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Wednesday’s Wise Women … Eva Luna, Consuela and Isabel Allende

May 23, 2012

Although it is a long time since I read Eva Luna by Isabel Allende parts have stayed vivid in my mind.
Consuela was abandoned as a baby and grew up poorly nourished and uneducated until she was rescued with some other girls and taken to a convent .  She didn’t like the closed environment  and didn’t take kindly to the religious instruction.  Although she did spend much time in the chapel.  Rumour suggested that Consuela was blessed with heavenly visions.  The mother superior was not fooled by this; soon realised that Consuela was not saintly but a incurable daydreamer.  So as soon as her training was complete; Consuela was found employment in the house of a foreign  doctor called Professor Jones. Hereafter, Isabel Allende’s story of geo-political uprisings of Latin America unfolds and we learn how Consuela and Eva Luna survived the oppression of religion, men, politics and life by the story telling and daydreams.
Eva luna was conceived on her father’s deathbed; an Indian who had been bitten by a venomous snake.  When she was born a girl it was suggested that this was unlucky. However her mother, Consuelo who was not put off by this said ‘as she had been born feet first she was lucky!’  And despite the  advice of the midwife, she decided not to have the baby christened.  Also, she would not give her a  ‘last’ name -her father’s name was unimportant. Choosing to call her Eva so she will ‘ love life.’ ; her father belonged to the Luna tribe, the Children of the Moon; Consuela named her Eva Luna.
The umbilical had been tied and cut by the impromptu midwife.  Then her mother checked the  baby for any abnormality caused by the venom from her father. She breathed a sigh of relief when there was none.
She remained healthy and rebellious; traits that she says were inherited from her father who ‘must have been very strong to fight off the serpent’s venom for many days and give a woman pleasure when he was so near death.’ Everything else she owed to her mother.

Her mother, she tells us was a silent person who could camouflage herself and never made a commotion.  However, in the privacy of their home she came alive telling stories of incredible landscapes, unimaginable objects from faraway countries that she invented or borrowed from the professor’s library…
I will not perhaps reread the book in the near future but I will dip in again to remind myself that wisdom is a gift and we don’t all have it.

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