Isle of Passion: A Novel
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In 1908, under orders to defend a tiny, isolated Pacific atoll from an improbable French invasion, Mexican captain Ramón Arnaud, his young bride, Alicia, and eleven soldiers and their families set sail for the so-called Isle of Passion. In this dire, forbidding place, a viable community is created under Ramón's guidance and inspired by Alicia's dedication. But they are soon forgotten by a motherland distracted by political upheaval and the first rumblings of World War I. Left to the mercies of nature and one another—falling victim one by one to disease, hunger, lust, despair, and, ultimately, violence—the castaways who remain must find strength in the courage and steadfast resourcefulness of Alicia Arnaud, upon whom their collective survival now depends.
Based on true events, Laura Restrepo's Isle of Passion is a brilliantly rendered and dramatic tale of savage human nature—and one woman's determination to triumph over a harrowing fate.
thought it was a lair, but it proved to be the entrance to its great interior space. With the help of ropes, they dropped down inside the cave, convinced they had at last found the place where Clipperton the pirate had hidden his treasure. From the top opening, a cone of sunlight penetrated the interior, interrupted from every direction by thousands of bats in blind flight. In all the surrounding darkness there was a bitter, sticky smell like the musk of a caged animal, secreted by the glands of
if it were up to him, he would dump those Dutch people into the ocean and make them leave the same way they came.” “And how come people can now understand what he says?” “They don’t. Victoriano tells them. Maybe that German is only saying Hail Marys and Victoriano translates him the way he wants to. Who knows.” The animosity against the Dutch was growing like a red tide. The Clipperton people closed their eyes when they went past the Nokomis, not to see the wreck. They also closed their eyes
saw the Cleveland sailing away and felt sorry for Captain Williams, with his little artificial, comfortable corner, his eau de cologne, velour-covered chairs, cognac glasses; Captain Williams, backed by the easy security of his powerful ship. Ramón thought that he did not envy him—or at least, not much—because this time he, Ramón Arnaud, had been the true prince, the dandy, the tough son of a bitch. His decision to stay made him feel pleased with himself, fulfilled, big; and the loyalty of his
him away from me. I must find Ramón.” Alicia and Tirsa ran toward the southern rock. Seeing them go away, Ramoncito screamed, and with so much crying and hiccups, he could barely breathe. The other children, meanwhile, were playing blindman’s buff. The two women climbed up to the lighthouse and searched in all directions until their eyes hurt. The fog had grown thicker, and it was like a veil occasionally parted by the sharp fins of the sharks. Nightfall found them still there, battered by the
met the German fellow again, who had never stopped looking for her, and they married. She had the good luck then of having an adoring husband who had established himself in Mexico in order to be with her, and who was totally devoted to her. He took her with him to live in the Water House in Acapulco, and since he always treated her like a princess, the local people called her ‘the Princess of the Water House.’ “So she never had to work again, Schultz put three servants and a gardener at her