I always imagined the art of writing romantically, ink-stained
fingertips and crumpled piles of paper about my feet. In reality,
my writing life is spent chasing a blinking cursor back and forth
across a computer screen.
However, I imagine Isabel Allende to be a writer in the rudimentary
sense of the word. Unlikely as it is, I picture her with plume, ink
pot and vellum, the light of a candle at her wrist.
Crafted around the pretense of a lover's request for a story untold
to any other, THE STORIES OF EVA LUNA by Isabel Allende is like
getting caught up in a love affair of the written word. A
collection of over twenty short stories, each tale unabashedly vies
for the reader's attention like the glittering gifts of competing
The first story, "Two Words," is a simple yet deeply satisfying
tale about a young woman, whose talents as griot and wordsmith
attract the attention of a crude and politically ambitious man.
"Walimai" is the story of a hunter, born to a tribe of people
indigenous to the rain forests and his journey into the "civilized"
world. "The Proper Respect" relays the often desperate measures a
ruthless couple take to climb the social ladder.
A writer's writer, able to inspire even the most despairing
would-be scribe to rediscover the power of words, Allende is also a
reader's writer, able to dispel all distraction until her
storytelling is done. Allende makes reference to
Scheherazade of A THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS fame, when in fact, it is
Allende herself who is the modern embodiment of that long ago
character brought to life --- even if she lives in California and
uses a computer (or at least a typewriter) in lieu of a plumed pen
Never straying from themes of intimacy, dignity, passion and love,
the stories that Eva Luna create to sate her lover will sate the
reader as well. For ultimately, they have been designed
for your pleasure.
Reviewed by Zakia M. Carter on January 23, 2011