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ChatChat - Claudia Cragg

May 27, 2008

Believe it or not, the esteemed poet Pablo Neruda once called Isabel Allende "the worst journalist he had ever met..." This was because she had the affrontery to try and write his memoirs. Nevertheless, today Allende is the author of over a dozen books and memoirs of her own which together have sold fifty-one million copies.

Her debut novel in 1982, The House of the Spirits, told the tale of four generations of a Chilean family and at ths time of this interview her latest work was  a memoir The Sum of Our Days. This picks up the story where her last memoir, Paula, ended. She recently discussed politics and Pinochet, feminism, her home in Marin County with her second husband, the lawyer Willie Gordon and her extended family, the death of her daughter Paula, as well as the death of Willie's daughter, Jennifer. from a drug overdose and other details of her fascinating life with Claudia Cragg.

Allende started the Isabel Allende Foundation on December 9, 1996 to pay homage to her daughter, Paula Frías Allende who experienced a coma after complications of the disease porphyria placed her on a hospital bed. Paula was only twenty-eight years old when she died in 1992. The foundation is "dedicated to supporting programs that promote and preserve the fundamental rights of women and children to be empowered and protected.