Eva Luna is the story of a poor girl with a great gift for storytelling who, because of her indomitable spirit, manages to survive a perilous youth and become a successful television scriptwriter. The title character of the novel is also the narrator. Even when Eva herself could not have witnessed what she describes, the implication is that she is faithfully reporting what she has been told by those who were present and thus, in a sense, making those events a part of her own narrative. Since all the people mentioned affect Eva’s own history, these stories are an essential part of her life.
The book begins with Eva’s birth, the product of the sole sexual encounter of her parents. Her mother, Consuelo, a servant of unknown parentage, had decided to console an Indian gardener who was presumed to be dying from snakebite. When he recovered and went back to the jungle, he left Consuelo pregnant. Even though she died when Eva was only six years old, Consuelo remained an important part of her life, primarily because she told her such fascinating stories.
Allende then moves back in time to introduce Rolf Carlé, the son of Lukas Carlé, an Austrian schoolmaster. Rolf was a baby when his father went to war; during his father’s absence, Rolf has made him into a hero. Unfortunately, when Lukas returns, he is so tyrannical that by comparison the Russian occupation troops seem angelic.
Although Allende does not bring Eva and Rolf together until almost the end of her novel, she continues to trace his adventures as well as hers. For example, in one chapter Eva tells about her mother’s death, her employment in a household where only the cook, Elvira, treats her with kindness, and her meeting with a street boy, Huberto Naranjo, who becomes her protector. In the next, she describes Rolf’s reaction when his father is murdered by his...
(The entire section is 764 words.)