Isabel Allende and Record host Bill Radke.
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Isabel Allende and Record host Bill Radke.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Juan Pablo Chiquiza

Of republics and refugees: A conversation with author Isabel Allende

Imagine yourself forced to make a tough decision: to flee the only country you've ever known, leaving almost everything behind.

Novelist Isabel Allende has had to make that choice more than once.

This decision also confronts the main characters in her new novel "A Long Petal of the Sea."

Having escaped Franco's Spain, only to find themselves in France at the outbreak of World War II, Victor Dalmau and his dead brother's pregnant widow Roser are faced with a choice: fall to the Nazis, or enter a loveless marriage in order to begin new lives in Chile.

They choose the latter, setting off a chain of events that will determine the next 55 years.

Isabel sat down with KUOW's Bill Radke to discuss the book, her home, and the urgency of late-life love.