In the Midst of Winterby Published 02 Nov 2017
|In the Midst of Winter.pdf|
|Publisher||Simon Schuster Audio UK|
New York Times and worldwide bestselling “dazzling storyteller” (Associated Press) Isabel Allende returns with a sweeping novel about three very different people who are brought together in a mesmerizing story that journeys from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil.
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 turn the final page.
"In the Midst of Winter" Reviews
I'm a fan of several of Allende's earlier books and this one seemed so promising at the start . Two fascinating, heartbreaking stories of Lucia and Evelyn both making their way to the US from horrific circumstances from two different places and two different times. They become connected through Richard whose story was intriguing and heartbreaking in its own right.
Richard is a university professor, landlord, acquaintance, and employer of Lucia , originally from Chili and a visiting lecturer. Evelyn is a young woman from Guatemala working as a Nanny. Their three lives converge when during an awful snow storm in Brooklyn, Richard's car hits the car that Evelyn is driving. It is when the three of them are together that we get the stories of their pasts. I really liked each of these characters, and was taken by their experiences, but what didn't work for me was the present circumstances that keep these three characters connected over the course of several days. That part of the narrative just felt contrived and in some way it took away from the importance and gravity of the issues covered here - the horrible experiences of Evelyn in fleeing poverty and drugs and gang violence in Guatemala. Her story as a refugee was so relevant, and I was most drawn in to what happened with her. Lucia, too had a tough life with precarious political situations in Chili.
I can't give it more than three stars because of the thing I couldn't quite buy which made this a little disappointing. Thanks once again to Esil and Diane whose thoughts on the books we've read together are so much appreciated, as well as the ones we don't read together.
I received an advanced copy of this book from Atria through NetGalley.
It's frustrating to read a book that feels like it could be so much better. Isabel Allende's latest book, In The Midst Of Winter, has a lot of promise but as it turns out I felt like it delivered a fairly disjointed uneven narrative. Lucia is a 62 year old Chilean, living temporarily in New York. Richard is Lucia's landlord, and he had lived for many years in Brazil. Evelyn is from Guatemala. One stormy night, Lucia, Richard and Evelyn are thrown together, and they end up telling each other their life stories. So Allende structures this one to be three stories within the story of what brings these three characters together. Unfortunately, it doesn't hang together very well. Parts of the characters' back stories -- especially Evelyn's and to a lesser extent Lucia's -- are deeply moving. They highlight the realities of what has brought so many people to leave their home countries to move the the U.S. -- no doubt a timely topic. But the event that brings these three characters together and keeps them together feels almost farcical. The lightness doesn't mesh well with the darkness. It feels like Allende had a good story to tell about the different experiences of immigrants, but not enough work went into polishing this one so it stands well as a novel. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy. Thanks also to Diane and and Angela for the experience of reading this together -- the buddy read aspect made this one much better than it would have been otherwise.
So, you know when someone puts a plate in front of you and says 'It's hot. Don't touch the plate.' and you immediately touch the plate. You just had to see for yourself. Yeah, that's how I felt with this one. I read so many less than stellar reviews of this one but I had to find out for myself. I wanted to read this one since I first heard about it. Then I saw the wonderful Isabel Allende talk about the book and I couldn't *WAIT* to read it. Perhaps despite all the reviews, I still had such high expectations.
The story rotates between three people Evelyn, Lucia, and Richard and a minor accident that brought them all together. You move back and forth in time hearing the backstory of each and then moving back to the present time. There is just too much going on. Each one of these four story lines could be their own book. Just putting them all together gets confusing. Just as you get drawn into hearing for example Evelyn's story you are roughly brought back to a different story. And it's too much. Also, it's utterly depressing. Nothing good happens and so much of it I started to think 'oh come on, really'. It just kept piling on more and more bad things happening. I also read books to escape....going to different countries, a time in history, and more. I don't really want to read something about current events. This is just me. Perhaps another time the refugee story would be fine, hearing about MS13 gangs, political issues, etc....just all in the news right now.
I switched between print and audio, and sorry to say, I did not like the audio. I had to put this one aside for awhile and take a break, seeing if that helped. Maybe it was not the right time to read this one. I might even have gone a bit lower on my rating but tried to balance out my nit-picking (not wanting to read about current events - and perhaps going with 3 due to my love of Allende). I look forward to reading another book from Allende. And looking forward to a sweeping saga with lots of magical realism.
خير بداية لعام سعيد ان شاء الله.
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