Island Beneath the Sea: Book summary and reviews of Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende

Island Beneath the Sea

A Novel

by Isabel Allende

Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende X
Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
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  • Published in USA  May 2010
    464 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

Born a slave on the island of Saint-Domingue, Zarite - known as Tete - is the daughter of an African mother she never knew and one of the white sailors who brought her into bondage. Though her childhood is one of brutality and fear, Tete finds solace in the traditional rhythms of African drums and in the voodoo loas she discovers through her fellow slaves.

When twenty-year-old Toulouse Valmorain arrives on the island in 1770, it's with powdered wigs in his baggage and dreams of financial success in his mind. But running his father's plantation, Saint Lazare, is neither glamorous nor easy. It will be eight years before he brings home a bride -- but marriage, too, proves more difficult than he imagined. And Valmorain remains dependent on the services of his teenaged slave.

Spanning four decades, Island Beneath the Sea is the moving story of the intertwined lives of Tete and Valmorain, and of one woman's determination to find love amid loss, to offer humanity though her own has been battered, and to forge her own identity in the cruellest of circumstances.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Demand will be high for this transporting, remarkably topical novel of men and women of courage risking all for liberty." - Booklist

"Starred Review. This timely and absorbing novel is another winning Allende story filled with adventure, vivid characters, and richly detailed descriptions of life in the Caribbean at that time." - Library Journal

"The effect of such display of research is a novel that is as inert as a history textbook, much like, oddly enough John Updike's Terrorist, a novel that revealed an author who studied a voluminous amount of facts without learning a single truth." - Publishers Weekly

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Reader Reviews

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Amber

Great read
I really enjoyed Island Beneath the Sea. Isabel Allende painted a detailed picture of 19th century St Domingue (now Haiti). Although this is book is fiction, the story of a woman slave during this period was realistic. I learned much about the history of Haiti and the slave rebellion. Absolutely beautiful book, I will likely read it all over again.

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Author Information

Isabel Allende Author Biography

Isabel Allende Llona (born in Lima, Peru, on 2 August 1942) is a Chilean writer with American citizenship. Allende, whose works sometimes contain aspects of the "magic realist" tradition, is famous for novels such as The House of the Spirits (La casa de los espíritus, 1982) and City of the Beasts (La ciudad de las bestias, 2002), which have been commercially successful. Allende has been called "the world's most widely read Spanish-language author". In 2004, Allende was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2010, she received Chile's National Literature Prize.

Allende's novels are often based upon her personal experience and pay homage to the lives of women, while weaving together elements of myth and realism. She has ...

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Name Pronunciation
Isabel Allende: Ees-abel Ay-enday (or ä-YEN-d?)

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