In The Midst Of Winter – From The Author Of The Japanese Lover
In The Midst of Winter begins with a minor traffic accident—which becomes the catalyst for an unexpected and moving love story between two people who thought they were deep into the winter of their lives. Richard Bowmaster—a 60-year-old human rights scholar—hits the car of Evelyn Ortega—a young, undocumented immigrant from Guatemala—in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn. What at first seems just a small inconvenience takes an unforeseen and far more serious turn when Evelyn turns up at the professor’s house seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant Lucia Maraz—a 62-year-old lecturer from Chile—for her advice. These three very different people are brought together in a mesmerizing story that moves from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil, sparking the beginning of a long overdue love story between Richard and Lucia.
Duffy’s Thoughts On In The Midst Of Winter
Allende is very adept at storytelling. The characters of Lucia Maraz, Evelyn Ortega and Richard Bowmaster are well crafted and perfect vehicles to convey the struggles that undocumented immigrants have experienced before they make it to America in the hope for something better. In The Midst Of Winter certainly opened my eyes to the horrors that befall the people of Chile and Guatemala, of which I’m ashamed to say I had little knowledge. I loved each of the characters, who are written still full of life and vibrancy even though they are well into their sixities, and I enjoyed how the story arc slowly revealed their past, however I did have some issues with the book.
I won’t give away any spoilers here, but the circumstances which bring these three wonderful characters together was just a little too ridiculous for me and how they dealt with the circumstances seemed at complete odds with the morals and values of Lucia and Richard. It was this which took a good book and made it an ok one. I did read to the end, but because I didnt believe this part of the story I tuned out and didn’t really get to grips with the last third.
Allende is a clever writer and exceptional character creator, and although In The Midst Of Winter isn’t my favourite of Allendes books, it won’t put me off giving any of her other books a go.
2.5 out of 5 – Thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review