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To me this book was so extremely violent and politically driven that I was completely overwhelmed. Honestly, I had to stop listening three or four times, give it a day or two and then return and try again. I searched repeatedly for a foothold within the characters, something to secure the storytelling, without luck.
I understood before I started that the story would have themes focused on human rights issues, immigration and abuse. I expected to feel a level of discomfort with the struggles of the characters. What I did not expect was the harsh tone of strident or even preachy lecturing that I encountered.
The stories of Central America and South America were so gruesome and horrifying that I found myself unable to continue. For that matter, even the lives lived by the characters in NYC were dire, cold and barren.
I have loved Allende's writing in the past so I really wanted to give this new book a chance.
In the end, what made me finally give up was the pervasive feeling of being brow beaten with misery. Allende seems to have chosen the sledge hammer approach over all else to sway the reader. Do be forewarned, considerable graphic violence and heartbreak ahead.
33 of 38 people found this review helpful
IN THE MIDST OF WINTER
MY RATING ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️▫️
PUBLISHER Simon and Schuster Audio
PUBLISHED November 2, 2017
A relevant and lyrical novel that runs the gamut of emotions, blending humor, tragedy, depression and love.
IN THE MIDST OF WINTER begins with a minor traffic accident on a snowy morning in Brooklyn. Richard Bowmaster, a depressed 60-year-old human rights professor slides on the snow into the rear a white Lexus causing some minor damage. The Lexus is driven by Evelyn Ortega, a young undocumented Guatemala immigrant who works as a nanny for a New York gangster. She immediately drives off, as Richard throw his business card through her window. The accident takes a serious turn when Evelyn shows up on Richard’s doorstep later that evening in immense distress and uncommunicative. Not knowing what to do, Richard calls his downstairs tenant Lucia Maraz, a 62-year-old visiting professor from Chile, for help. After several hours, Richard and Lucia are finally able to understand the full extent of Evelyn’s plight regarding the accident and they agree to help her. Later the next day the three travel together to upstate New York in an attempt to resolve Evelyn’s issue. During this trip the story branches into the backstories for each of three protagonists. The backstories, a significant part of the novel takes the reader to Guatemala, Chile and Brazil. Ultimately, a charming unexpected love story develops between Richard and Lucia, who both had given up on ever finding love again.
ISABEL ALLENDE has artfully woven a lyrical novel running the gamut of emotions. This spellbinding novel creatively blends humor, tragedy, depression and love. It takes us places we have never been and shows us things we have never seen. The backstories for each of the three protagonists are tragic, yet here they are in New York trudging though the snow and helping a stranger. The novel is informative and revealing, and at the same time gives us hope, that after the worst thing that could ever happen to you happens, good may ultimately follow, in the most unexpected circumstances.
Lucia’s character was adorable and steals the show, she is feisty and full spunk. She sums up this amazing story when she tells Richard, “Enough wallowing in the sorrows of the past. The only cure for so much misfortune is love.” Richard, on the other hand, adds much levity to the story by his eccentricities and his stomach problems. Evelyn, is in a word, resilient. She has been through more than we can imagine and she still manages to show care and compassion for others. All three diverse characters uniquely come together to form the perfect ensemble in a most relevant book.
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.”
- Albert Camus
2 of 2 people found this review helpful