The Word

The Word

Isabel Allende

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The BBC World Service is dedicating Thursday 15th of May to the Amazon.

The Amazon Paradox focuses on the economic and environmental state of the region.

As part of this special day, The Word is joined by Isabel Allende, the Chilean-born novelist.

She talks to Harriett Gilbert about her latest work, the second part of her autobiography, 'The Sum of Our Days'.

She also talks about how the Amazon inspired one of her novels.

Isabel Allende

Isabel was born in Peru, where her Chilean diplomat father was posted at the time.

She had an uprooted life as child, shuttling back and forth between Chile, Bolivia, and Lebanon.

In 1973, when her second cousin, President Salvador Allende, died during a coup, Isabel left Chile for good.

She moved to live and work in Venezuela.

It was there, eight years later, that she started writing 'The House of the Spirits', which was based on her Chilean childhood.

The novel launched her career as a writer and she went on to win literary awards all over the world.

Her books have been translated into more than 27 languages and have become global bestsellers.

Isabel now lives in San Francisco, in California, with her second husband, Willie Gordon.

The Sum Of Our Days

Her latest piece of work is effectively a sequel to 'Paula', the bitter-sweet memoir Isabel wrote for her daughter, who died in 1992 at the age of 28.

It starts where Paula's life ends and covers the recent thirteen years of Isabel's family in California.

Isabel addresses the book to her daughter, telling her what has happened to the family since she died.

She keeps her up-to-date with the doings of her brother, Nico, her nieces and nephews, Willie's children, and the many others who move in and out of their ever-open house.

She shares her thoughts on love, marriage, motherhood, infidelity and addiction.

Listen to Isabel talking to Harriet about her moving, drama packed family saga.

First broadcast 13th May 2008.