30 May 2016

The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende - Book Review

Although this is a truth most people will disagree with, I am a believer that books (only books - not people haha) could be (partly) judged by their cover. Why is that? Simply because the effort put into the creation of a work by an author and the message that is going to send is of vital importance. Allende did this well in her large paperback edition of The Japanese Lover, that has a beautiful and fairly abstract cover (it is related to the story but endorses a different image than what it's actually about) and a wide, easy font. 

The Japanese Lover is a beautifully written novel about two amazing women: Irina, a Moldovan girl who works at a hospice to forget the shadows of a dark past, and Alma, a Polish and North American woman who's lived her life to the fullest but who's still got a lot to tell. Life brings Irina and Alma together and unites them through the respective curiosity and love for a mysterious and unforgotten figure, that of the Japanese lover.

My favourite character was Alma as in her life she struggles a lot but always finds a way to be strong, both for herself and the people around her. Not only she has to flee her country because of the war when she is too young, but she is forced to choose for history and against love and make many sacrifices. Despite all, she stays positive and strong and can see the good in things. On the other hand, Irina is a well portrayed character but is young and has less of an impact, even though her role in the book is fundamental.

The topic of love, Allende's best mastery in most of her books, is depicted in a strong but graceful way and never gets cheesy or pathetic. Allende isn't as strong in history, where lots of approximate statements are made, and where explanations are a bit general. However, that didn't take away the good nature of the book.

The book is written very well, the English translation being right in each line. I enjoyed mentally comparing the words to what they would have been in Spanish and realised the hard work that put into the transitions by the two translators.

I gave the book 5 stars on Goodreads for its smooth structure and style, and Allende's classical magic that can't be found elsewhere. This is a strong novel for love, history and sacrifice. I recommend it to anyone looking for a beautiful book.

My edition: Isabel Allende, 2015. The Japanese Lover. London: Atria Books. Pages: 322. Amazing edition as previously said!

Stars on Goodreads: 5/5.

If you liked this, then you're gonna like this!


  1. I totally agree when you say that you can judge a book by the cover: the cover is the only thing catching your eye while walking in a book shop! I love Isabel Allende so so so so much, but I have not read this book yet: I just write it down on my to-write list!


    1. That's so true! And obviously if a cover doesn't look catchy it means the author probably didn't put much effort into it. I really like Allende as well, but have only read a few books by her. I need more! :)