 months every year to Nepal, she runs the foundation. She has helped thousands of kids. And that is to live passionately at There is no age for this. You say you have been a feminist even before the word was invented and you have become one after having to witness how unhappy oppressed women are.
Women today have the word feminism. Do you think they are happier? I think we have achieved a lot. I was born in the 40s in Chile, in a very socially conservative and catholic society.
The state of women then was very different from the state of women now. Now we have a woman president. So things have changed and they have changed for the better in most countries.
However, still, women are oppressed. Women are still raped, exploited, abused in many ways in many countries. And there are places where they are considered almost as cattle, they have absolutely no standing in the society.
So, still, we have a lot of work to do. But already something has been achieved and that is due to feminism. I think that women have to fight for their own rights, no one is going to give them anything, you have to get it.
Now we have in the United States the president Trump, who is a woman hater. I didn't have the foggiest idea, but I continued writing like a maniac until dawn, when exhaustion defeated me and I crawled to my bed. And indeed, magic it was.
The following evening after dinner, again I locked myself in the kitchen to write. I wrote every night, oblivious to the fact that my grandfather had died. The text grew like a gigantic organism with many tentacles, and by the end of the year I had five hundred pages on the kitchen counter. It didn't look like a letter anymore. My first novel, The House of the Spiritshad been born. I had found the only thing that I really wanted to do: I was still unable to return to Chile.
The military dictatorship would last seventeen years. Meanwhile, the relationship with my husband had deteriorated completely. We were in Venezuela and not in Chile, so we could get a divorce. It was a friendly divorce, whatever that is. Love, Lust and Romance This is the part where I have to get personal and talk about romance.
My books force me to travel frequently.
My karma is to stumble from one place to another, like a wandering pilgrim. In l, while still living in Venezuela, I went on a lecture tour that took me from Iceland to Puerto Rico and to many climates in between, until I ended up in Northern California.
Little did I suspect that there my fate would change again. I met the man who was written in my destiny, as my mother would say. He was an American lawyer called William Gordon, who was introduced to me as the last heterosexual bachelor in San Francisco.
He had read my second novel and liked it. When he saw me, however, he was thoroughly disappointed. He likes tall blondes. After my speech we were both invited to a dinner party at an Italian restaurant. Willie was sitting in front of me, observing me with a puzzled expression. The combination of Frank Sinatra and spaghetti tutto mare had a predictable effect on me: I fell in lust. I had been living in chastity for a very long time—two or three weeks as I recall—so I took the initiative.
I asked him to tell me about his life. This trick always works, ladies! Ask any man to talk about himself and pretend to listen while you relax and enjoy your meal, and he will end up convinced that you are a smart and sexy gal. In this case, however, I did not have to pretend. Soon I realized I had stumbled upon one of those rare gems that storytellers are always looking for.
So I did what any normal Latin American female writer would have done: Well, I didn't marry him right away. It took some fine manipulation. First, he invited me to his house. I got nothing of the sort. There was so much dog crap in the garage that he had to pull back out so that I could step out of the car. His youngest son, a ten-year-old brat, greeted us with rubber bullets.
The dog, a golden retriever as hyperactive as the kid, placed his muddy paws on my shoulders and slurped my face. There were other pets as well: Lust does that to some people, it gives them a heroic attitude. I liked the man and I wanted to hear the rest of his story. He served a burnt chicken, we drank cheap California wine, and I will skip the rest. The next day, when he took me to the airport, I asked him politely if we had any sort of commitment.
He turned chalk-pale and his hands trembled so vigorously that he had to pull over. That day I took the plane, but a week later I was back without an invitation. I moved into his house and six months later he had to marry me because I pinned him against the wall.
The incredible life of Isabel Allende
The book is called The Infinite Planand it is the story of a flawed man with a big heart. Willie and I have been together for many years and our love has survived many ups and downs, great successes, and great loss. Paula In Decembermy daughter Paula, who had a rare genetic condition called porphyria, fell into a coma in Spain. Neglect in the intensive care unit resulted in severe brain damage and she ended up in a vegetative state. We took her home to California and cared for her until she died in my arms, a year later.
They say that there is no pain as great as that of losing a child. But shared grief did not bring Willie and me closer. We are strong and stubborn people; I suppose we could not admit that our hearts were broken. It took a long time and a lot of therapy for us to be able to embrace and cry together.
Grief was a long journey into the underworld—it was like walking alone in a dark tunnel. My way of walking through the tunnel was to write. Every morning I dragged myself out of bed and went to my office. Often the pain was unbearable, and I would stare at the screen for hours, incapable of writing a word.
Other times the sentences would just flow, as though dictated from the Beyond by Paula herself. A year later I was at the end of the tunnel. I could see light and I discovered, amazed, that I had written another book and that I didn't pray to die anymore.
I wanted to live. My book Paula is a memoir—the tragic story of the untimely death of a young woman. Mainly, however, it is a celebration of life. Two stories are intertwined in those pages: Her long agony gave me a unique opportunity to review my past.
For a whole year my life stopped completely. There was nothing to do, only to wait and remember. Slowly, I learned to see the patterns of my existence and asked myself all the fundamental questions: What is there at the other side of life?
Is it only night, silence, and solitude? What remains when there are no more desires, memories, or hope? I thought that my well of stories and the need to tell them had dried up forever. And then I remembered that I am a journalist by training and if I am given a subject and time to research, I can write about almost anything. Well, not sports or politics. I gave myself a subject as removed from grief as possible and ended up writing Aphroditea divagation about lust and gluttony, the only deadly sins that are worth the trouble.
The first symptom was an erotic dream. I dreamt that I placed a naked Antonio Banderas on a Mexican tortilla, slathered him with guacamole and salsa, rolled him up, and ate him.
The therapy of writing about food and love worked, and shortly after publishing Aphrodite, I started a novel about the California Gold Rush, called Daughter of Fortune. At sixteen Eliza follows her lover to California, where he has gone to seek his fortune in the Gold Rush. I thought I was writing a love story, but really this novel is about freedom, a recurrent theme in my life.
Like Eliza Sommers, I was determined from very early on to find my own way. That made me a feminist at a time and in a place where feminism was the equivalent of Satanic possession. Next came Portrait in Sepiawhich takes place in Chile during the second half of the nineteenth century. It is the story of Aurora del Valle, the granddaughter of Eliza Sommers.
Although not a sequel—it can be read independently—the book picks up several characters from Daughter of Fortune and from my first novel, The House of the Spirits. These three books can be considered a trilogy. Aurora del Valle suffers a trauma at a very early age and blocks out her past: Her quest is to unravel the mysteries of her life and the family secrets.
Portrait in Sepia is a novel about memory. Memory is a theme, like freedom, that is particularly relevant in my own life. I have been traveling always; I don't really belong anywhere. My roots are in my memory. Every book is a journey into the past, into the soul, and into memory. A historical novel is a fascinating endeavor. While writing the three novels of this trilogy I entered a time machine and went back tothen moved forward all the way to —a span of more than a hundred years.
Can you imagine the research this endeavor required? In I wrote a novel for children and young adults: City of the Beasts. It was so much fun! It is the story of Alexander Cold, a fifteen-year-old American boy who goes on a trip to the Amazon, where he meets a strange girl called Nadia Santos. Together they experience a magic adventure among Stone Age Indians. Two more books featuring the same protagonists followed: Kingdom of the Golden Dragon and Forest of the Pygmies. All fiction is ultimately autobiographical.
I write about love and violence, about death and redemption, about strong women and absent fathers, about survival. Most of my characters are outsiders, people who are not sheltered by society, who are unconventional, irreverent, defiant. Why I Write This is a summary of my life and my work.
Don't believe everything I say—I tend to exaggerate a bit. I am a writer because I was blessed with an ear for stories, an unhappy childhood, and a strange family. With relatives as weird as mine there is no need to invent anything. They alone provide all the material for magic realism. Literature has defined me. Word by word, page after page, I have invented this hyperbolic, flamboyant me.
Over the last twenty years, my friends, I have learned that only one thing is sure: Nothing makes my soul sing more than writing. It makes me feel young, strong, powerful, happy. It is as invigorating as making love with the perfect lover, which, in any case, is almost impossible at my age. From the fabric of life novels are made. A novel is a long and patient proposition, like embroidering a tapestry of many threads and colors.
I work by instinct, without knowing very well what I am doing, until one day I turn it over and look at the design. I never really end a book; I just give up. There is always more to tell: A story is a living creature with its own destiny, and my job is to allow it to tell itself. I enjoy the process of writing without thinking much of the final result. I love the time I spend alone and in silence in my study: A novel requires passion, patience, and dedication.
It is a total commitment, like falling in love. The first impulse that triggers the writing is always a profound emotion that has been with me for a long time. Time reveals the motivations and gives me enough distance, ambiguity, and irony to narrate it. It is difficult to write in the middle of the hurricane; it is preferable to recreate the story after the furious winds have passed and I can make some sense of the debris.
Struggle, loss, confusion, memory—these are the raw materials of my writing. For me, life becomes real when I write it. What I don't write is erased by the winds of oblivion. I forget a lot, my mind betrays me.
I can't recall places, names, dates, or faces, but I never forget a good story or a significant dream. Writing is a silent introspection, a journey to the dark caverns of memory and the soul.