My Invented Country is a memoir in which truth is most definitely stranger than fiction. Exploring the events of her life and those of the country in which she lived until the assassination of her father’s cousin, President Salvador Allende, in Pinochet’s military coup, Allende takes us on a highly personal tour through her homeland, bringing it to life. This is where her grandfather saw the devil on a bus, recognizing him because of his “green cloven hooves like a billy goat,” and her great aunt sprouted wings. It is a place of love charms, ghosts, and continual family feuds.

Portraits of her family and friends jostle with vivid descriptions of local customs and beliefs, and through it all strides the indomitable figure of the young Isabel. Rebellious and passionate, a feminist long before she knew what feminism was, her love for (and sometimes exasperation with) Chile informs every line. Her experiences make for unforgettable, often hilarious reading that no admirer of Allende’s writing will want to miss.