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The Infinite Plan
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New or Used: 2 copies from $13.07
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Isabel Allende's powerful tale of one boy's escape from the slums of Los Angeles. This magnificent novel tells the story of Gregory Reeves, the son of Charles, an itinerant preacher. As a boy, Gregory accepts the endless journeying and poverty which is his family's lot, never questioning the validity of his father's homespun philosophy of life -- the Infinite Plan. But, as manhood approaches, Gregory finds himself increasingly possessed by a yearning to escape. Hankering after worldly wealth, he longs to break away from the barrio, the teeming Hispanic ghetto of downtown Los Angeles where his family has finally settled. Gregory's quest, so different from his father's, takes him first to the killing fields of Vietnam, and thence to law school at Berkeley from where he pitches headlong into a hedonistic pursuit of the American Dream! / An enthralling novel from the world's most talented and renown bestselling authors. / 'The Infinite Plan' has sold over 150,000 copies in the UK since publication. / Author expected in the UK on publication. / Competition: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Joanna Trollope

About the Author

Isabel Allende was born in 1942, and is the niece of Salvador Allende, who went on to become famous as the elected President of Chile deposed in a CIA-backed coup. She worked as a journalist, playwright and children's writer in Chile until 1974 and then in Venezuela until 1984. Her first novel for adults, `The House of the Spirits', was published in Spanish in 1982, beginning life as a letter to her dying grandfather. It was an international sensation, and ever since all her books have been acclaimed and adored in numberless translations worldwide.

Reviews

This novel by renowned Chilean author Allende ( House of Spirits , LJ 4/15/85) is the story of Gregory Reeves's journey from childhood to middle age and long-sought peace and happiness. Gregory's journey is marked by the contending philosophies of his mother's Bahai faith; his father's personally revealed, metaphysical explanation of the universe, called ``The Infinite Plan'' (the selling of which provides the family's income); and the traditional Catholicism and sense of nostalgia that permeate the Latin barrio where Gregory lives as a child. Though the book is not provocative and the plot is somewhat predictable, it is held together by a deep interest in the colorful, enchanting characters and their evolving relationships to one another. This is recommended for all fiction collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/93.-- Sherri Cutler, Brennemann Lib . , Children's Memorial Medical Ctr . , Chicago

'The characters both convince and fascinate. The sense of place is stunning. Lyrical and passionate, Allende describes with equal vividness women preparing a feast in a slum back yard, a small town breathless in the heat of summer, or a battalion slaughtered by night on a mountainside. Allende's writing is supremely elegant.' Independent on Sunday 'Devotees of Allende's The House of the Spirits will rejoice to find again in her new novel the magical storyteller's touch that transforms life into a compelling emotional adventure, leaving one breathless. A hopeful, warm-hearted, absorbing novel.' Daily Mail

A richly embroidered, ambitious tale, Allende's latest novel charts one man's spiritual progress against five decades of history and cultural change. Allende relies less on her customary magical realism (The House of the Spirits ) than on concrete, often graphic details in her first attempt to depict North American characters and settings. Greg Reeves, the son of an itinerant preacher who claims that life is governed by an infinite plan, spends the latter part of his childhood in the L.A. barrio where his family settled when their father became ill. His best friend and soul mate there is Carmen Morales, the daughter of a hospitable Latino family. The novel follows Greg and, to a lesser extent, Carmen through turbulent experiences as each searches for identity. Greg discovers several different kinds of racial discrimination in the crowded barrio; later, he taps into the social and sexual revolution in Berkeley; and he suffers through the crucible of Vietnam, from which he emerges determined to become rich and powerful no matter the cost in morality or peace of mind. He enters into disastrous marriages with two beautiful women, both of whom, he belatedly realizes, resemble his passive, remote mother; he also fails as a father. Allende's intensely imagined prose has clarity and dimension; she describes the exotic and the mundane with equal skill. The rambling, diffuse narrative nicely mirrors the random quality of life itself: Greg discovers that ``there is no infinite plan, just the strife of living.'' In portraying Greg as all too human and fallible, however, Allende risks making him an unsympathetic character. By the time he gains insight into the emotional factors that govern his personality (``at last I felt in control of my destiny . . . the most important thing was to search for my soul . . .''), readers may have tired of his self-destructive behavior. 100,000 first printing; $125,000 ad/promo; BOMC alternate ; author tour. (May)

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