Novels that engage readers with social issues

I really enjoy books that educate and entertain. I just read Isabel Allende’s novel ‘A Long Petal of the Sea’. The book opens in Spain at the time of the civil war when the main characters are desperately trying to flee a country in turmoil. They are given visas to the South American country where I come from. My native Chile provides them with refuge so they can start over and make a good life for themselves. But after thirty years of living in Chile, the protagonists find themselves in the midst of another political upheaval which wreaks havoc on their lives once again. The author draws from her personal life and tells a story about love and displacement that is close to my heart. I can see Santiago, the city I was born, through Allende’s eyes. She describes Chilean society coming apart; its class differences, cultural biases, religious and gender prejudices and how repression plays out.

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