Cover image for Portrait in sepia
Title:
Portrait in sepia
Author:
Allende, Isabel.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Retrato en sepia. English
Publication Information:
[New York, N.Y.] : Harper Audio, [2001]

℗2001
Physical Description:
10 audio discs (12 hrs.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Summary:
"With her earliest memories erased by a brutal trauma, Aurora del Valle is raised amid great wealth in Chile by her shrewd, commanding grandmother. But her nights are tormented by a nightmare set in San Francisco's Chinatown. Now, reaching womanhood and thrust into a marriage that quickly leaves her disillusioned, she begins a search for her missing years and unwinds a twisted saga linking three generations of a powerful family to a courageous Chinese physician and Eliza Sommers, a protagonist of Allende's Daughter of fortune, in a tale that explores the complexity of passion, the power of memory, and a woman's emerging self."--Container sleeve.
General Note:
Unabridged.

Compact disc.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
1280 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 8.8 21.0 55138.

Reading Counts RC High School 9 24 Quiz: 28512 Guided reading level: NR.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780694526543
Format :
Audiobook on CD

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
East Aurora Library XX(1141990.12) Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks
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Summary

Summary

Completing the trilogy that includes the bestselling novels Daughter of Fortune and The House of the Spirits, Portrait in Sepia is a stunning story about memory and family secrets, set at the end of the 19th century, featuring the colorful and intrepid del Valle family. Unabridged. 10 CDs.


Author Notes

Isabel Allende was born in 1942 in Lima, Peru, the daughter of a Chilean diplomat. When her parents separated, young Isabel moved with her mother to Chile, where she spent the rest of her childhood. She married at the age of 19 and had two children, Paula and Nicolas. Her uncle was Salvador Allende, the president of Chile. When he was overthrown in the coup of 1973, she fled Chile, moving to Caracas, Venezuela.

While living in Venezuela, Allende began writing her novels, many of them exploring the close family bonds between women. Her first novel, The House of the Spirits, has been translated into 27 languages, and was later made into a film. She then wrote Of Love and Shadows, Eva Luna, and The Stories of Eva Luna, all set in Latin America. The Infinite Plan was her first novel to take place in the United States. In Paula, Allende wrote her memoirs in connection with her daughter's illness and death. She delved into the erotic connections between food and love in Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses.

In addition to writing books, Allende has worked as a TV interviewer, magazine writer, school administrator, and a secretary at a U.N. office in Chile. She received the 1996 Harold Washington Literacy Award. She lives in California. Her title Maya's Notebook made The New York Times Best Seller List in 2013.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This is a sequel to the author's best-selling and critically applauded Daughter of Fortune (1999), but it falls a little short of attaining that novel's artistry and accessibility. But no book by Allende is anything less than enjoyable. Once again, she artfully and authentically evokes the nineteenth century in her native Chile and in California, her current residence. In Chile, it is a time of economic expansion as well as war. Chile is skirmishing with neighboring Peru and Bolivia and is also enmeshed in civil war. In California, these are the post-gold rush days, and San Francisco teems and thrives. The previous novel introduced readers to Eliza Sommers, who was adopted as a child by two residents of the British colony in the Chilean city of Valparaiso. Raised in privileged circumstances, Eliza nevertheless got pregnant and followed her lover to California. Now, in the sequel, Allende takes up the threads of the story to weave the tale of Aurora del Valle, Eliza's granddaughter. Aurora grew up unclear about certain major details of her life--for instance, the true identity of her father--but eventually the pieces she needs to know to understand her heritage fall into place. Although the plot is not as compelling as in the previous novel, Portrait in Sepia is still an atmospheric, character-rich historical yarn. --Brad Hooper


Publisher's Weekly Review

HIn this third work concerning the various and intertwining lives of members of a Chilean family, Allende uses the metaphor of photography as memory. "Each of us chooses the tone for telling his or her own story; I would like to choose the durable clarity of a platinum print, but nothing in my destiny possesses that luminosity. I live among diffuse shadings, veiled mysteries, uncertainties; the tone for telling my life is closer to that of a portrait in sepia," declares Aurora del Valle, protagonist of the tale. Here, Allende picks up where 1999's Daughter of Fortune left off, and, in the course of her chronicles, mentions personages who were realized in her 1987 masterpiece, House of the Spirits. Like her other novels, Portrait in Sepia spans nearly 50 years and covers wars, love affairs, births, weddings and funerals. Rich and complex, this international, turn-of-the-century saga does not disappoint. The book opens as 30-year-old Aurora remembers her own birth, in the Chinatown of 1880 San Francisco. She tells of those present: her maternal, Chilean-English grandmother, Eliza; her grandfather Tao (a Chinese medic); and her mother, Lynn, a beloved beauty who dies during Aurora's birth. Realizing she is getting ahead of herself, Aurora backtracks, inviting the reader to be patient and listen to the events surrounding her life, from 1862 to 1910. Through Aurora, Allende exercises her supreme storytelling abilities, of which strong, passionate characters are paramount. Most memorable is Aurora's paternal grandmother, Paulina del Valle, an enormous woman who eats pastries and runs her trading company with equally reckless abandon. Like Paulina, Allende attacks her subject with gusto, making this a grand installment in an already impressive repertoire. Major ad/promo; 7-city author tour. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

If you liked The House of the Spirits and Daughter of Fortune, you will no doubt love Allende's new work, which completes the trilogy. Here, young Aurora de Valle strains against her restrictive upbringing. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Portrait in Sepia Chapter One I came into the world one Tuesday in the autumn of 1880, in San Francisco, in the home of my maternal grandparents. While inside that labyrinthine wood house my mother panted and pushed, her valiant heart and desperate bones laboring to open a way out to me, the savage life of the Chinese quarter was seething outside, with its unforgettable aroma of exotic food, its deafening torrent of shouted dialects, its inexhaustible swarms of human bees hurrying back and forth. I was born in the early morning, but in Chinatown the clocks obey no rules, and at that hour the market, the cart traffic, the woeful barking of caged dogs awaiting the butcher's cleaver, were beginning to heat up. I have come to know the details of my birth rather late in life, but it would have been worse not to discover them at all, they could have been lost forever in the cracks and crannies of oblivion. 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. My maternal grandparents welcomed me with emotion -- even though according to several witnesses I was ugly as sin -- and placed me at my mother's breast, where I lay cuddled for a few minutes, the only ones I was to have with her. Afterward my uncle Lucky blew his breath in my face to pass his good luck on to me. His intention was generous and the method infallible, because at least for these first thirty years of my life, things have gone well. But careful! I don't want to get ahead of myself. This is a long story, and it begins before my birth; it requires patience in the telling and even more in the listening. If I lose the thread along the way, don't despair, because you can count on picking it up a few pages further on. Since we have to begin at some date, let's make it 1862, and let's say, to choose something at random, that the story begins with a piece of furniture of unlikely proportions. Paulina del Valle's bed was ordered from Florence the year following the coronation of Victor Emmanuel, when in the new kingdom of Italy the echoes of Garibaldi's cannon shots were still reverberating. It crossed the ocean, dismantled, in a Genoese vessel, was unloaded in New York in the midst of a bloody strike, and was transferred to one of the steamships of the shipping line of my paternal grandparents, the Rodriguez de Santa Cruzes, Chileans residing in the United States. It was the task of Captain John Sommers to receive the crates marked in Italian with a single word: naiads. That robust English seaman, of whom all that remains is a faded portrait and a leather trunk badly scuffed from infinite sea journeys and filled with strange manuscripts, was my great-grandfather, as I found out recently when my past finally began to come clear after many years of mystery. I never met Captain John Sommers, the father of Eliza Sommers, my maternal grandmother, but from him I inherited a certain bent for wandering. To that man of the sea, pure horizon and salt, fell the task of transporting the Florentine bed in the hold of his ship to the other side of the American continent. He had to make his way through the Yankee blockade and Confederate attacks, sail to the southern limits of the Atlantic, pass through the treacherous waters of the Strait of Magellan, sail into the Pacific Ocean, and then, after putting in briefly at several South American ports, point the bow of his ship toward northern California, that venerable land of gold. He had precise orders to open the crates on the pier in San Francisco, supervise the ship's carpenter while he assembled the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, taking care not to nick the carvings, install the mattress and ruby-colored canopy, set the whole construction on a cart, and dispatch it at a leisurely pace to the heart of the city. The coachman was to make two complete turns around Union Square, and another two -- while jingling a little bell -- before the balcony of my grandfather's concubine, before depositing it at its final destination, the home of Paulina del Valle. This fanfaronade was to be performed in the midst of the Civil War, when Yankee and Confederate armies were massacring each other in the South and no one was in any mood for jokes or little bells. John Sommers fulfilled the instructions cursing, because during months of sailing that bed had come to symbolize what he most detested about his job: the whims of his employer, Paulina del Valle. When he saw the bed displayed on the cart, he sighed and decided that that would be the last thing he would ever do for her. He had spent twelve years following her orders and had reached the limits of his patience. That bed still exists, intact. It is a weighty dinosaur of polychrome wood; the headboard is presided over by the god Neptune surrounded by foaming waves and undersea creatures in bas-relief, and the foot, frolicking dolphins and cavorting sirens. Within a few hours, half of San Francisco had the opportunity to appreciate that Olympian bed. My grandfather's amour, however, the one to whom the spectacle was dedicated, hid as the cart went by, and then went by a second time with its little bell. "My triumph lasted about a minute," Paulina confessed to me many years later, when I insisted on photographing the bed and knowing all the details. "The joke backfired on me. I thought everyone would make fun of Feliciano, but they turned it on me. I misjudged. Who would have imagined such hypocrisy? In those days San Francisco was a hornet's nest of corrupt politicians, bandits, and loose women. . ." Portrait in Sepia . Copyright © by Isabel Allende. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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