Harsimran Kaur ON June 19, 2023, IN BOOK REVIEW, THE WIND KNOWS MY NAME BY ISABEL ALLENDE-FICTION
Eight year old Anita Diaz buries herself in a waft of nostalgia, talking to her dead sister about the ripening tears that fall in a hurry; rolling it makes ‘dread’ a mightier meat to eat and hiding them of course is honorary to the debilitating self. She fastidiously tricks her mind to emolliently sift her inglorious past to see reality as a persistent belief. Every day the wait for her mother becomes like a dried leaf waiting for some pours to lift it, fondly reminiscing the saccharine love which is nowenlivened by incantation of sentiments. Soft and supple, alone in Arizona in the year 2019, Anita is apprehended by scare of men and the incorrigible phantom ofdeath resisting the backlashes, but is finally awakened to a gust of wind that rubbles her in a coarse spread, forlorn, to where she belongs.
There are many kids like Anita who wait for the tapestry of winds to carry them to their parents, a separation ordained by human neglect and insensitivity. But the winds know their name and are set to take them where they belong. It all starts with the wars and dangers that loom over like a threatening bolt forcing the oppressed to migrate to United States. But all this is not easily taken by the government to finally form policies to deport the migrants back to their native place. The kids left isolated from their parents go through excruciating hell breathing inconsolably in camps to be taken over by foster homes.
Isabel Allende, the best-selling author of ‘The House of Spirits’ and ‘Island Beneath the Sea’ assures that no matter how tragedies strike us or how volatile the excrescence of life has been, all these insinuations are like a pebble swayed by the heedless toe to help us glance of the probable risk that awaits us. ‘The Wind Knows my Name’ is about holding yourself in adversity and not losing. It’s like the brick that cements the wall; the coarse granules do prick the pores of the fingers but a structured carapsse provides an anomalous seclusion to reaffirm one’s sense of belonging.
The winds take Anita under the shelter of Samuel and Leticia. The propaganda of the Nazi’s on the bête noir Jews is an assaulting nightmare for Samuel and his family. At the age of five, he leaves Vienna in 1938, not to be accompanied by his mother and missing father. All his mother wants is to keep him safe out of the dystopic clutches of the war—the finale is an isolation of one’s identity transgressed to a simulacrum of memories breathing in and out of one’s delinquent soul. From Britain to United States, Samuel follows the wind understanding what perpetuates the desire to move ahead. He lingers to life like a palpable leaf attached to a stoic branch; the death of his wife and inconsideration of his children deludes him not.
I need to bring in this, it’s not moving away from the characters or the story but a relevant predisposition to understand life. Have you all ever reflected on the panels of snow gaining prominence and then melting to its root—a diaphanous temperamental prognosis of their valid existence. The snow learns to live by it, not easily scorned by the feet creating holes or making a pack of ball pummeled insouciantly. Human nature is such too; what we lose ironically seems a hindrance, understanding the mysteries takes time and the same dwells on us to accept what is presented. Gradually, our emotions waiver to acclimatize to what belongs to us albeit carrying along the genesis of our involvement with the forsaken. We rise and melt like snow and so does Samuel and Anita who go through the most deplorable of circumstances.
Had the winds not been present to witness Anita’s predicament, it would not have found Selena and Frank. A humanitarian and a lawyer respectively, both make relentless efforts to dissenter Anita’s past to remove the accumulated dust.
So, what binds all these characters in the book that are geographically and culturally tilted in their roots and ambitions? I guess human emotions! Although, sentiments vary too! One’s conscientious assessmentof vagaries of life could be other’s putrid de trop. The winds manage to give flute to destinies that are bound to create symphonies together.
‘The Wind Knows my Name’ paints a chiaroscuro of separation and longing brushing the tumultuous rage witnessed by Jews in Vienna in 1938 to the inconspicuous tragedy in El Salvador in 1981—a corrigendum easily forgotten. More strokes of brush create a smoky dimension of degradations to separate kids from their families following the migrant issue in United States in 2019.
It blew me hard! My reflection teases me; its right in front of me dwindled in the spleen of digresses fantasia rowing like an unclaimed wanderer. We travel together. It goes wherever I go, leaving me not. Don’t get caught in it! It’s simply my memories’. How am I supposed to leave them behind? Sometimes it’s a futile intention even to do so.
Where am I? They ask me, my memories, who else? I am being carried by the wind; it knows where to take me, knows my name too. My memories tag along. Just look at them! —Insouciant to the intemperate vacillations.
I finally reach to where I belong. I trust the wind that it will again come to my rescue when the heaven and Earth devoid me of my impulses.
‘The Wind Knows my Name’ – A passionate reflection of life to live and sustain!