In her new novel, The Ripper game published by Vintage Spanish, Isabel Allende has-been devoted to butchering. But not in the way of her serial murderer who terrorizes the city of San Francisco, and whose crimes are investigated by Amanda, the young protagonist of the book, aided by a group of internet users who are entertained by a cyber game, Ripper, in the assuming roles.
What this author with sales of around 60 million books has done (Besides having fun) is slashed the perception about her as a writer of only a certain type of literature: magical realism.
A few weeks after being published, Allende’s new novel is among the best sellers list in the United States. The Ripper game is her first incursion into crime novels. Isabel Allende chatted with us.
You had announced your retirement in 2011. What made you decide to write a book like this?
My husband [lawyer and mystery novelist William C. Gordon] got sick … we’ve had three difficult years. And when I announced that I was going to retire, my agent said, ‘No, you cannot retire, you still have to write a novel with your husband.’ Willie writes detective novels, and we started to think of something to do together and of course it did not work. He writes in English and I write in Spanish. I do research thoroughly, he makes everything up. It’s been hard, but I think this year we’re doing better.
You have written different types of books and this is the first “dark” novel. Why did you wait so long to venture into this genre?
Had my agent not suggested it, it would have never happened. It’s a genre that appeals to me particularly because it’s a formula. It is like a contract between the reader and the author, in which the two are very familiar with the signs.
The story of Ripper is very contemporary and has a lot of realism, not magical realism. Even you make a mention about it in the novel.
Some things are magical in the book, but because they happen in California they are not called magic realism. In Latin America, is called magical realism, but as it happens here, no.
California itself is already a mystical site and San Francisco is full of strange characters.
San Francisco is a great character in many detective stories, in movies and in television series because it is a fantastic city, so beautiful, diverse, and with fog. When there is fog, you have the best crime stories, have you noticed?
About the Author
Isabel Allende is Chilean and has lived in San Francisco since 1987. She is the most read Latin American writer in the world. She has published 20 books and her works have been translated into 35 languages. Allende has won over 50 awards in 16 countries.
Interview by Juan Carlos Pérez-Duthie of www.tintafresca.us