'I've Seen Everything.' Author Isabel Allende on Why She Doesn't Fear Death and the Inspiration for Her New Novel
The world’s most popular living author in Spanish on not fearing death and the forgotten event behind her new novel
Your new novel, A Long Petal of the Sea, centers on a historical event: in 1939, the poet and diplomat Pablo Neruda chartered a boat to take 2,200 Spanish Republicans fleeing Franco’s dictatorship to Chile. How did you hear about this?
When the ship first reached territorial waters in Chile, they sent, as I write in the book, two very young bureaucrats to receive the ship and give them visas to enter the country. One of those guys was my stepfather. Many years later, I stumbled upon the story again, when I was living in exile in Venezuela. With family like mine, you don’t need to invent anything.
Why did you decide to write this book now?
The theme of migrants and refug ...