It’s been a long time since I’ve had a book in my hands that I feel I must savor (the last book that made me feel that way was It by Stephen King) but this time, from the Upstairs Library, I got Eva Luna by Isabel Allende and I am captivated, inching slowly to catch the nuance of the narration in each chapter like exotic spices blending together for a perfect dish.
Although I am still in the first few chapters I already feel like I could get lost and be transported into the story, buying a one-way ticket to that place somewhere in the Caribbean and never coming back to the harsh reality of cement pathwalks and grey concrete jungles of my present life (cynical laughter from me at this point).
Isabel Allende’s writing is like comfort food, something that soothes my agitated soul… her narrative warms my bones like good heating in a cold spring morning, soft and warm like a fuzzy blanket.
Her way of describing things engages all the senses — tactile, auditory, visual, olfactory, and gustatory. My head is steeped with the pictures she uses to make people see what is going on or how things are for the characters.
And Eva Luna, the narrator and main character in the story, is just lovable… for her eccentricities and view about life.
Listen to her introduce herself:
My name is Eva, which means “life,” according to a book of names my mother consulted. I was born in the back room of a shadowy house, and grew up amidst ancient furniture, books in Latin, and human mummies, but none of those things made me melancholy, because I came into the world with a breath of the jungle in my memory. My father, an Indian with yellow eyes, came from the place where the hundred rivers meet; he smelled of lush growing things and he never looked directly at the sky, because he had grown up beneath a canopy of trees, and light seemed indecent to him. Consuelo, my mother, spent her childhood in an enchanted region where for centuries adventurers have searched for the city of pure gold the conquistadors saw when they peered into the abyss of their own ambitions. She was marked forever by that landscape, and in some way she managed to pass that sign on to me. (Eva Luna, p. 1; I. Allende)
When I finish this book, and I’m in no hurry, I still have two of Allende’s works waiting for me: The House of the Spirits and Of Love and Shadows. I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.
UPDATE: Finished the book already (I am a bit disappointed with the ending… sort of anticlimactic) and have gone more than halfway through The House of the Spirits. Still, reading Allende’s like listening to someone I know from the past recall the memories we’ve shared during childhood.