|Spanish/Latin American Cover|
Original Title: La Isla Bajo El Mar
Release Date: January 1st, 2010, Latin America
Publisher: Editorial Sudamericana, Latin America
Age Group: Adult
Categories: Slavery, Historical Fiction, Latin America
Overall: 4 Monkeys
Interest: Isabel Allende's Books
Date Read: December 29th, '10 to January 4th, '11.
Summary from Goodreads:
My Opinion:Born a slave on the island of Saint-Domingue, Zarité -known as Tété- is the daughter of an African mother she never knew and one of the white sailors who brought her into bondage. Though her childhood is one of brutality and fear, Tété finds solace in the traditional rhythms of African drums and in the voodoo loas she discovers through her fellow slaves.
When twenty-year-old Toulouse Valmorain arrives on the island in 1770, it’s with powdered wigs in his baggage and dreams of financial success in his mind. But running his father’s plantation, Saint-Lazare, is neither glamorous nor easy. It will be eight years before he brings home a bride -but marriage, too, proves more difficult than he imagined. And Valmorain remains dependent on the services of his teenaged slave.
Spanning four decades, Island Beneath the Sea is the moving story of the intertwined lives of Tété and Valmorain, and of one woman’s determination to find love amid loss, to offer humanity though her own has been battered, and to forge her own identity in the cruellest of circumstances.
Like every Allende novel, this book is rich in history and travels through the lives of a lot of characters.
It tells the story of Zarité -or Teté, as they called her- a slave in the French colony of Saint Domingue (now Haití). Teté is sold as a child to monsieur Toulouse Valmorain, fact which will mark her forever.
She grows up in her master's plantation, Saint-Lazare, and, despite of being a domestic slave (she works in the house, as a housekeeper), she suffers a terrible life.
It's the 18th century, and slavery is something as common as the blue sky and a hot day in Saint Domingue. Slaves are just something more their masters own. Possessions.
Teté will fight her whole life to protect her own, going through some very difficult challenges.
As always, Isabel's writing is excellent -the majority of the book is written in third person, and we get glimpses into Teté's mind in a few chapters written in her POV- and the story catches you until you finish it.
There'll be people who'll say this is a very long book, to the point of becoming tiresome, but to me, it's because they don't know how to appreciate Isabel's writing.
She's one of my favourite Latin authors, and I've read most of her work. Everything she's written is amazing.