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The Infinite Plan: A Novel
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The Infinite Plan: A Novel (Paperback)
by Isabel Allende (Author) "They traveled the roads and byways of the West, unhurriedly and with no set itinerary, changing their route according to the whim of the moment,..." (more)
Key Phrases: infinite plan, Gregory Reeves, Juan José, Charles Reeves (more...)
  4.1 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews (19 customer reviews)  

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Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
A richly embroidered, ambitious tale, Allende's latest novel charts one man's spiritual progress against five decades of history and cultural change. Allende relies less on her customary magical realism (The House of the Spirits ) than on concrete, often graphic details in her first attempt to depict North American characters and settings. Greg Reeves, the son of an itinerant preacher who claims that life is governed by an infinite plan, spends the latter part of his childhood in the L.A. barrio where his family settled when their father became ill. His best friend and soul mate there is Carmen Morales, the daughter of a hospitable Latino family. The novel follows Greg and, to a lesser extent, Carmen through turbulent experiences as each searches for identity. Greg discovers several different kinds of racial discrimination in the crowded barrio; later, he taps into the social and sexual revolution in Berkeley; and he suffers through the crucible of Vietnam, from which he emerges determined to become rich and powerful no matter the cost in morality or peace of mind. He enters into disastrous marriages with two beautiful women, both of whom, he belatedly realizes, resemble his passive, remote mother; he also fails as a father. Allende's intensely imagined prose has clarity and dimension; she describes the exotic and the mundane with equal skill. The rambling, diffuse narrative nicely mirrors the random quality of life itself: Greg discovers that "there is no infinite plan, just the strife of living." In portraying Greg as all too human and fallible, however, Allende risks making him an unsympathetic character. By the time he gains insight into the emotional factors that govern his personality ("at last I felt in control of my destiny . . . the most important thing was to search for my soul . . ."), readers may have tired of his self-destructive behavior. 100,000 first printing; $125,000 ad/promo; BOMC alternate ; author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal
This novel by renowned Chilean author Allende ( House of Spirits , LJ 4/15/85) is the story of Gregory Reeves's journey from childhood to middle age and long-sought peace and happiness. Gregory's journey is marked by the contending philosophies of his mother's Bahai faith; his father's personally revealed, metaphysical explanation of the universe, called "The Infinite Plan" (the selling of which provides the family's income); and the traditional Catholicism and sense of nostalgia that permeate the Latin barrio where Gregory lives as a child. Though the book is not provocative and the plot is somewhat predictable, it is held together by a deep interest in the colorful, enchanting characters and their evolving relationships to one another. This is recommended for all fiction collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/93.
- Sherri Cutler, Brennemann Lib. , Children's Memorial Medical Ctr. , Chicago
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

Inside This Book (learn more)
First Sentence:
They traveled the roads and byways of the West, unhurriedly and with no set itinerary, changing their route according to the whim of the moment, the premonitory sign of a flock of birds, the lure of an unknown name. Read the first page
Key Phrases - Statistically Improbable Phrases (SIPs): (learn more)
infinite plan
Key Phrases - Capitalized Phrases (CAPs): (learn more)
Gregory Reeves, Juan José, Charles Reeves, Timothy Duane, Pedro Morales, Nora Reeves, Carmen Morales, Leo Galupi, The Infinite Plan, Inmaculada Morales, King Benedict, Mike Tong, Ming O'Brien, Padre Larraguibel, Ernestina Pereda, San Francisco, United States, Thui Nguyen, Divine Sciences, Jim Morgan, Bel Benedict, Tom Clayton, Judy Reeves, Los Angeles, Master Functionaries
Books on Related Topics | Concordance | Text Stats
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover | Surprise Me!
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Citations (learn more)

Books on Related Topics (learn more)
Isabel Allende by Karen Castellucci Cox

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Customer Reviews
19 Reviews
5 star: 42%  (8)
4 star: 36%  (7)
3 star: 10%  (2)
2 star: 5%  (1)
1 star: 5%  (1)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
3.0 out of 5 stars Allende's weakest offering, August 16, 2000
By Tim Lieder "Founder of Dybbuk Press" (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)      
Usually when I read a book by Isabelle Allende I am mesmerized and eagerly turning pages waiting for another revelation. In this book I was just bored and disappointed.

The main character is the child of a minister whose "Infinite Plan" sounds more like New Age speculation than revival preaching. He is raised in the Barrio where almost every character confirms to the whole Latin Men are sexy but sexist stereotype and when he grows up to be a lawyer, he's a complete creep.

I can see that Allende's purpose is to take a likeable character, transform him into a jerk (as he warns you on about page 100 or so) and then slowly bring him back to humanity (there is one line about how he thought he was moving in circles but he was actually moving in spirals - I still remember that one.) but by the time he gets to his resolution, you still don't like him that much. He's been such a self-absorbed yuppie that you want to smack him upside the head a few more times.

The rest of the characters are either awful or poorly drawn charactitures. There is the daughter who becomes a drug addict (and the main character realizes that its not his fault that his kid is such a screwup but then again, it kinda is his fault) and there's his best friend from the Barrio who has some strength and you really wish that she was in another book and not hanging out with these losers. There's the father who's mysterious and the sister that's constantly angry. There's also te best friend that is loud and abrasive.

Now, this is still an Isabelle Allende book and as an Isabelle Allende book it has some great emotional highs and lows and some memorable scenes. It just isn't as sustained as her masterworks like House of Spirits or Eva Luna.

A common complaint among women readers is that men who try to write women characters usually get them wrong. They are either window dressing or so obviously stereotypical as to be surreal. This book seems to be Allende's attempt to write a book from the male perspective. It's a failure, but it's an interesting failure. A better portrayal of the emotional lives of men would either be Fight CLub or High Fidelity (either the movies or the books are great)

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars Not her bset piece of work but readable., May 12, 2003
By armena (glendale, ca USA) - See all my reviews
I read this book because I have enjoyed the other ones by Allende. This book's main character is a male and I found that her characterization of females is much more interesting than males. The tale told here was well done but not the best of her work. I enjoyed the many colorful characters and would have preferred a book about Olga.

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Isabel will tell you yourself..., July 30, 2002
Isabel would be able to tell every story, to put a reason in the life of every person. In reading the life of Gregory Reeves, I had the impression that the dreams, hopes and hidden reasons of my life were becoming clear to myself. Reading her books is like telling her your story, and waiting for her to give it a reason and, at the same time, to put poetry in it, to make it worth to be told.
In her narration, also the feelings, the pains, the irrational of an existence are put in a rational light. But nonetheless her writing does not loose the poetry of the irrational that she shares with other South-American writers, like Marquez or Amado.
I'd say that the secret of her books is really this merging of rational and irrational, the sense and order of feelings and the mysterious poetry of what seems rational.

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Most Recent Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars Allende's Brilliant Invitation to Romantic Diversity

Isabel Allende's THE INFINITE PLAN poses a unique question: namely, what happens when a writer born in Chile authors a book about an Australian immigrant's son who... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Author-Poet Aberjhani

5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece
An interesting family saga in which the author deals with many social issues - many of which are current today. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Paula C. Aird

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Find!
I picked this up from the library shelf on a whim, having read and loved "Daughter of Fortune" and other Allende books. What a great find! Read more
Published 20 months ago by newsgirl151

4.0 out of 5 stars Life as It Is
Isabel Allende's The Infinite Plan is a well developed novel that explores themes such as identity, race, and belonging. Read more
Published on January 18, 2006 by Ari

3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Read
This is generally well-written, but Allende made the characters represent too much of their entire culture, and so they are not very believable. Read more
Published on August 14, 2005 by SC Reader

4.0 out of 5 stars Travels with Gregory
Gregory Reeves goes through some stuff.

Growing up in the East Los Angeles barrio, his mother a Russian immigrant and his father an itinerant preacher (of sorts),... Read more
Published on May 17, 2005 by Kris

4.0 out of 5 stars The Infinite Plan
This is the first Isabel Allende book I've read, and it certainly won't be the last. The story is absorbing and the characters are so interesting.
Published on January 22, 2005 by winkee5000

5.0 out of 5 stars My Adventure into The Infinite Plan
It all started a hot summer day here in Taipei. My brother was here on vacation, before he went off to university. Read more
Published on February 20, 2004 by Carlos Guzman

5.0 out of 5 stars Gringo manchild
The infinite plan which Charles Reeves administered left no room for doubts. Life stories repeat themselves over and over with few variations Olga, the midwife, healer, and... Read more
Published on July 15, 2003 by Mary E. Sibley

1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I am a very big fan of Isabel Allende, but I just couldn't get into this book. It was okay, but her other books are better.
Published on December 3, 2002 by Kelly

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