'An autobiographical meditation on feminism, power and womanhood … Full of Isabel's wisdom and warm words' - Grazia
'In her small, potent polemic . . . Isabel Allende writes about the toxic effects of "machismo", combining wit with anger as she picks apart the patriarchy' - Independent
'Allende has everything it takes: the ear, the eye, the mind, the heart, the all-encompassing humanity' - New York Times
An Independent, Guardian and Grazia Highlight for 2021
The wise, warm, defiant new book from literary legend Isabel Allende – a meditation on power, feminism and what it means to be a woman
When I say that I was a feminist in kindergarten, I am not exaggerating.
As a child, Isabel Allende watched her mother, abandoned by her husband, provide for her three small children. As a young woman coming of age in the late 1960s, she rode the first wave of feminism. She has seen what has been accomplished by the movement in the course of her lifetime. And over the course of three marriages, she has learned how to grow as a woman while having a partner, when to step away, and the rewards of embracing one's sexuality.
So what do women want? To be safe, to be valued, to live in peace, to have their own resources, to be connected, to have control over their bodies and lives, and above all, to be loved. On all these fronts, there is much work to be done, and this book, Allende hopes, will 'light the torch of our daughters and granddaughters with mine. They will have to live for us, as we lived for our mothers, and carry on with the work still left to be finished.'
'Her thoughts, language and ideas traverse fluidly through ideas of gender, historic injustices, her marriages and bodily experiences and literary references . . . Allende's love for women is palpable' - Sydney Morning Herald
Allende (A Long Petal of the Sea) presents a rich and intimate account of her lifelong commitment to feminism. For Allende, feminism is "a philosophical posture and a rising against male authority." She further clarifies that patriarchy is "stony," while feminism is fluid and "like the ocean, never stays quiet." The book's biographical details include Allende's youthful fight for equality in sports; her early years as a journalist in Chile in the 1960s and '70s; profiles of her beloved mother and chauvinist stepfather; and a tribute to legendary literary agent Carmen Balcells ("my mentor and my friend"), who helped Allende enter the male-dominated world of Latin American literature with the publication of her debut novel, The House of the Spirits, in 1982. Allende also memorializes her daughter, Paula, who died at age 29, and describes the foundation she started in Paula's honor to "invest in the power of vulnerable women and girls." Allende also discusses her three marriages and proudly takes on the mantle of "emboldened" grandmother: "We have nothing to lose and therefore are not easily scared." This spirited call for women to continue fighting for "a joyful world" will resonate with Allende's many fans.