44 pages 1 hour read

Isabel Allende

A Long Petal of the Sea

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2019

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Part 1, Chapters 1-4Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 1: “War and Exodus”

Chapter 1 Summary: “1938”

At the height of the Spanish Civil War, Victor Dalmau is on the medical frontlines in the resistance to General Francisco Franco’s fascist forces. Victor received three years of medical training before the war and learned to be a doctor through his experiences in the war. The conditions are extremely difficult, with morphine and ether in short supply, and so many men, some just boys, killed and injured. Victor achieves some notoriety for saving the life of a young man whose heart was completely exposed. Although the heart had stopped beating, Victor inserted his fingers and squeezed the organ, which revived it. Serving with an ambulance driver named Aitor Ibarra during the Battle of Teruel, Victor does everything in his power to keep the men alive. In Teruel, Victor meets Elisabeth Eidenbenz for the second time. A Swiss nurse volunteering for the Association to Aid Children in War, Elisabeth is too focused on her work to pay attention to Victor’s declarations of love.

Victor is the oldest son of Marcel Luis Dalmau, a professor of music, and his wife Carme, a high school teacher. The family resides in Barcelona.

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