Ines, of my soul…
There is something about the way the Latin American writers write. Its like this – they want to tell a good story, with all elements in it. They want you to remember it well. They also want you to be aware of your surroundings. And they want you to do it all without putting down the book.
Of course, this applies to all the writers out there. But only a few can accomplish all this, and much more. Only some write stories that will stay with you forever. Only some can hold the power on your heart to not want to finish a book. Only some can weave poetry into prose and still tell a good story. And very few can actually make you stay in this world, and yet transport you into a different one, a magical one. And very very few can actually sketch down to the smallest detail, all the aspects of the world they create for you, and all in a few words.
Doubtlessly, Marquez is President of Great Story-Teller Country, and the Minister of Awesome Writers Guild, if there is one. Only he can tell a beautiful story, make it stay with you for every breath you take as long as you are reading it, and make it stay in a safe draw of your brain, the drawer you open when you want to float into a beautiful world, and get lost. But off late, as I am delightfully discovering each new author, I am also discovering the old ones, who are good enough to be in this country that Marquez rules. Well, Isabel Allende is one of those, I now confirm.
How many times have you pursed your lips as you read two protagonists have an argument in a book ? How many times did you feel like wielding a sword yourself and getting into the fight to save your favourite character in the book? How many times have you tried wiping off the drool from your lips as you read the making of a tasty dish in a book you are reading? How many times have you wept tears of joy or sorrow depending on what you are reading? How many times have you said out loud ‘Oh , no!’ or a jubilant ‘Yes’ as you read something good happening in the book? How many times did you read a complete book with same gusto knowing the climax and end of each of the characters much beforehand? And how many times have you been disappointed that the book you are reading has ended?
Well… Ines of my soul is one book which will take you through all these and much more. Its like you are making the journey with Pedro and Ines from Peru to Chile. Its like you are seeing them suffer in the desert. You feel like you are there when the captured are being executed. You feel like you are in Ines’ and Pedro’s bedroom as they are making love. You can literally feel the passion Ines feels for Pedro and the love she feels for Rodrigo. In short, its a trip to Ines’ world, the 1500s Chile, the trip you can never take if not for Allende.
All this while still maintaining a certain poetic lilt in the prose. While still moving the story at a steady pace, leaving you moments to re-read a certain paragraph or a page. And announcing beforehand what is going to happen to each of the characters, thereby challenging you if you have it in you to read forward, if you will go ahead and read it knowing fully well what will happen next. And you will be more than glad to lap it all up. And also tying up all the loose ends. All of them, down to the detail of the descendants of Balthazar, Ines’ dog.
I was on an exciting roller coaster ride as long as I was reading this book. I felt tired as I finished reading the war scenes, and was excited when Ines narrated her love stories. I voraciously wiki-ed all the characters of this book, and read it all.
This book deserves 5 out of 5 stars. For the story that will stay with you for your lifetime. For the free trip to old Chile. And for Ines, Pedro and Rodrigo.
Read this book if you want to go through these, and many more such emotions.
Read this book if you want to experience what the fabled South American writing is all about.
Read this book if you are remotely even interested in history, or love stories.
Read this if you are a passionate person yourself.
Actually, just please read this book, and come talk to me about it… I’ll even learn making empanadas by then! :-)