Matthew Reddin

The charming, fleeting season of Isabel Allende’s book ‘In the Midst of Winter’

winter

Parting as it is said, is such sweet sorrow. That certainly goes for the fantastic In the Midst of Winter, a lovely season gone too soon.

 

 

The newest novel from the author of The House of the SpiritsOf Love and Shadows and Eva Luna is many things: it’s charming, it’s lovely and most importantly, it is perfectly relevant to our times!

Three people, alone, away from their people, are thrown together by an innocuous misfortune – a fender bender – and are required to help each other out, escape their comfort zone and find a higher meaning. In this, two of them find love, among the horrors of what happens to displaced people, both past and present.

I really had no idea about some of the terrible events that have happened in South America, and how many people had been left with no choice but to flee, and how uncertain their situations were, both before and after they crossed the border into the US. It’s a dangerous world, and it is so easy to be oblivious to that in the comfortable middle-class bubble that most of us here in Australia live in. It has strengthened my resolve to help out wherever I can.

 

I read this book in only two sittings (not bad when you consider it’s 352 pages long)… and then I was cross with myself for scoffing it, rather than savouring it.

 

In the Midst of Winter is a novel which is so sweet, and so charming, and has such layers to it, that even a dolt like myself can notice. It is set in the midst of winter in New York, but it’s also about a romance between people, one of whom, in his own winter, finally finds his own inner strength (like Camus, quoted in the book: “In the midst of winter, I finally found there was within me an invincible summer.”).

I wish it had been longer; I wish I had read it more slowly. If everyone is more aware of the dangers and terrors faced by people who are – through no fault of their own – vulnerable to exploitation and worse, we would surely have to become a society that protects and cares.

I read this book in only two sittings (not bad when you consider it’s 352 pages long)… and then I was cross with myself for scoffing it, rather than savouring it.

I will read more of Isabel Allende’s books.

You should too.

 

Matthew Reddin

Matt Reddin has been writing nonsense about film, TV, books, music and live theatre for a touch over 20 years. He’s gone from the halcyon days of street press in Perth, to regional dailies, national magazines and major metropolitan newspapers. Now, in between bouts of sporadically yelling at clouds, he vents his creative spleen at www.lessercolumn.com.au

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