Allende, Isabel. The House of the Spirits. New York: Knopf, 1985. Set amidst the tumult of the agrarian reform of the author’s uncle’s presidency, this novel is perhaps her most political.
Allende, Isabel. Of Love and Shadows. New York: Knopf, 1987. Combining graphic and magical realism, Allende’s second novel follows the transformation of a privileged but sheltered young woman who finally grasps the grisly truth behind the Pinochet dictatorship.
Allende, Isabel. Daughter of Fortune. New York: Harper Collins, 1999. Set in North and South America, Allende’s 19th-century romance fashions a vivid portrait of early Valparaíso, illuminates the underappreciated role of Chileans in the California gold rush, and even offers an imaginative speculation on the Joaquín Murieta legend.
Blest Gana, Alberto. Martín Rivas. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Originally published in 1863, now in English translation, this early Chilean novel tells the story of a young man from the Norte Grande as he tries to make his way into Santiago society.
Donoso, José. Curfew. New York: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1988. An end-of-the-dictatorship novel from the viewpoint of a returned exile folk musician.
Dorfman, Ariel. Hard Rain. London: Readers International, 1990. A novel set in Allende’s Chile and published shortly thereafter in Spanish but not in English until many years later.
Fuguet, Alberto. Bad Vibes. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997. Tale of apolitical alienation in Pinochet’s Chile by an author whose motto is “I am not a magical realist.”
Skármeta, Antonio. Burning Patience. New York: Pantheon, 1987. The fictional account of Pablo Neruda’s counsel to a childishly infatuated postman, later transformed into the Oscar-winning film Il Postino (The Postman).
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition