In the Midst of Winter: A Novel

In the Midst of Winter: A Novel

In the Midst of Winter: A Novel

New York Times Bestseller

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

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2 thoughts on “In the Midst of Winter: A Novel

  1. 57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    A big disappointment, November 5, 2017
    By 
    Richard C. Reynolds (New Mexico) –

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    There are three Key People in this book:
    Richard Bowmaster is an NYU professor in his mid-sixties who lives in Brooklyn. He’s lonely, avoids physical contact, and does not drink because he’s an alcoholic. Richard is a widower and has a widower father named Joseph who was a Jew in Germany but managed to get out of the country in time.
    Lucia Maraz is an NYU teacher who is Richard’s tenant. She lives below him, is in her early sixties, and has occasional sex fantasies about Richard. She once touched him accidentally but he didn’t like it. She is originally from Chile and there is a chapter that deals with the September 11, 1973 overthrow of Salvador Allende’s government. (The author is well qualified to write about this because she lived in Santiago during this time and her father was a first cousin to Salvador Allende.)
    Evelyn Ortega is an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala. She’s a young woman who could probably be the daughter of Richard and Lucia if they had produced a child. Richard rear ends her car in an accident and gets Lucia to help translate their conversation. After I read about Evelyn I thought the plot might move toward Richard & Lucia getting together and pseudo-adopting Evelyn as their proxy daughter. Wrong.
    We learn all of this about the three characters in the first seventy pages. Then the plot begins with a stunning event. Now we’re getting somewhere, I thought.
    Whoops, wrong again. We eventually get to page 245 and three more chapters on the characters’ background follow. At this point I almost tossed the book. But I was getting close to the end so I decided to stick with it and find out what happens. Unfortunately, it ended with a whimper instead of a bang.
    Overall I thought this novel was seriously unbalanced with much more character background than plot substance. I’ve read a number of Allende’s earlier books and was disappointed with this one.
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  2. 27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    The winter of lives is warmly explored., October 31, 2017
    By 
    Read-A-Lot (Houston) –

    This review is from: In the Midst of Winter: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
    The foundation of the novel is the relationship between Richard, 60 and Lucia, 62. The question that lingers between these two, is love possible in the mature years of one’s life? Well as the novel unfolds, we find the passions along with Richard that he thought he had long locked away. Lucia had always longed for a lover/partner in her life and was determined to not let age be a hindrance.

    “Her desire to get the most out of life grew greater as her future shrank, and part of that enthusiasm was the vague hope of having someone to cherish, even if this clashed with the reality of a lack of opportunities.“ Allende has a host of characters stuffed into this novel, but none important than the young immigrant Evelyn. The way Evelyn eventually lands in Brooklyn, all the way from Guatemala is an inside look into the horrors of immigration outside the legal route.Her story is tormenting. It is Richard’s accident with Evelyn that leads to the discovery of all their lives. And through Allende’s humor and compassionate empathy we learn of the history of each person and how by chance they have all ended up in Richard’s brownstone in Brooklyn, NY trying different to figure out what to do about the strange situation they find themselves in.

    The pacing is just right and as the back stories are filled in, the novel moves at a nice, always interesting pace. The immigrant, refugee live is given many pages, the politics of south and Central America are given some attention as well. The bottom line is can one create a second act, when the first act contains so much history, heartbreak and loss. As Lucia remarks to Richard as he laments his last days with his former wife, ““That’s many years with your soul in winter and your heart locked away, Richard. That’s not a life. And the fearful man of those years is not you. In these last few days, when you were forced out of your comfort zone you were able to discover who you really are. It may be painful, but anything is better than being anesthetized.” So Allende will make a believer out of her readers that not only is love possible in the mature years, it may be entirely necessary. Thanks to Netgalley and Atria books for an advanced ebook. Book hits shelves October 31, 2017. (less)

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