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Paula

· The novel ·

Isabel Allende is the niece of one of the best loved figures of Chilean history. With more than 20 books behind her, she ranks among the best known women writers in the world. As well as her novels, autobiographical pages, short stories, recipes and books for children, her most difficult book, Paula, came out in 1994. It is a long farewell letter to her daughter who at the age of 28 died of porphyria, a rare and very serious disease which induced a coma that lasted for almost a year. Her mother, already a successful writer, was constantly at her bedside: first in the corridor of a hospital in Madrid, then in a hotel room and lastly by her bed in her house in California; She spoke and wrote ceaselessly to her daughter: “Listen Paula, I want to tell you a story, so that when you wake up you will not feel so bewildered”. If the doctors endeavoured (in vain) to save the young woman with their science, her mother instead entrusted herself to the only weapon she had: story-telling. For there is no definitive separation as long as the memory exists. Even when Paula drifted away as a mujer [woman] to become and then to return, an espíritu [spirit]. (@GiuliGaleotti)

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