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In the Midst of Winter begins with a minor traffic accident - which becomes the catalyst for an unexpected and moving love story between two people who thought they were deep into the winter of their lives. Richard Bowmaster - a 60-year-old human rights scholar - hits the car of Evelyn Ortega - a young undocumented immigrant from Guatemala - in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn. What at first seems just a small inconvenience takes an unforeseen and far more serious turn when Evelyn turns up at the professor's house seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant Lucia Maraz - a 62-year-old lecturer from Chile - for her advice. These three very different people are brought together in a mesmerizing story that moves from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil, sparking the beginning of a long overdue love story between Richard and Lucia.
Exploring the timely issues of human rights and the plight of immigrants and refugees, the book recalls Allende's landmark novel The House of the Spirits in the way it embraces the cause of "humanity, and it does so with passion, humor, and wisdom that transcend politics" (Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post). In the Midst of Winter will stay with you long after you listen to the last minute.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Sara on 11-11-17
Down Right Harrowing
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.
43 of 52 people found this review helpful