jueves, 22 de abril de 2010


By: Felipe Argote

Dance, dance, Zarité, because slave who dances is free... while dancing.

Toulouse Valmorain is summoned to a remote island called Saint Domingue, formerly called Haiti by the natives Arahucos, to work temporarily with the planting of his ailing father. He never suspected that the illness of his father was syphilis and he, himself, would be in charge of the plantation until the slave revolution that achieved independence from the French colony.

But most of the history of the novel, The Island Under the Sea is the story of Zarité, the beautiful slave with whom the slave owner had a son and a daughter, how she survived the cruelty of his master and about the uprising of the slaves which led to corollary the only triumph of an insurrection of slaves who have triumphed in all of history.

Zarité does not live but survives as a domestic slave since child silently suffering inhuman treatment of his master, rapes and being witness to the cruelty of the overseer to the slaves of the plantation. Staying alive, just gnawing their hatred with the hope of escaping to freedom.

But when slave uprising finally arrived to the plantation instead of collecting his revenge she saves the life of her master just because he was the father of her children. This rewards her with the promise of freedom but he never thought he was going to make this come true. Not even worth the nobility of Zarité for the cruel slave owner to tell her where was her first male child who had been given to somebody else, according to custom, to avoid the male bastard to dare to the future ownership dispute with his step-son the son of the slave owner´s legitimate wife.

Also the story is about her emigration to New Orleans Zarité always as a slave, and finally that although freedom is not much better than the life they suffered, there can be nothing worse than slavery.

The Island Under the Sea, which gives the title to the novel, is a paradise after death, according to the religion brought by African slaves who survived despite the ban on pain of death by the evil slave owner´s Christians that branded as demonic. For the slave the cultivation of sugar cane was so demanding that people did not work but using beast as they call black people who had an average life of eighteen months.

Isabel Allende since its first publication "The House of Spirits" in 1982, has done nothing but surprise us with a fluent pen, high literary value, capable of developing such diverse topics as "Ines del Alma Mía" which recounts the colonization de Chile and "The City of the Beasts", a youth adventure. Isabel Allende is undoubtedly one of the best writers today. Born in Perú to Chilean parents has lived since 1988 in California. We recommend The Island Under the Sea because it is one of the best historical novels I have read and Isabel Allende, one of the best novelists.

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