The Wind Knows My Name

Ballantine. Jun. 2023. 272p. tr. from Spanish by Francis Riddle. ISBN 9780593598108. $28. F
In Allende’s latest study of love, suffering, and the steady reach of the past, five-year-old violin prodigy Samuel Adler waves goodbye to his mother in 1938 Vienna as he boards a train that will allow him to escape the Nazis while decades later seven-year-old Anita Díaz is pulled from her mother at the U.S.-Mexico border after they flee El Salvador for safety. As the narrative unfolds Samuel’s childhood in England, move to the United States as he passionately discovers jazz, and marriage to the freewheeling Nadine, his story converges beautifully with that of Anita, told through the efforts of Selena Durán to rescue her from the institutionalized cruelty of the U.S. immigration system. Selena is founder of the Magnolia Project, designed to help children like Anita, which brings in a lawyer named Frank who starts by falling for Selena and ends by embracing the project. Meanwhile, readers learn about Letitia, who fled the terrors of the El Mozote massacre as a child and whose story binds together all these characters.
VERDICT From those who sought to help the Adlers in Vienna to the bonds between Samuel and his wife, Selena and Anita, and Anita and her grandmother, there’s much love in a book whose poles are moments of great violence. Classic Allende enlarging her framework, as she did with A Long Petal of the Sea and Violeta.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing