Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Entertainment
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Isabel Allende apologizes for saying she was not a mystery fan; says she was misunderstood

FILE - In this May 3, 2010 photo, Chilean writer Isabel Allende poses during an interview in New York. The million-selling author, whose latest book is a thriller that updates the story of Jack the Ripper, angered many when during a recent interview with NPR she said that her novel was a “joke.” During a telephone interview Friday with The Associated Press, Allende said that her comments themselves were a joke, a joke that didn’t work. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, File)

Enlarge Image

FILE - In this May 3, 2010 photo, Chilean writer Isabel Allende poses during an interview in New York. The million-selling author, whose latest book is a thriller that updates the story of Jack the Ripper, angered many when during a recent interview with NPR she said that her novel was a “joke.” During a telephone interview Friday with The Associated Press, Allende said that her comments themselves were a joke, a joke that didn’t work. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, File)

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Isabel Allende would like to apologize to all the fans and writers of mystery novels.

Not everyone is forgiving her.

The million-selling author, whose latest book, "Ripper," is a thriller that updates the story of Jack the Ripper, angered many when, during a recent interview with NPR, she said that her novel was a "joke."

During a telephone interview Friday with The Associated Press, Allende said her comments themselves were a joke, a joke that didn't work. She said she had great respect for mystery fiction and noted that she was married to a mystery writer, William C. Gordon.

"Sometimes my humour doesn't come through," Allende explained, adding that she was trying to be self-deprecating. "I am so sorry that I wasn't clear. I take my writing very seriously and I have tried many genres and I've always done it in a very serious way."

Best known for such works of magical realism as "The House of the Spirits," Allende was interviewed last month for NPR's "All Things Considered." Allende said on the program that she was "not a fan of mysteries" and that she had a hard time connecting to some of the recent best- sellers.

"It's too gruesome, too violent, too dark; there's no redemption there. And the characters are just awful. Bad people. Very entertaining, but really bad people," she said. "So I thought, I will take the genre, write a mystery that is faithful to the formula and to what the readers expect, but it is a joke."

The owner of a Houston store, Murder By The Book, was so offended by the NPR interview that she sent back copies she had ordered of "Ripper." Allende has emailed a letter to the owner, McKenna Jordan, saying that her remarks were an attempt at a "lighter tone" during a "grueling book tour" and that she treated "Ripper" no less seriously than her other novels.

"For 'Ripper,' I worked an average of 10 to 12 hours a day, writing, researching, rethinking, reworking for six months, seven days a week, until I felt satisfied with my final draft," she wrote in the letter, which Allende's publisher, HarperCollins, shared with the AP. "And then I edited for three more months afterward. It was truly no joke for me."

Jordan, speaking by phone Friday to the AP, said she appreciated that Allende had written to her, but called the apology "halfhearted and self-serving."

"She was probably pushed into the apology by her publisher," said Jordan, who has no current plans to restock the book. "I understand she may have had a bad day when she spoke to NPR, but when you're doing a national interview, you don't have the opportunity to have a bad day."

Allende, 71, is one of the world's most popular novelists, and her comments were hurtful in part because they are so familiar to the communities of mystery, romance and other "genre fiction" that have a long history of feeling dismissed by advocates of "literary" fiction. "The whole heart of the matter is that Allende said publicly the same things that have often been said privately," Jordan said.

The lines between "commercial" and "literary" fiction have blurred often in recent years, with such prize-winning authors as Thomas Pynchon and Michael Chabon writing detective stories and such "genre" authors as Ray Bradbury and Elmore Leonard receiving honorary National Book Awards.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
Submit a Random Act of Kindness
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media