Portrait in Sepia

15 01 2006

Author: Isabel Allende

This is a book of its own kind. Truly exquisite and rich in detail, this story of an young woman Aurora del Valle leaves one with rich emotional feeling. Portrait in Sepia, as a story talks about Aurora’s quest for her roots and describes in detail about a family history and the intimate secrets woven from memory.

Aurora del Valle suffers a brutal incident, i.e., the death of her grand father which makes an indelible impression on her character. Raised by her ambitious grandmother, Paulina del Valle, she grows up in a privileged environment, yet she could never find an answer to the tormenting nightmares which never left her since her childhood. She develops an eye and observation for reality, being an exceptional photographer herself. Betrayed by her husband, she decides to explore the mystery of her past and eventually discovers her roots and destiny.

Coming to the characters, One can’t miss the mention of the powerful women in Aurora’s life: her two grandmothers Paulina del Valle and Eliza, Nivea, her tutor Senorita Pineta, her mother-in-law Dona Elvira. These characters share the strength of will, zest of life, disdain for conformity and desire for independence. Aurora is equally surrounded by impressive men: her grandfather, Tao Ch’ien, her uncle Severo; Williams, her grandmother’s second husband; and Ivan Redovic, the man who becomes her lifelong companion. The importance of love gets emphasized in this novel interlaced with self-discovery.

What makes this book truly unique is the rich colorful detail, the complex interlacing of the emotions, intimate observations on the human character and strong family ties. Set towards the end of nineteenth century in Chile, this novel explores the complex culture of that times at different regions like China Town, San Francisco and Chile. Intriguing and engaging, this book made a perfect read over a weekend for me!



One response

9 01 2008

You don’t read books … you eat them :)… read Short history of nearly everything (if you haven’t read it so far)

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