“Cuentos de Eva Luna,” Isabel Allende’s Colorful Short Story Collection
In the wake of great Latin American authors like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mario Vargas Llosa, a new generation of writers have emerged that has captured the attention of the public, albeit more sporadically than their predecessors. One of these writers is Isabel Allende, a Chilean woman whose most famous work, La Casa de los Espiritus (The House of the Spirits), brought her great praise, to the point of being compared to the aforementioned literary giants. But today’s recommendation will be about another well-received writing venture of hers: Cuentos de Eva Luna.
Published in 1989, the stories in Allende’s collection are encapsulated by the classic ‘framing’ technique of having character Eva Luna (who previously appeared in another novel) narrate the tales to her lover. The stories themselves are a joy to read, having a colorful cast of characters that could only belong in the world of Latin American magical realism. Allende sure borrows some of Garcia Marquez’s style, but all good artists know that nothing is ever original. You can tell her stories are unique and from a fresh perspective, and are a bit more in tune with the contemporary world.
My personal favorite story of the collection is the first one, “Dos Palabras,” which I think was the best choice for opening up the whole body of work. Hopefully after reading that one you’ll be even more intrigued!