PLEDGE NOW
Isabel Allende On Her New Novel: ‘Maya’s Notebook’

Bestselling author Isabel Allende’s novel of a Chilean grandmother saving a granddaughter who’s down and out in Las Vegas.

Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende (Lori Barra)

Chilean-American novelist Isabel Allende has been writing big, global bestsellers for years.  Historical novels with a rich thread of magical realism.  “The House of Spirits.”  “Daughter of Fortune.”  “Ines of My Soul.”  “Zorro.”

Her latest novel comes right up to a date.  Drugs crime, porn, Las Vegas – and an immigrant grandmother trying to save her American granddaughter from losing her self, her soul.  Sending her back to the old country to try to save her.  There are echoes of the Tsarnaev brothers here.  But a better ending.

This hour, On Point:  Isabel Allende and her latest, “Maya’s Notebook.”

- Tom Ashbrook

Plus: a closing segment on folk musician Richie Havens.

Guest

Isabel Allende, bestselling Chilean author. Her new book is “Maya’s Notebook: A Novel.” (@isabelallende)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Seattle Times “The bleached hair, nose ring and shoulder tattoo on the young woman on the cover of ‘Maya’s Notebook’ are sure signs we’re not in the historical-novel territory of Isabel Allende’s ‘Daughter of Fortune’ or ‘Inés of My Soul.’ But the thoroughly contemporary heroine of Allende’s latest is every bit as fierce, fragile and fascinating as the corset-wearing women the author has conjured up so well.”

The Telegraph “My grandfather was a great storyteller; he would spook us out with his horror stories about seeing the devil and that kind of stuff. When I was living in exile in Venezuela I got a telephone call to say that my grandfather was dying in Chile. I couldn’t go back to see him, so I wrote him a letter. I wanted to tell him that he could go in peace because I remembered everything he told me – all the anecdotes, all the stories, all his life. And to prove it, I started writing the story. I started writing on January 8 1981, and it turned into my first novel, The House of the Spirits, although I didn’t know it at the time.”

The New York TimesWhat is your favorite literary genre? Any guilty pleasures? I like literary fiction. A good novel or short story is like making love between clean ironed sheets: total pleasure. When I was a teenager my guilty reading was, of course, erotic stuff. At 14, living in Lebanon, I discovered the irresistible mixture of eroticism and fantasy reading “One Thousand and One Nights” inside a closet with a flashlight. Nothing can be compared to the excitement of a forbidden book. Today nothing is forbidden to me, so there is no guilt. Too bad! (My grandchildren would have fits of boredom with the erotic scenes that turned me on in Lebanon.)”

Excerpt: ‘Maya’s Notebook’ by Isabel Allende

Playlist

Abre Tu Ventana — Victor Jara

Gracia a La Vida — Violeta Parra

Freedom — Richie Havens

Here Comes the Sun — Richie Havens

Listen to these songs and more on our Ultimate On Point Playlist.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 26, 2015
Blogger and activist Pamela Geller speaks at a conference she organized entitled “Stop Islamization of America,” in New York on Sept. 11, 2012. (David Karp/AP)

Two new books on free speech–one by a former New York Times correspondent, the other a Fox News contributor. They don’t see eye to eye—and tell us why.

May 26, 2015
The Last Unicorn, by William DeBuys

With guest host Jane Clayson. Endangered species and the search for one of the world’s rarest creatures deep into the wilds of central Laos. Guests William DeBuys, Conservationist and author of The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth’s Rarest Creatures.  Azzedine Downes, CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare. (@AzzedineTDownes) Reading List The New York […]

RECENT
SHOWS
May 25, 2015
Violinist Regina Carter warms up in the On Point studio on Friday, October 17. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

Regina Carter turns her jazz violin down home with her new album “Southern Comfort.”

 
May 25, 2015
New York Times columnist David Brooks explores a history of American moral character in his new book, "The Road to Character." Former US Labor Secretary Frances Perkins (R), is one of the subjects he profiles in his books. (David Burnett / AP)

New York Times columnist David Brooks on finding moral character in a self-preoccupied society.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
A Former Bike Gang Member Explains "The Life"
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Larry called in from Lawrenceburg, KY and told us he was once a member of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club, a mid-Atlantic biker gang. He didn’t sugar coat the facts as he explained the draw of the brotherhood and what makes the outlaw motorcycle corner the underworld go round.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: May 15, 2015
Friday, May 15, 2015

We cancel a few hours and suddenly all of you get convinced of a global radio conspiracy! Plus, dragon zoos.

More »
1 Comment
 
Caller: ‘It Doesn’t Always Turn Out Okay’
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One caller shares her own story of an extremely premature birth. Her daughter, born at 22 1/2 weeks in 2012, was taken off life support after seven days.

More »
Comment