Isabel Allende Draws from Mother’s Life in Pandemic-Set Novel ‘Violeta’

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Isabel Allende with arms crossed
 (Lori Barra)

Isabel Allende’s new novel, “Violeta,” opens in the midst of a pandemic, under quarantine conditions. Only it’s 1920 and the Spanish flu. Violeta has just been born; she spends her early life in the virus-induced social bubble that we’ve all come to know. Inspired by Allende’s own mother, Violeta is born into elite, but falls into a rural social stratum after the Great Depression. It’s a saga about family secrets, exiles and resilience, as well as a reflection on the century when the world became technologically modern and socially fractured. We’ll talk with Allende about the novel, her mother and writing through — and about — a pandemic.


Isabel Allende, author; her newest novel is "Violeta"