I can’t believe this has escaped my radar until now, but one of my all-time favorite authors, Isabel Allende, has a new book out in April! Last night I gave away a copy of The House of the Spirits at a book swap, and I’m currently in the middle of Daughter of Fortune… It must be fate—a dose of Allende-esque magic—that I received word of the new book today.
Out on April 27, The Island Beneath the Sea is another historical epic – what Allende does best, in my opinion. The original Spanish version of the novel was released in August as La isla bajo el mar and is already a bestseller. From what I can gather from the pub copy, the novel will tell the story of Zarité, a slave fighting for freedom in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) at the end of the 18th Century. Her owner will ultimately take her to New Orleans.
Note that the jacket image I’ve posted is of the Spanish edition of the novel, published by Knopf. The English edition will be published by HarperCollins. That jacket hasn’t yet been released.
The Island Beneath the Sea is Allende’s first novel since Inés of My Soul in 2006. In her review of that novel, BookPage reviewer Kelly Koepke wrote that Allende’s “singular talent for storytelling…grows stronger with each new work.” If The Island Beneath the Sea only lives up to Allende’s past work (marked by dreamy, detailed and emotional descriptions of character and place), then we’re all in for a treat.
So far, the novel seems to have healing powers — at least for the author. In an interview with the Latin American Herald Tribune, Allende said that a stomach ailment convinced her she had cancer as she was writing The Island Beneath the Sea. “I went from one doctor to another and no one could cure me,” she said. “When I finished the book, the symptoms went away and so far [they haven’t returned].”
Related in BookPage: Read a 2003 interview with Allende, “a gifted storyteller who forges an enchanting amalgam of memory and imagination.”
Will you be reading The Island Beneath the Sea? What is your favorite book by Allende?