Violeta is a beautiful novel about a woman’s life and the twists and turns she endures. One of the many endearing aspects of this work is that it is a letter narrated by Violeta to Camilo, who we later find out is her grandson. As we get deeper into the book, we learn about the trials and tribulations of being a woman born into a pandemic, suffering through a world war, and then left to face the demise of her beloved country, Chile.
Interestingly enough, as Allende explores in the second part of the book the demise of Salvador Allende, she once again captivates her audience by changing the perspective of the narrator, Violeta. Due to Isabel Allende’s relation to Salvador Allende, many of her past novels have defended the socialist president, such as in La casa de los espíritus, Paula, De amor y de sombra and Mi país inventado, to name a few. However, in this book, we see how the narrator is right-wing and is against Salvador Allende and everything he represents. Although we did see this a bit in De amor y de sombra, the way Allende has always recounted those events, it was clear that she fully supported her father’s cousin/godfather in her pages. Yet in this novel, we start to see something different: some opposition. To me, this was quite astonishing and yet weirdly appreciated, because it shows that even after years as a writer addressing the same topic from multiple angles, Allende can still surprise even her most avid readers and fans.
As this book came out in February of 2022, it is relatively new, and yet has been translated into various languages, including English. I find that all of Isabel Allende’s books are easy to read and have recommended them to my more advanced Spanish 4 students. I suggest reading “La casa de los espíritus” (The House of the Spirits) and “Paula” before this novel, simply because Allende brings some aspects of each novel into this one, allowing her readers to draw connections from these historic and famous works.
Having read seven of Allende’s other novels, I have to say, this is one of my favorites, next to La casa de los espíritus and Paula. It is emotional, adventurous, gripping, and very moving. I like how it started and ended with the two latest pandemics: the Spanish flu and Covid. But not to worry, it doesn’t go into detail – yet it shows the tragedies that the protagonist has endured, and it gives us hope that no matter what atrocities surround us, we can find beauty and love in the world.