Why does Harold Bloom think that Isabel Allende is a "bad writer"?


Harold Bloom

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Harold Bloom does not seem to be a supporter of either Isabel Allende or her writing. In an introductory essay to a book on Isabel Allende, Isabel Allende (MCV) (Bloom's Modern Critical Views), Bloom openly states that Allende is a "bad writer."

Literary critic Harold Bloom concurs with Bolaño that Allende is a bad writer, and adds that she only reflects a determinate period and that afterwards everybody will have forgotten her.

Taken from Bloom's only critical response to Allende's work, the following quote denotes his extreme displeasure as a writer.

“I can locate no aesthetic achievement in the immensely popular The House of the Spirits, or in Paula, or in the recent Daughter of Fortune (Oprah's Book Club). Is this imaginative literature, or is it something else? Journalistically and historically, it has the accents of truth, and morally it is heroic, but is it persuasive as novelistic art? Is Isabel Allende truly comparable to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or are we to seek her peers at a very different level, in the cosmos of supermarket fiction?”

Essentially, Bloom does not think that Allende's works are aesthetic (meaning neither beautiful not adhering to the characteristics of the period). Given the texts, according to Bloom, fail to adhere to a specific genre or period, he cannot identify the style of the texts as fitting into a specific place. That said, Bloom cannot identify if Allende is being imaginative or realistic. While he does seem to lightly applaud Allende's "accents of truth," he cannot find anything noteworthy regarding its persuasive ability. In the end, Bloom seems to believe that Allende's works only belong upon supermarket shelves (denoting their cheapness and worthlessness).


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