Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Inés, of my soul... Isabel Allende. 
As some of you know by now I'm a fanatic secondhand shopper. Whenever I need something I will do my utmost best to buy it second hand; my beautiful leather horse riding boots are second hand (brand new second hand). The beacon of my life; my blue espresso machine is secondhand and almost all of my furniture is secondhand. (I rather recycle than buy new...) The secondhand shop in neighborhood has a fantastic book-section. Yesterday morning I found Thirteen by David Mitchell, a book Arthur Japin (dutch writer) and a brand new copy of the Corrections by Franzen. (that will make a great gift...) So piles and piles of good books, but also loads and loads of shitty books, and many of the same titles. I've made a habit out of it: to find as many of the same books as I can and put them next to each other; 7 copies of 'Fall on your knees' by Ann McDonald. Prices all different, all orange and all the same size. (yes my idea of saturday morning thrill.... I fully understood if I lost all of you by now..) The Chilean writer Isabel Allende occupies an entire section within the book-section in this shop. I've read loads of her book, devoured them I should say. Last week a good friend gave me a book by her; Inés,, of my soul. It has been years since I read an Allende book and I was a bit hesitant. What if I was about to find out that she actually is the sentimental, crappy writer that I sometimes thinks she is... Inés, the main-character, sails from Spain to Chili, in 1537. She's a brave, woman (like al the Allende women), founder of Santiago (Chili) and of course there is love and passion (it is an Allende book after all). Inés Suárez ((c. 1507–1580) really existed and according to the acknowledgements none of the facts are influenced by her pathos imagination. (she quotes her critics here) I don't really care. I loved the story, I loved some of the historical facts. And the most important thing I learned: the Natives thought the bearded Spanish were foul smelling, They never bathed. Opposed to the Mapuches who bathed daily. (according to the Mapuches you could smell the Spanish a day away...) Just this one little fact, so contrary to my narrow minded conception that the Spanish would be cleaner than wild tribes, makes me love this book. But also, I will leave the other Allende books in the thrift store a little while longer. Maybe another time. But not for now. Now I have other books to read, David Mitchell for example. Have a wonderful day!

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