Inés of My Soul by Isabel Allende
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“You will find, señora, that these conquistadors have no shame. They arrive as beggars, they act like thieves, and then they behave as if they were lords of the world.”
These conquistadors from Spain once came to my country, the Philippines, and lived like the lords of the world. The horrendous things happened to Chile were the same things happened to my country: they took advantage of our land and resources, abused our natives, ruined our culture, and imposed their religion. The Indians in their land, however, were different from our natives. Indians fought endlessly unlike the Filipinos who embraced the presence of the conquistadors. I don’t know if it was because of inherent hospitality of the Filipinos or the desire to avoid of conflict. As a result, the Spaniards colonized us for more than 300 years.
Inés of My Soul is a fresh perspective to read. I usually read about being colonized because of our history–not from the eyes of the colonizers. Inés Suárez wrote about her love and adventures from Spain to Peru and Chile. Her manuscripts were for her daughter to read. These were mostly ignored by historians for centuries. I think it was mainly because of her gender. I am glad that Allende took the chance to make a woman’s voice be heard. A female historian is rarely acknowledged.
“Courage is a virtue appreciated in a male but considered a defect in our gender. Bold women are a threat to a world that is badly out of balance, in favor of men. That is why they work so hard to mistreat us and destroy us. But remember that bold women are like cockroaches: step on one and others come running from the corners.”
The autobiographical book was woven by intuition of Isabel Allende, meticulously crafted and researched. Any similar historical fact is no coincidence.
“We are off to Chile, Inés of my soul. .”
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