44 pages 1 hour read

Isabel Allende

A Long Petal of the Sea

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2019

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Part 3, Chapters 9-13Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 3: “Returns and Roots”

Chapter 9 Summary: “1948-1970”

The Dalmaus are renting a beach cabin in the Chilean summer of February, though Victor stays at home to work during the week. The poet Neruda is in trouble, “accused of slander and calumny by the government” (192). Victor agrees to hide Neruda at his home while his family is away. For two weeks, the poet and his wife stay with Victor. The isolation is maddening for Neruda. Ushered away at night, Neruda will next see Victor 13 months later, when he flees Chile via the Andes to Argentina. Victor escorts him on horseback to the border.

On Marcel’s 10th birthday, a letter arrives from Carme, who is alive. Victor, Roser, and Marcel travel to Andorra to meet her. Carme meets them at the bus station, where Victor is reduced to tears and the women kiss one another. Marcel is fascinated with Carme’s wrinkles and aged body. Carme expected to die the night she left Roser and Aitor, as she fell asleep in the cold. When she woke, she realized that Roser and Guillem’s child was alive, and that gave her reason to live. A stray puppy came over to her and snuggled with her for warmth. That puppy saved her life, as a peasant couple heard it whining and went to investigate.

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