Matilde Urrutia, Author, Alexandria Giardino, Translator , trans. from the Spanish by Alexandria Giardino. Stanford Univ. $27.95 (312p) ISBN 978-0-8047-5009-7

Much like Chilean poet Neruda's own glittering lyrics, his muse and widow Urrutia has penned a memoir that sparkles freshly with a love of family, nature and homeland. Memorialized by the Nobel laureate in his poems as "Rosario" and as the woman with Medusa-like hair, Urrutia was first glimpsed by Neruda at a concert in 1946, but it was three years before they met again, when she became his nurse as he was recovering from phlebitis. Neruda had to flee Chile because of his political views, and Urrutia soon joined him, inaugurating this famed literary romance. Sandwiched between accounts of Neruda's death shortly after the Pinochet coup in 1973 and her own persecution by the Chilean government are Urrutia's lyrical reminiscences of her love with Neruda. "Our easygoing, playful friendship, which we had considered to be at most simply mischievous, had just transformed into a complicated battle of emotions. Now our relationship would bring us... an abundance of joy, but it would also bring us grief and desperation." Urrutia draws strength from her husband's writings after his death as she faces her fears of remaining silent in the face of injustice. Her graceful prose offers not only a glimpse of her life with the great poet but also a portrait of the nobility of suffering under an unjust political regime. B&w photos. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/27/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
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