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.
'Allende's best work to date...she has everything it takes: the ear, the eye, the mind, the heart, the all-encompassing humanity.' New York Times 'Allende's writing is so vivid we smell the countryside, hear the sounds, see the bright birds, smell and even taste the soft fruit. Moving through Paula's last days, we enter that world, and share it, gladly, sadly, gratefully, and ultimately changed by the very reading of it.' Julia Neuberger, The Times 'This is a tender, moving and vivid record of a mother's agony at the bedside of her daughter. Paula begins as a long letter as a way of giving her back the life that is ebbing away...the result is a mesmerizing story. In flawlessly rich prose Allende shares with us her most intimate feelings...an emotionally charged, spellbinding memoir.' Washington Post 'Allende brings the natural storytelling power so evident in her novels to this courageous testament. She shares her personal tragedy with a warmth and passion that make Paula exceptional.' Sunday Express