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Der Unendliche Plan (Fiction, Poetry & Drama) (German Edition)

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Quittant le monde sud-américain qui lui est familier, la romancière de La Maison aux esprits nous entraîne ici dans la Californie des trente dernières années, sur les pas de deux familles d'errants : celle du prédicateur Reeves qui parcourt l'Ouest à bord d'un camion vétuste, prêchant la recherche du « plan infini » qui justifie nos existences ; et celle des Morales, Quittant le monde sud-américain qui lui est familier, la romancière de La Maison aux esprits nous entraîne ici dans la Californie des trente dernières années, sur les pas de deux familles d'errants : celle du prédicateur Reeves qui parcourt l'Ouest à bord d'un camion vétuste, prêchant la recherche du « plan infini » qui justifie nos existences ; et celle des Morales, immigrés mexicains d'un quartier de Los Angeles hanté par la violence.Principal personnage du livre, le jeune Gregory Reeves verra mourir son père et parviendra à construire une carrière d'avocat, mais aussi et surtout à trouver la clef du « plan infini » qui n'est autre que l'amour. Guerre du Vietnam, mouvement hippie, avènement du féminisme, libération des mœurs, banalisation de la drogue, exclusion : c'est de notre temps que nous parle, au travers de personnages d'une merveilleuse humanité, une romancière décidément de stature mondiale.


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Quittant le monde sud-américain qui lui est familier, la romancière de La Maison aux esprits nous entraîne ici dans la Californie des trente dernières années, sur les pas de deux familles d'errants : celle du prédicateur Reeves qui parcourt l'Ouest à bord d'un camion vétuste, prêchant la recherche du « plan infini » qui justifie nos existences ; et celle des Morales, Quittant le monde sud-américain qui lui est familier, la romancière de La Maison aux esprits nous entraîne ici dans la Californie des trente dernières années, sur les pas de deux familles d'errants : celle du prédicateur Reeves qui parcourt l'Ouest à bord d'un camion vétuste, prêchant la recherche du « plan infini » qui justifie nos existences ; et celle des Morales, immigrés mexicains d'un quartier de Los Angeles hanté par la violence.Principal personnage du livre, le jeune Gregory Reeves verra mourir son père et parviendra à construire une carrière d'avocat, mais aussi et surtout à trouver la clef du « plan infini » qui n'est autre que l'amour. Guerre du Vietnam, mouvement hippie, avènement du féminisme, libération des mœurs, banalisation de la drogue, exclusion : c'est de notre temps que nous parle, au travers de personnages d'une merveilleuse humanité, une romancière décidément de stature mondiale.

30 review for Der Unendliche Plan (Fiction, Poetry & Drama) (German Edition)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Hend

    Gregory Reeves a son of a traveling preacher who settles in the Hispanic section of Los Angeles ,grows up experiencing life as a member of a minority group within the community. Local gang members make his life a nightmare,always attacking him being the only (white) boy in the district. Eventually he finds his way out defending himself, Gregory's life is shaped by a series of events and a lot of tragedies and misery...... his serves in the army,and witnessing all the horrors of the war,and the Gregory Reeves a son of a traveling preacher who settles in the Hispanic section of Los Angeles ,grows up experiencing life as a member of a minority group within the community. Local gang members make his life a nightmare,always attacking him being the only (white) boy in the district. Eventually he finds his way out defending himself, Gregory's life is shaped by a series of events and a lot of tragedies and misery...... his serves in the army,and witnessing all the horrors of the war,and the death of his best friend, whom he considers him his brother,and his other half ,and being raped and abused in his childhood ,this and all other sufferings leaves marks on his soul... he loses contact with his children and ruined his marriage... he married for a romantic vision of love,but disappointingly learns that he have mistaken physical beauty for true affection.... he finally seeks the help of a psychiatrist ,she helped him to understand himself and know the motivations of his actions... Allende managed to focus on the darker and weaker aspects of his character,but at the same time u can’t help loving him ,understand and be tolerant with all his mistakes...... this novel is different from all other Allende previous works.... she inspired some of it’s events from the life of her husband...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mmars

    Really 3.5. I feel really bad giving one of Allende's books less than 4 stars. Her writing is spellbinding. And largely, this book is no exception. She can transport the reader wherever she wants to take them and in this book that is many places and times. From the L.A. post-WWII barrio, to 60s San Francisco, and Vietnam battlefields and villages. These were so well-drawn it was hard to believe that she had not served in Vietnam or lived in California until the late 80s. But when she moves to the Really 3.5. I feel really bad giving one of Allende's books less than 4 stars. Her writing is spellbinding. And largely, this book is no exception. She can transport the reader wherever she wants to take them and in this book that is many places and times. From the L.A. post-WWII barrio, to 60s San Francisco, and Vietnam battlefields and villages. These were so well-drawn it was hard to believe that she had not served in Vietnam or lived in California until the late 80s. But when she moves to the later years of the book those descriptions just flattened out. Being somewhat baffled by this and by the ending, I needed to do some research before writing a review. Her daughter, aged 28, died in December 1993. Allende had spent much time that previous year with her. I am surmising that she was also writing this book during that time because "Infinite Plan" was published in 1994. Though I only read the headlines of magazine and newspaper reviews in Proquest it appears that the book did not receive lavish praise. This is the second book I've read this month (Alex and Me) that I found tarnished by the author's grief. So, if you're in grief and trying to write your great book, please, put it in a locked drawer, give the key to a friend, and focus on healing! Because it shows. This is a complex book that required the author's full attention. It is a life saga with many characters - and if you read the book, keep track of them because they all surface again at some point. The book spans 40 years and the many twists and turns of one man's life, with asides into the lives of his close acquaintances who meander into and out of one another's lives at the most unexpected times. Likewise for plot lines. Have you ever had someone offer you a sweet treat and then tease you by pulling it back an inch every time you keep grasp for it? That was how this felt. Indefinite Plan is unlike other Allende I've read in two other ways. There is less magical realism than in her earlier works and this book tells a man's life. The tense switches back and forth from his first-person POV and an unnamed third-person narrator. I so wish this narrator (I believe it was Reeves' 3rd wife) had been introduced! In her own life Allende had also married her second husband about 2 years before this book came out. Like the main character, her husband was a California lawyer. Incidentally, her daughter was a psychiatrist and a psychiatrist in the second half of the book does a miraculous job of intervening in Gregory Reeves' life. I wonder if writing this male (pseudo-husband) character provided a distraction from the emotional weight she was experiencing as a mother of a seriously ill daughter. All that said, there is a lot that truly works in this book. I was entranced by Reeves' childhood. He was white and poor, an outcast in L.A.'s Hispanic barrio. It's a story of rags to riches, of class and race. Of a failed educational system. It's a story of the devastating impact of the Vietnam War upon a generation of young men and of the 60s generation with morals run amuck. It's a story of the financial irresponsibility of the 80s. And in the end, our hero finally learns that only after years of painful therapy is he able to understand himself and face down his inner pain and conflict and move on. I do not for a minute regret reading this book. It is the fourth Allende I've read (House of Spirts, Eva Luna, Daughter of Fortune) and I intend to read more. Yes, it's flawed and not the place to begin with her. But even at her least accomplished, she is still several heads above the pack.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ed Holden

    I think this is my first one-star review. I really disliked this book, largely because it failed in one of the most basic foundations of storytelling: the "show, don't tell" rule. Much of this book's narrative is devoted to summarizing who went where and what happened. Rarely are we in the moment, living through the events with the protagonist, hearing his real-time point of view. For me, this made it a bore to read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    After talking about books we have read, or wanted to read, my co-worker and I decided to swap books. This was the first book he shared with me. The books started off well enough. The characters were interesting and developed at a good pace. After the first fifty pages or so, I began to feel disappointed; I continued to feel this way until about the last fifty pages. The authors portrayal of the Morales family, beginning from Pedro and Immaculada's journey to the United States to the dynamics of After talking about books we have read, or wanted to read, my co-worker and I decided to swap books. This was the first book he shared with me. The books started off well enough. The characters were interesting and developed at a good pace. After the first fifty pages or so, I began to feel disappointed; I continued to feel this way until about the last fifty pages. The authors portrayal of the Morales family, beginning from Pedro and Immaculada's journey to the United States to the dynamics of their relationship and their family was bordering on impertinent. I imagine that the author was attempting to portray the typical story of Mexican immigrants with a realness and rawness that would allow people to relate to it. Unfortunately, her depiction of this story was stereotypical bordering on offensive. As I read it, it felt as if the writer had read numerous third person interpretations of what it meant to be a Mexican immigrant in Los Angeles and then regurgitated. Then later on when she describes every stereotype of San Francisco, a city she is very familiar with, in one page in an attempt to provided a vivid description of the city, I began to wonder if this was just her writing style, or just her ability. It felt weak in both instances. I also felt disappointed when, in several instances, the story became terribly predictable. One example, the final incident between Greg and Martinez. As I read, I was aware of what was going to happen a good three pages before it did, it felt anticlimactic. I did enjoy the fact that Gregory and Carmen's stories were developed independent of each other while still tied to each other. At first, I thought that this story was meant to resemble something that could be a real experience instead of some fantasy. I never quite understood Carmen's story. While everything in this world is possible, Carmen's story seemed unbelievable. It may have felt this way because of the lack of explanation behind a lot of what happened to her. First she was a child in a poor, immigrant Latino neighborhood in Los Angeles. She struggled with and fought against the cultural constraints of her family and Mexican American identity, and that was great. Then she is travelling to and through or living in Mexico then Europe then Thailand, where she by chance ended up at a party with a man who changed her life a decade plus years before. The author took the time to mention here and there that Greg gave her money or provided some flimsy explanation of how she was able to have these amazing adventures, but I feel it was either her own privileged background or her usual fantasy writing style that crept into a story where it didn't quite feel like it fit. I did not enjoy the book, in fact I struggled through the last 200 pages, only able to read a few pages at a time during the Vietnam story line, but I am never one to start a book and not finish it. I don't claim to be a critic, and I am honestly apologetic to the friend who gave me this book that this review seems so negative. This is just the interpretation of a person who took the time to read the book and was disappointed upon learning that this author is hailed as a recent great Latin author who represents the Latin voice, an honor I can acknowledge she may not have asked for. I believe there are amazing Latin authors that I enjoy reading much more.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rowland Pasaribu

    The Infinite Plan is different than Allende's other works: the protagonist, Gregory Reeves, is male and the setting is not in South America but in the United States. In addition, Allende attempts to cover broad historical time periods in the United States: the aftermath of World War II; the hippie movement of the 1960s and 1970s in Berkeley, California; the Vietnam War; and the materialistic, yuppie age of the 1980s. Furthermore, the novel is told in retrospect, so the reader does not understand The Infinite Plan is different than Allende's other works: the protagonist, Gregory Reeves, is male and the setting is not in South America but in the United States. In addition, Allende attempts to cover broad historical time periods in the United States: the aftermath of World War II; the hippie movement of the 1960s and 1970s in Berkeley, California; the Vietnam War; and the materialistic, yuppie age of the 1980s. Furthermore, the novel is told in retrospect, so the reader does not understand its meaning until the very end. The unusual circumstances of the novel certainly frustrate the typical Allende readers, as they expect a certain pattern and, at the very least, the usual setting. Despite its awkwardness, however. The Infinite Plan deserves serious critical attention and is indeed one of Allende's most fascinating experiments. In particular, the novel presents an extraordinary narrative pattern, one that by itself deserves attention and thus becomes the focus of this thesis. Complexity in narrative structure is by no means atypical of Allende's works of fiction. The House of Spirits has three narrators, the most important one being Alba, who recounts her family history based on what she has discovered in her grandmother's diary. Eva Luna, the female protagonist of Allende's third novel, Eva Luna, narrates The Stories of Eva Luna, and her collection of stories exists for and is dedicated to her lover, Rolf Carle. Critics have studied the intricate narrative patterns in Allende's worlds and praised her for her ingenuity. The narrative structure of The Infinite Plan is equally as complex and challenging. The story has two official narrators: Gregory Reeves and his unnamed, female lover. Although Reeves is the protagonist, he narrates only thirteen brief sections within the novel, sections which range in length from three pages to ten. Thus, the female omniscient narrator is the primary narrator. The novel is told in retrospect, so that Reeves' story slowly unfolds. The narrator drops clues along the way, but she only reveals her relationship to Reeves in the last paragraph of the novel. In addition to the two formal narrators, a variety of narrative presences also inform the text. The importance of the complex narrative structure goes beyond its mere existence: the novel, despite its male protagonist, supports a feminist agenda. Allende does not openly rally for political feminist causes, but her novels all concern women's issues. Her female characters are strong, independent women who defy the norms of their patriarchal societies. For example, Eva Luna the female protagonist and narrator of Eva Luna, overcomes a childhood of poverty and, by the end of the novel, succeeds in becoming a well-known writer of popular soap operas. Irene Baltran in Of Love and Shadows is an energetic journalist who alters the image of women as submissive and silent beings. In addition, Allende's writing seeks to identify its own female voice, the central struggle of the literary feminist movement of the twentieth century. Women have long attacked male dominance in society and in literature. Virginia Woolf wrote in A Room of One's Own that men have excluded women from the literary process and have taken it upon themselves to describe for women their female experiences. Woolf writes: “If women had no existence save in fiction written by men, we would imagine her to be a person of utmost importance; very various; heroic and mean; splendid and sordid; infinitely beautiful and hideous in the extreme; as great as a man, some think even greater. But this is women in fiction”. As Woolf projected early in the feminist movement, in order for women to be depicted fairly and accurately in novels, women must establish a room of their own in a male-dominated literary tradition. Thus, recent feminist criticism has moved from revealing patriarchal dominance and sexism in society and literature to studying women as writers, women writing for women and about women. Thus, critics have taken serious steps in looking at women as contributors to the field of literature, both in their subject matter and in their style and language. Word choice, descriptions, paragraphs, dialogue, content and even narrative pattern do not have to follow a structured notion of logic and organization. Instead, women's writing is something different, something that exists in the very nature of being female. Feminists have not agreed upon or readily defined the female voice, and some are not ready to equate female writing with biology. However, many female writers, including Allende, are indeed ignoring traditional forms of writing and searching for an inner voice. Her attempt to write with a feminine voice sometimes confuses an ignorant reading audience. John Butt in The Times Literary Supplement reacted violently to the overtly sexual passages in The Stories of Eva Luna: "Isabel Allende's numerous erotic passages are actually quite well dome. She might do better to write straight pornographic books without apologetic romantic adornments" (8 Feb 1991). Despite the negative criticism, Allende holds true to her writing as a woman. Even if she does not align herself in one camp or another of feminism, she believes women must express themselves as women and not as women speaking on behalf of a sexist society. Thus, in all of her novels, Allende presents a feminist agenda: a desire to change the way women write and read literature. Her subject matter concerns the issues of women: rape, love, childbirth, motherhood, sexual enjoyment, and the feminist movement all weave themselves into her novels. She writes descriptively, romantically, and even majestically, ignoring criticism that her stories wander or are disjointed. As I will explain, in The Infinite Plan, she creates a narrative structure that, in the end, allows for the victory of the female approach to understanding life. The story of The Infinite Plan involves the troubled life of Gregory Reeves. He spends his entire adult life trying to escape his childhood memories of incest within his family and the brutal machismo of the barrio. His inability to cope leads to unrequited love for women, resulting in unwanted and unloved children, and a painful tour in Vietnam. The novel, then, is a healing process for the adult Reeves, who is in his mid-fifties: he tells his story to Ming O'Brien, a psychiatrist, which enables him to tell the story to his lover (the unnamed female narrator), which enables her to reveal the story to us, the readers. Reeves moves from understanding the world from a male's perspective of sexism and controlling emotion to a female's perspective of both feeling emotion and openly expressing it. Guiding him into this realization is the female narrator and all of the feminist and female presences within the novel. As the lover of Reeves, she has a vested interest in his well-being, but she is more than just a sympathetic character. She controls the text: she fictionalizes his past based on his confessions and allows him only limited space to voice his own story. Ultimately, she determines when he has fully recovered and when he can confidently reveal that new-found health to the reader. She controls the novels and guides Reeves' healing. Chapter IV examines Reeves' narrations, which expose him as a stereotypical male who struggles to escape the masculine realm of lust, power, and destruction. With the assistance of his lover and his psychiatrist, he ultimately recognizes that in order to heal from his painful life, he must surrender to the feminine realm of emotion, love and compassion. Despite the fact that The Infinite Plan has received little attention from scholars and negative attention from the press, it presents itself as a challenging novel for Allende scholars. Its narrative structure is complex and is by far the most experimental structure that Allende has attempted. Complexity in narrative structure exists in Allende's other works as well. The House of Spirits has three narrators, the most important one of whom is Alba, and The Stories of Eva Luna exists for and is dedicated to the story teller's lover, Rolf Carle, a character who exists in another of Allende's novels, Eva Luna. While The Stories of Eva Luna and The House of Spirits present complicated narrative structures, they do not approach the difficulty of the number of layers of narrative voices in The Infinite Plan. Thus, even if the novel strays from Allende's typical novel, it evidences her growth as a post-modern writer. Her novel demands that readers play an active role. Allende requires her reader to pay attention and to perhaps re-read the novel in order to follow the process of the narration. For example, Allende carefully withholds the identity of the primary story teller until the end of the novel, but upon re-reading, one finds clues of who she is. A careless reader might disregard the complexity of the novel and merely toss it aside as being too difficult. Perhaps the challenging structure of the novel, along with the difference in setting and protagonist from Allende's other novels, makes it too frustrating to be enjoyable to an avid reader of Allende. However, serious Allende scholars should examine the novel again, particularly in light of its experimental nature. The Infinite Plan also evidences Allende's growth as a feminist, or at least as a writer concerned about women. She holds true to her intention of breaking the norms of patriarchal language. All of the narrative presences support her feminist theme; these presences include a female omniscient narrator, the feminist reality of the twentieth century, the para text, and Reeves' confessions to his psychiatrist and narrator. The female omniscient narrator controls the novel and undermines the traditional power of a male protagonist and male narrator. Both the narrative presences and the female omniscient narrator guide Reeves on his journey of recovery. Ultimately, Reeves recovers because he discards his sexist behavior, understands the inherent perversion of male sexuality, and learns to value life from a female's perspective. The success of Allende's complicated narration, particularly as it presents its feminist theme, forgives the problems of the readability of the text.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    It is not often that I finish a book, then turn to the first page and start over. But I did that with this book. When I read that this was based on Allende's husband's life, I got deeply interested in what he had experienced growing up. Unreal compared to the settled world I grew up in. Imagine challenging a bully to a duel to see if you could both jump across the tracks in front of a speeding train. He makes it, the bully is smashed to smithereens. Allende tells that she actually had to leave It is not often that I finish a book, then turn to the first page and start over. But I did that with this book. When I read that this was based on Allende's husband's life, I got deeply interested in what he had experienced growing up. Unreal compared to the settled world I grew up in. Imagine challenging a bully to a duel to see if you could both jump across the tracks in front of a speeding train. He makes it, the bully is smashed to smithereens. Allende tells that she actually had to leave out some of the more improbable incidents because they were so unbelievable. She markets it as fiction because she took license with writing it in her usual style; flamboyant and brave. Based in San Francisco, this book covers several minority groups and their struggle to survive in America. As her husband read the final draft he wept with relief that his story had been told.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    Isabel Allende has been high on my list of writers to check out. The film adaptation of her novel House of Spirits knocked me out, so I thought it was reasonable to expect great writing from her in general. Silly me. The Infinite Plan has neither great writing nor a great story concept; in fact, I'd be hard-pressed to summarize a storyline at all. Character development is limited to characters getting older and having fairly predictable things happen to them, with little conversation or Isabel Allende has been high on my list of writers to check out. The film adaptation of her novel House of Spirits knocked me out, so I thought it was reasonable to expect great writing from her in general. Silly me. The Infinite Plan has neither great writing nor a great story concept; in fact, I'd be hard-pressed to summarize a storyline at all. Character development is limited to characters getting older and having fairly predictable things happen to them, with little conversation or introspection to engage the reader in following their progression with enthusiasm or even mild curiousity. Too much is told, while nearly nothing is shown. Is my disappointment obvious? I mean, beyond the fact that it took me two months to finish reading this book, have I adequately expressed how not-great it is?

  8. 4 out of 5

    David

    I liked this very much on a section by section level, but the book as a whole left me a little cold. It was quite sprawling, which I'm not overly fond of when I don't see a reason for it, and I often wondered what the overall arc was really doing. It felt lost and wandering sometimes. Then the ending just felt tacked on, like we just had the story of a life and someone trying to fix everything in the last small number of pages. I liked the characters and the story and the development along the I liked this very much on a section by section level, but the book as a whole left me a little cold. It was quite sprawling, which I'm not overly fond of when I don't see a reason for it, and I often wondered what the overall arc was really doing. It felt lost and wandering sometimes. Then the ending just felt tacked on, like we just had the story of a life and someone trying to fix everything in the last small number of pages. I liked the characters and the story and the development along the way, but once it started to build to more I didn't like where the author tried to go with it. It seemed like there were some good ideas but only unsatisfying things to do with them.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Loomis

    I feel that this book started off so strong, with Allende's magic and passion for story telling, but sometimes I think that her proliferation of ideas gets her into trouble. She has so much that she wants to say, so many characters and threads that all seems to need tied up at the end. Pages and pages of sweeping narrative at the end that went by quickly, but, for my taste, seemed rushed through. If you like Allende, this is worth a read, though. It reminds me of Forrest Gump in a way, this I feel that this book started off so strong, with Allende's magic and passion for story telling, but sometimes I think that her proliferation of ideas gets her into trouble. She has so much that she wants to say, so many characters and threads that all seems to need tied up at the end. Pages and pages of sweeping narrative at the end that went by quickly, but, for my taste, seemed rushed through. If you like Allende, this is worth a read, though. It reminds me of Forrest Gump in a way, this sweeping, magnificent epic of America from the 1940s through the 1980s, with these characters' lives so impacted by life in the L.A. barrio, WWII, the Vietnam War, the political and cultural upheavals of the 1960s, and the greed of the 1980s. Good read, just not House of Spirits. At least, not as I remember House of Spirits.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gigi Romano

    The last 10 pages made the entire book. I actually cried a little bit, not going to lie. It just hit a little to close to home. Besides the ending, the book was extremely tough to get through. Large sections left me super bored, and if I didn't have to read this for my class, I probably wouldn't have gotten through it. (Although I'm really glad I did.) The writing was great at some points, and extremely lackluster at others. The thing that got me the most about the novel was the idea of the The last 10 pages made the entire book. I actually cried a little bit, not going to lie. It just hit a little to close to home. Besides the ending, the book was extremely tough to get through. Large sections left me super bored, and if I didn't have to read this for my class, I probably wouldn't have gotten through it. (Although I'm really glad I did.) The writing was great at some points, and extremely lackluster at others. The thing that got me the most about the novel was the idea of the "Infinite Plan" and how it doesn't really exist at all. And that was what made the story so great. Also the way the two different points of view came together at the end was pretty damn good. So yeah I'm giving it four stars, but it's more for the idea behind the book, not the execution.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ivy-Mabel Fling

    The story-line of this book did not strike as being exciting (it is somewhat predictable and slow-moving) but there are excellent characters and incidents in it. On the whole I enjoyed it and thought it was worth reading but I think that for most readers it might well be too long and contain too little action. One of my criteria for deciding that the writer is worth reading is that he/she does not write the same book each time (with different names) and, having read 'Paula', that would seem to The story-line of this book did not strike as being exciting (it is somewhat predictable and slow-moving) but there are excellent characters and incidents in it. On the whole I enjoyed it and thought it was worth reading but I think that for most readers it might well be too long and contain too little action. One of my criteria for deciding that the writer is worth reading is that he/she does not write the same book each time (with different names) and, having read 'Paula', that would seem to me to be the case with Isabel Allende. Thus I shall read another one before long!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Peggy

    Story about Gregory Reeves, a young man whose life extends from its peripatetic beginnings, on to the L.A. barrio, Berkeley, Vietnam, and life as a high-flying attorney. Numerous lesser characters, such as Olga, a family friend who serves as a local curandera, and Carmen/Tamar, an early girlfriend and almost-sister, provide opportunities for numerous plot developments and expansions. This novel lacks Allende's characteristic gushing verbal virtuosity. It is full and rich, but the writing is more Story about Gregory Reeves, a young man whose life extends from its peripatetic beginnings, on to the L.A. barrio, Berkeley, Vietnam, and life as a high-flying attorney. Numerous lesser characters, such as Olga, a family friend who serves as a local curandera, and Carmen/Tamar, an early girlfriend and almost-sister, provide opportunities for numerous plot developments and expansions. This novel lacks Allende's characteristic gushing verbal virtuosity. It is full and rich, but the writing is more restrained, though with any other writer the novel would seem to overflow with images and sensuous details. The novel holds closely to what is real, and doesn't cross the boundary over to magical realism. There is an odd narrator's switch that moves from third to first person and this won't make much sense until the very end of the book; even then it may not make so much of an impact. The characters are unique individuals and they are what propelled me through the novel. I couldn't stop reading to find out more about each and the twists and turns of their personal journeys amazed me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Richard James

    This book was recommended to me via a friend back in September 2008 by a wonderful and beautiful Dominican women in New York who stated Isabel Allende's books were fascinating and well written. Since then I have read at least 5 of Allende's books and have also found them in Spanish to give to people as presents. The crux of the story is about a boy who travels with his sister and mother, and the adventures and explorations he gets up, right into his adult lifetime. I actually own three copies of This book was recommended to me via a friend back in September 2008 by a wonderful and beautiful Dominican women in New York who stated Isabel Allende's books were fascinating and well written. Since then I have read at least 5 of Allende's books and have also found them in Spanish to give to people as presents. The crux of the story is about a boy who travels with his sister and mother, and the adventures and explorations he gets up, right into his adult lifetime. I actually own three copies of this book, and lend out to people sparingly. This is very much a self-help book written in a flowing heartfelt manner, that you full understand and sympathize with the characters in all its unraveling details. Straight after reading this I read Dan Millmans Way Of The Peaceful Warrior (which i thought wasn't as entertaining as this book) as it is based on similar patterns of plot arc. I would however recommend anybody to pick up this book and read it for a different style of writing but due to its very visual content and ideas, once you start to read you won't want to put it down.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I have always heard that Isabel Allende is a wonderful author and this book certainly proves her ability to create characters that come to life and are believable. The Infinite Plan follows the story of a boy named Gregory Reeves who grows up in the Southwest of the US in the 50s. His father is a somewhat crazy but faithful man who preaches about the Infinite Plan that everyone is a part of. His sermons are different than evangelical mega church ones only in the sense that he doesn't follow I have always heard that Isabel Allende is a wonderful author and this book certainly proves her ability to create characters that come to life and are believable. The Infinite Plan follows the story of a boy named Gregory Reeves who grows up in the Southwest of the US in the 50s. His father is a somewhat crazy but faithful man who preaches about the Infinite Plan that everyone is a part of. His sermons are different than evangelical mega church ones only in the sense that he doesn't follow Christianity. Gregory is undoubtedly marked by his father's calling. Gregory grows up in a Chicano village and becomes close friend with Carmen Morales, the daughter of close family friends. As the years go on Gregory goes to college, gets married, and goes to war. He looses contact with Carmen for a while but there is always a connection. There is much more, of course, that happens in those years but you should read the book to find out all of that. I appreciate a novel that pulls me in and makes me care for the characters like this one did.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gabriela larsen

    Disappointed I have read every single book from Isabel Allende and always love them. This book is depressing and worst than a cheap low budget movie. Long and dark with not point or direction . Very disappointed.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jill Manske

    I had read Allende's book, Zorro, which I liked very much. So I thought I'd give this one a try. It was very disappointing - excruciating detail and way too many characters. It was difficult to feel engaged with any but the main 2 characters because of the quantity of people and their stories. And there were some characters who made a 2-page appearance and were never heard from again. That's real life - we sometimes have very brief interactions with people. But it makes for a frustrating read. I had read Allende's book, Zorro, which I liked very much. So I thought I'd give this one a try. It was very disappointing - excruciating detail and way too many characters. It was difficult to feel engaged with any but the main 2 characters because of the quantity of people and their stories. And there were some characters who made a 2-page appearance and were never heard from again. That's real life - we sometimes have very brief interactions with people. But it makes for a frustrating read. It was also a depressing story; I got the sense that some of the misery was just thrown in to make the trials and tribulations of the main characters more trying. But the result was too much. There was an attempt at the end to pull the strings together, but it didn't work very well. Not a book I'd recommend except to diehard Allende fans.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marit

    I had to make myself finish this book, not because it was bad but because I was "merely" uninterested. This novel is full of "telling," not "showing." Allende's proclivity toward lengthy explanations of character's qualities and motivations were sometimes intriguing as they possessed all the quirks and illogical aspects of real people. However, those explanations gave the reader little ability to interpret characters or the action. In fact, there was little action period since so much time was I had to make myself finish this book, not because it was bad but because I was "merely" uninterested. This novel is full of "telling," not "showing." Allende's proclivity toward lengthy explanations of character's qualities and motivations were sometimes intriguing as they possessed all the quirks and illogical aspects of real people. However, those explanations gave the reader little ability to interpret characters or the action. In fact, there was little action period since so much time was spent in exposition. I don't always need fiction to have a point or to illuminate new ways of thinking for me but I found this novel so lacking in anything I could mull over, that I quickly lost steam.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    As I was finishing up this book on my train ride into work, a particular passage resonated with me. Allende does a masterful job of weaving together characters as they begin to know themselves and heal from old psychic wounds. Later in the day, I was discussing new plans with my co-worker who said, "Thinking of yourself as a failure for moving back home is such a white people thing." I immediately pulled out this book, because she reiterated the same passage that I found so significant earlier: As I was finishing up this book on my train ride into work, a particular passage resonated with me. Allende does a masterful job of weaving together characters as they begin to know themselves and heal from old psychic wounds. Later in the day, I was discussing new plans with my co-worker who said, "Thinking of yourself as a failure for moving back home is such a white people thing." I immediately pulled out this book, because she reiterated the same passage that I found so significant earlier: "There are no such things as failure and success, Greg; those are gringo inventions. You just live, that's all, the best you can, a little every day; it's like a journey without a destination; it's the getting there that counts."

  19. 4 out of 5

    Loredana (Bookinista08)

    Incredible book!! I can't believe it's the same author as the Daughter of Fortune's. Though I'm not such a big fan of entire life stories (Forsythe Saga style), I completely enjoyed this novel, especially because of Allende's masterful story-telling technique. I can now understand her obsession with marginalized people's lives: they're simply fascinating! Moreover, she creates characters that stay with you long after the read is finished. I loved Carmen's character and detested Gregory's, but I Incredible book!! I can't believe it's the same author as the Daughter of Fortune's. Though I'm not such a big fan of entire life stories (Forsythe Saga style), I completely enjoyed this novel, especially because of Allende's masterful story-telling technique. I can now understand her obsession with marginalized people's lives: they're simply fascinating! Moreover, she creates characters that stay with you long after the read is finished. I loved Carmen's character and detested Gregory's, but I still have to admit that they were well-contoured. While reading those almost 400 pages, I became so engrossed in the story that my heart sometimes ached because of the horrors of war or of personal struggles. Definitely recommended!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    The Infinite Plan was a book club selection which prompted an interesting discussion. The main character lacked self-awareness and reading his life story and watching him make the same mistakes over and over again was tedious. Some of us were bothered by that, others felt the ending was worth the read. The main character is based on the author's second husband, who apparently lived the full life explored in this novel. This is the author's first novel set mostly in the US and it was not as well The Infinite Plan was a book club selection which prompted an interesting discussion. The main character lacked self-awareness and reading his life story and watching him make the same mistakes over and over again was tedious. Some of us were bothered by that, others felt the ending was worth the read. The main character is based on the author's second husband, who apparently lived the full life explored in this novel. This is the author's first novel set mostly in the US and it was not as well reviewed as her previous work. I have The Japanese Lover on my shelf and I will pick it up and read it at some point, as I will give Isabel Allende another try.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Bacon

    Look, it's Isabel Allende: I can't give her the same number of stars I give bad YA novels. BUT, I'm not sure it is really a 4. There is great beauty in this novel, some majestic writing, some keeper-characters, but there is also a loping repetition that can grate somewhat. I had the sense that the editor assigned to the book said, "Look, it's Isabel Allende: I can't make her cut the same number of pages I would the author of a bad YA novel." (Did you see what I did there? With the grating Look, it's Isabel Allende: I can't give her the same number of stars I give bad YA novels. BUT, I'm not sure it is really a 4. There is great beauty in this novel, some majestic writing, some keeper-characters, but there is also a loping repetition that can grate somewhat. I had the sense that the editor assigned to the book said, "Look, it's Isabel Allende: I can't make her cut the same number of pages I would the author of a bad YA novel." (Did you see what I did there? With the grating repetition? ;-)) Anyway, I am glad I read it, and would read it again, but it is not in my list of top 5 Allende books.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Megi

    One of the best books i have read so far. The characters of this story are amazing. Each one of them goes through so much in life and yet they get back up stronger. I loved the story of Gregory , i loved that he was fragile , that he was a fighter in life and that he got back up again. I was reading this book through a flight to Amsterdam and from the moment i got up on the plane and to the moment it finished i could not put it down.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Priscilla

    The Infinite Plan is, literally, one of the worst books I’ve ever read. It was painful start to finish. The prose was overdone and unnecessarily verbose, the characters ridiculous and the plot entirely unengaging. Not one person in book club liked this one and it, in fact, became a marker (ie “At least it wasn’t as bad as The Infinite Plan.”) Hard to believe this is the same person who wrote The House of Spirits.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karenbike Patterson

    Allende should stick to her mystical romanticism which she writes "without thinking." This new style of writing her first wholly American novel in a masculine voice feels remote and reads like a newspaper article. While it is semi biographical about her husband, it still reads dry and impersonal with two page paragraphs and stylized characters.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I need to stop blindly grabbing books by authors that I like without looking at what the book is about. I generally like Allende's books a lot but there are few stinkers in her oeuvre and this one did nothing for me. Not to pigeon hole her writing but she has a strong voice that works well for certain types of stories - this was not one of them. oh well.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Therese

    If you are a fan of Isabel Allende and I thought I was, this book is awful. It seems that she is taking her readers for granted and becoming a bit of a cliche. The story is redundant and predictable and is not at all in the spirit of her othe books. I cannot even get through it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brenan

    I love Isabel Allende. This book, which was different than any of her other books that I have read (first one in the modern United States with a white, male lead) was stunning. I loved it, and it makes me want to reread all of her books that I have read in the past. She is an amazing writer.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Helena

    I struggled through this book only because I do not put a book down once I started reading it. Also because I am an optimist and kept on hoping that it will become better. It was never ending...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leann Hatfield

    first book I have ever not finished struggled to read a chapter at a time

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Barnes

    This book took me quite awhile to get through (with a major three month break to do my dissertation)! But the last part is just magical.

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