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A Long Petal of the Sea

A Long Petal of the Sea

A Novel

Book - 2020
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"In the late 1930s, civil war gripped Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life irreversibly intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. In order to survive, the two must unite in a marriage neither of them wants, and together are sponsored by poet Pablo Neruda to embark on the SS Winnipeg along with 2,200 other refugees in search of a new life. As unlikely partners, they embrace exile and emigrate to Chile as the rest of Europe erupts in World War. Starting over on a new continent, their trials are just beginning. Over the course of their lives, they will face test after test. But they will also find joy as they wait patiently for a day when they are exiles no more, and will find friends in the most unlikely of places. Through it all, it is that hope of being reunited with their home that keeps them going. And in the end, they will find that home might have been closer than they thought all along"-- Provided by publisher
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 2020
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9781984820150
Characteristics: 318 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Largo pétalo de mar


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ontherideau May 08, 2021

Based on political history in South America, books like this lead me to online images of places in the story.

Mar 08, 2021

Began as a spell-binding narrative of life in Franco's Spain.. Enjoyed it to a limited extent. Roser who is pregnant commits herself to the Exodus of thousands of Spaniards fleeing from a Fascist-led government. Once safely landed in Chile, the story becomes more of a history lesson (although appreciated) but less of a novel about the lives and time of Victor and Roser.

The first 200 pages were beautifully written and politically engaging. Once the protagonists started their new life in Chili the writing became dispassionate and tedious. It read like a history text rather than a historical novel.
I would recommend it as background to the Spanish civil war and political strife in South America but this is not award winning writing.

Feb 20, 2021

Ordinary writing, conservative, tedious.

Jan 16, 2021

An enjoyable read. I felt drawn into the characters and the events they experienced. I always enjoy the bonus of seeing the world through the eyes of writers from other countries. I found the writing not as beautiful as that of Gail Tsukiyama ( Women of the Silk) ............. but perhaps that is the translation effect.

Don't read any spoiler material ~~~~~~~~~~~~and just enjoy the unfolding of the petals......

I rate this: A dish from a foreign country that intrigues your pallet, and then leaves you with a warm and satisfying feeling - and wondering if there is any desert to be found.

Jan 14, 2021

Epic saga that begins during the Spanish civil war (1936-1939) with the exodus of thousands of refugees walking over the Pyrenees into France. The small family of Victor and pregnant Roser soon joins Pablo Neruda’s voyage on the Winnipeg through the Panama Canal to Chile, where they gradually create a new life. However the political and idealogical conflicts in their native Spain repeat themselves in their new homeland. In 1973 a U.S.-backed military coup deposes the populist government of Salvadore Allende. Thousands of civilians are murdered and incarcerated. Excellent, fact-based historical novel.

Dec 12, 2020

Good book. Historical fiction. Fav author.

Oct 20, 2020

book club - Marna Dec 2020

Oct 05, 2020

Readers meet Roser and Victor during the Spanish Civil War, then follow them into exile in Chile where they live the remaining years of their lives.

Loved this book, another perfect one for September’s Hispanic Heritage Month reading. Allende writes a beautiful story of unconventional love filled with sympathetic fictional and real-life characters. Chile’s famed poet Pablo Neruda plays a key role in Roser and Victor’s life—an irony that I began reading this book on the anniversary of his death. Many parallels to the years surrounding the election of her uncle Salvador Allende and this current time in US politics. Recommended.

Sep 12, 2020

Victor and Roser Dalmau, who leave their home in the brink of WWII, after much hardship and loss and suffering arrive in Chile and it becomes their home for many years. The couple were forced to marry in order to survive, and stay together as a form of family loyalty. Who they are as individuals, and who they come to be together is the heart of the story. Although this was a novel, the author explains how the events and historical characters are in fact real. The title of this story describes where Chile snuggles into South America and the Pacific Ocean. Isabel does an incredible job using descriptive writing as her descriptions are so vivid you can smell the ocean; see the vibrant colours; hear the voices of the country. Overall, this is a story about the Spanish war that leads to a migration. It’s another generational story rich with characters, relationships and history. I absolutely loved it. I appreciated the work that went into the research in order to produce such a well-written story. I would say that A Long Petal Of The Sea is a quite timely read as the author captures how immigrants and refugees affect a country’s culture and economy. Another reason why I did not give this story a higher rating was due to it being boring at times. Allende has times where she does a lot of recounting, more telling and less showing. Occasionally there were times where my mind drifted elsewhere while I was attempting to read. All in all though, I enjoyed reading A Long Petal of The Sea as the author incorporated a lot of figurative language, interesting historical events, and the true meaning behind the writing which is to show who we become upon reaching the other side, and allowing us to experience another’s pain. 4/5 stars
@Bookland of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

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Mar 19, 2020

“Pain is unavoidable, but suffering is optional.” - p. 254

Mar 19, 2020

“He told them that in Chile the social classes were like a mille-feuille cake, easy to reach the bottom but almost impossible to reach the top of, because money could not buy pedigree.” - p. 136

Mar 19, 2020

“None of them knew anything about Chile. Years later, Neruda was to define it as a long petal of sea and wine and snow… with a belt of black and white foam… but that would not have left the migrants any the wiser. On the map, it looked slender and remote.” - p. 113


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