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American Women's Club of Hamburg

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Book Club

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Date/Time: Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 19:00

Book Club - A Long Petal of the Sea

For our next meeting we will read Isabel Allende’s latest novel “A Long Petal of the Sea” that has been described by many as her finest yet. It is historical fiction from the time of the Spanish Civil War to the fall of Pinochet in Chile.

Spain’s displaced population after the war was largely forgotten by the world, as was the war itself. The Chilean diplomat and poet Pablo Neruda lobbied to save over 2,000 of the refugees, as many as could fit on a nine-ton cargo ship called the Winnipeg, bound for political asylum. Allende, we learn from her author’s note, first heard about Neruda’s “ship of hope” in her childhood, when it caught in her memory and remained there for 40 years. Now she has deftly woven fact and fiction, history and memory, to create one of the most richly imagined portrayals of the Spanish Civil War to date, and one of the strongest and most affecting works in her long career. 

In “A Long Petal of the Sea,” as in much of Allende’s fiction, there is the sense that every human life is an odyssey, and that how and where we connect creates the fabric of our existence: the source of our humanity. If what happens to us — the axis of our fate — is nearly always beyond our control, stubbornly unchangeable, we can still choose what we cleave to and fight for, refusing to be vanquished. This is true belonging, and how we build a world.

From the New York Times book review by Paula McLain (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/20/books/review/a-long-petal-of-the-sea-isabel-allende.html?searchResultPosition=1)

Make you want to read more?

We hope you’ll join us!



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