In One Of The Most Important And Beloved Latin American Works Of The Twentieth Century, Isabel Allende Weaves A Luminous Tapestry Of Three Generations Of The Trueba Family, Revealing Both Triumphs And Tragedies Here Is Patriarch Esteban, Whose Wild Desires And Political Machinations Are Tempered Only By His Love For His Ethereal Wife, Clara, A Woman Touched By An Otherworldly Hand Their Daughter, Blanca, Whose Forbidden Love For A Man Esteban Has Deemed Unworthy Infuriates Her Father, Yet Will Produce His Greatest Joy His Granddaughter Alba, A Beautiful, Ambitious Girl Who Will Lead The Family And Their Country Into A Revolutionary Future The House Of The Spirits Is An Enthralling Saga That Spans Decades And Lives, Twining The Personal And The Political Into An Epic Novel Of Love, Magic, And Fate I did not finish this book I didn t think it was one of the worst books for me but it was simply not destined to entertain me There was some potential in it But it was disjointed I tried further than I should ve, because it s a rec, and I ve already got 3 likes from it, but when a book is spurned in favor of David Copperfield, that tells the whole story Another thing that made me try harder than usual is the cover It s so wonderful But the book, not for me. House of the Spirits started my love affair with Isabel Allende s writing twenty years ago I remember how the first line Barrabas came to us from the sea left me captivated and eager to read on In college, I was fortunate that La Casa de los Espiritus was required reading for one of my classes, so I read the prose a second time in Spanish Allende s writing is exceptional in both languages Recently, I completed Allende s memoir The Sum of Our Days She reveals that Clara represents her own grandmother she also had the gift of being clairvoyant and communicating with all the spirits that entered her home by way of a three legged table and tarot cards Handed down this gift, Allende admits that she has had a number of meaningful dreams over the years that have influenced both her writing and family life.La Casa de Los Espiritus is a sweeping epic that spans three generations of Chilean women Clara, Blanca, and Alba Del Valle Trueba from post World War I up until the Pinochet coup which overthrew the Allende government Isabel s uncle in 1973 The opus detailed their family saga in both good times and bad, reflecting on how the same mistakes repeated themselves through the generations This is most evident as Allende uses the same name over again for all four women in the family Nivea, Clara, Blanca, Alba Each woman attempted to be as independent as her era allowed, yet falling for the society s expected of an upper crust Chilean family As the years pass, however, adhering to the higher class norms becomes harder as both family and society crumble around the Del Valle Trueba clan Allende may be known for her feminist leanings, but she creates a strong, memorable male lead in Esteban Trueba Reaching the ripe old age of ninety and telling this story alongside his grand daughter Alba, Senator Trueba sees Chile rise, fall, and rise again The country s hardships and successes mirror those of his own family as the Senator remains staunchly conservative even as the younger generations of his family opt for liberal values Trueba in his role as patriarch sees how the world has changed and holds his family together as Chile crashes around them Isabel fled Chile with her family and her writing has undergone changes since, depending on where she is on her life journey This saga remains my measuring stick against which all of her other books are rated As long as she maintains her high level of Latina magical realism, I have no difficulties rating all of her books at least 4.5 stars Knowing that Daughter of Fortune and Portrait of Sepia make up a trilogy leading up to Los Espiritus, whenever I reread these books every few years or so, they will have to be read in succession, creating an epic family saga spanning nearly 200 years House of the Spirits through its highs and lows will always keep its place as one of my favorite books read Post script I just re read House of the Spirits for the fourth time as part of a group read for catching up with classics in September 2016 What I can take away from this reread of Allende s contemporary classic, is that her writing is as captivating as ever, even twenty years later Having read her memoirs and current novel, by returning to her House of the Spirits, it is hard to tell if Alba Trueba is speaking or Allende herself, as this book appears to be a fictionalized autobiography of her family Culling through the 90 years of Esteban Trueba s life, Chile has seen her share of hardships Yet, by writing down memories as both Clara and Alba do, one is able to break the chain of torment, so that history is no longer doomed to repeat itself As I have the other times I have read this masterpiece, I rate House of the Spirits 5 shining stars for Allende s outstanding prose and magical realism. P D D Gabriel Garcia Marquez comparisons aside, it s hard to review this book without references to the magical realism and the narrative styles of Latin America I truly believe that anyone not familiar with the above mentioned, would likely be a bit thrown, even put off by these influences Still, this is a brilliantly written story, epic in its truest sense Covering four generations of women with a man as the common thread between them , it races through the simplicity of the old world into the complexity of an increasingly global existance and the insistance that this country enter into the morphing global economy and political stage The true classics know how to do one particular thing very well They are able to capture the reader with the emotive ties to the characters in a microcosm while placing them in a grander milestone setting, historically Many stories have attempted this balance and fall short in one aspect or another Either the personal attachment is emphasized at the expense of the historical detail, or the historical events are diluted to platform the characters In this case, both are developed successfully because we are introduced and weaned on to the family first and then become involved in their plight as gradually as they do Political upheaval grew into their lives the way it grew into the narration It s also important to mention that by definition, this won t be a political struggle that most of the captalist population will be familiar with Some background knowledge of the history of Chile does come in handy, especially when references are thrown in enigmatically The Poet is mentioned sporadically at first, then his existance becomes poignant for a moment The reference to Neruda, his real life exile, his political position all of these are only subtly mentioned throughout the plot, and he is never referred to by name So it s interesting that Allende refers to censorship by censoring herself Clearly a conscious decision on her part, to seperate this historical novel from being a direct documentation of the history of Chile The same holds true for the events leading up to and after the military coup and the Pinochet situation This story shows us what it might have looked like behind the scenes What the papers were not reporting What the news programing was cleaning up on orders of the heads of state This is what this story is about In Latin America, these kinds of events are innumerable They are part of the history, but they can not be told for the very censorship that this story speaks of So they are told in novels and are thinly veiled as magical and exaggerated so as to hide behind such protection But they are real, and to this day, there is a weekly procession in one of the plazas in Santiago, Chile, of people who lost family members to the military government 40 years later, there are still hundreds who have not been accounted for With this story, Allende hooks us, reels us in, and binds us to these characters They are funny, ecentric, tempermental, ideal, strong, weak and so much Their dimensionality begs us to invest in them, emotionally, so that when their lives become shaken by their setting, we are as invested in how they will deal with the challenge.
Isabel Allende Llona is a Chilean American novelist Allende, who writes in the magic realism tradition, is considered one of the first successful women novelists in Latin America She has written novels based in part on her own experiences, often focusing on the experiences of women, weaving myth and realism together She has lectured and done extensive book tours and has taught literature at s
- 448 pages
- La casa de los espíritus
- Isabel Allende
- 15 May 2019 Isabel Allende