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The house of the Spirits AUDIOBOOK

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Please note: This audiobook is in Spanish. La primera novela de Isabel Allende narra la saga de una poderosa familia de terratenientes. El despótico patriarca Esteban Trueba ha construido con mano de hierro un imperio privado que empieza a tambalearse con el paso del tiempo y un entorno social explosivo. Finalmente, la decadencia personal del patriarca arrastrará a los Please note: This audiobook is in Spanish. La primera novela de Isabel Allende narra la saga de una poderosa familia de terratenientes. El despótico patriarca Esteban Trueba ha construido con mano de hierro un imperio privado que empieza a tambalearse con el paso del tiempo y un entorno social explosivo. Finalmente, la decadencia personal del patriarca arrastrará a los Trueba a una dolorosa desintegración. Atrapados en unas dramáticas relaciones familiares, los personajes de este poderoso audiolibro encarnan las tensiones sociales y espirituales de una época que abarca gran parte de este siglo.Introducción al audiolibro por parte de Isabel Allende. La casa de los espíritus fue adaptada al cine en una película protagonizada por Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep y Antonio Banderas.


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Please note: This audiobook is in Spanish. La primera novela de Isabel Allende narra la saga de una poderosa familia de terratenientes. El despótico patriarca Esteban Trueba ha construido con mano de hierro un imperio privado que empieza a tambalearse con el paso del tiempo y un entorno social explosivo. Finalmente, la decadencia personal del patriarca arrastrará a los Please note: This audiobook is in Spanish. La primera novela de Isabel Allende narra la saga de una poderosa familia de terratenientes. El despótico patriarca Esteban Trueba ha construido con mano de hierro un imperio privado que empieza a tambalearse con el paso del tiempo y un entorno social explosivo. Finalmente, la decadencia personal del patriarca arrastrará a los Trueba a una dolorosa desintegración. Atrapados en unas dramáticas relaciones familiares, los personajes de este poderoso audiolibro encarnan las tensiones sociales y espirituales de una época que abarca gran parte de este siglo.Introducción al audiolibro por parte de Isabel Allende. La casa de los espíritus fue adaptada al cine en una película protagonizada por Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep y Antonio Banderas.

30 review for The house of the Spirits AUDIOBOOK

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brina

    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 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 mores 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 more 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.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    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 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 more. 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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    When I was a kid, me and my brother used to spend most weekends at our grandparents house. And most of those weekends we would watch one of the same two movies on the good ol' VCR: Steel Magnolias and The House of the Spirits. No one seems to know the latter movie when I mention it, but it starred a bunch of impressive names: Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, Antonio Banderas and Winona Ryder. My memory might be painting a better picture than the truth, but me and my brother LOVED the When I was a kid, me and my brother used to spend most weekends at our grandparents house. And most of those weekends we would watch one of the same two movies on the good ol' VCR: Steel Magnolias and The House of the Spirits. No one seems to know the latter movie when I mention it, but it starred a bunch of impressive names: Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, Antonio Banderas and Winona Ryder. My memory might be painting a better picture than the truth, but me and my brother LOVED the movie. So it really kinda amazes me that it took so long for me to get my hands on the book and finally read it. It's everything I can't help but love. A rich family saga filled with drama, hardship, love, violence and a touch of magical realism. The characters that once fascinated me in the movie have reemerged in a far more complex and fleshed out depiction. It is such an interesting story, spanning multiple generations and looking at the intricate relationships between the characters whilst the background features the post-colonial political struggles of Chile. I love the beautiful and wild South American setting. I love the subtly woven aspects of magical realism. I love (and sometimes hate) the characters. I am fascinated by even the politics of the novel and the huge disparities between the women who campaigned for gender equality and those who believed a husband ruled over his wife. This book has everything: family, politics, love, magic... I always enjoy it when a novel can bring in many different elements that we love and get the balance right. My favourite character has always been Ferula (played by Glenn Close in the movie). I find her the most tragic character and the one most buried beneath layers of complexity, even though she isn't ever really the novel's main focus: She was one of those people who are born for the greatness of a single love, for exaggerated hatred, for apocalyptic vengeance, and for the most sublime forms of heroism, but she was unable to shape her fate to the dimensions of her amorous vocation, so it was lived out as something flat and grey that was trapped between her mother's sickroom walls, wretched tenements, and the tortured confessions with which this large, opulent, hot-blooded woman - made for maternity, abundance, action, and ardor - was consuming herself. Ferula is my favourite, but she is one in a sea of very different and interesting individuals. There is, of course, Esteban Trueba. He is violent, selfish and earns very little sympathy from me over the course of the novel; that's not to say he isn't of interest, because he certainly is. And there's his wife - Clara - a woman prone to bouts of clairvoyance that have dictated the direction of her life; a direction she has accepted without complaint. Then there's Blanca, Esteban and Clara's daughter, who falls in love with Pedro Tercero against her father's wishes and constantly defies him by pursuing the relationship. Despite the pretty cover, this book isn't without its graphic descriptions of violence and some rape scenes. It isn't a nice book, but I suppose many of the best books aren't "nice". It is, however, a wonderful portrait of a family, spread over several generations, and it is as moving and beautiful as I'd hoped. Blog | Leafmarks | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Ansbro

    "If this world is going to be a better place for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, it will be women who make it so." -Isabel Allende. Phewee! The House of the Spirits is a tumultuous epic which chronicles four generations of two extraordinary families. The eponymous house is large: it boasts three courtyards and a Chiléan version of the Addams Family. Imagine too, if you will, Barrabás, the somewhat unnatural domesticated dog/horse, who was ill-advisedly fed olive oil until he covered the "If this world is going to be a better place for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, it will be women who make it so." -Isabel Allende. Phewee! The House of the Spirits is a tumultuous epic which chronicles four generations of two extraordinary families. The eponymous house is large: it boasts three courtyards and a Chiléan version of the Addams Family. Imagine too, if you will, Barrabás, the somewhat unnatural domesticated dog/horse, who was ill-advisedly fed olive oil until he covered the house from top to bottom with diarrhoea. Blurrgh! Following in the giant footsteps of Gabriel García Márquez, Allende lets rip with her own brand of el realismo mágico. Strong female roles abound in this captivating story, from Rosa (who has the maritime grace of a mermaid), to Clara (the soothsayer, whose apocalyptic visions include exploding horses and cows that are hurled into the sea), and Tránsito Soto (the entrepreneurial prostitute who symbolises success in the face of adversity). A mainstay of magical realism is that characters are expected to be beautifully realised, and Allende doesn't disappoint. Not for one bit. Her lead goes to reluctant altruist, Esteban Trueba, whose expectations of grandeur befit his pedigree, but not his habitude. Trueba, wishing to mine for gold, takes control of a lawless chunk of godforsaken land. Despite improving the social conditions of the peasants under his patronage, he becomes the most hated and feared scumbag in the entire region. When done with kicking hens, throwing tantrums and raping village girls, he expects his subordinates to show him some gratitude. Seriously, what a complete arse! Dichotomies abound: good and evil, triumph and tragedy, and the unjustified pomposity of Trueba sets him up for a hubristic turn of events. I LOVED this novel. I am a latecomer to Allende and, with this one story, she has propelled herself onto my top tier of writers. That said, the magical start to the story gradually capitulates to a more realismo style and does become something of a slog at times. Despite this, the craftsmanship of her writing never diminishes. The sex is fleshy and sweaty and the book is simply awash with anarchists, prostitutes and tables that move just by the power of thought. ¡Ay, caramba! There's even a bazooka-wielding president! As if that could ever happen! *stifles a snigger* The House of the Spirits is stormy, dramatic and beautifully-written. I even missed it when I was away from it! A self-indulgent afterthought... So skilful was Allende's writing that she turns Trueba's Latino machismo on its head. Most surprisingly, you might even end up feeling sorry for the misogynistic bastard. Those of you old enough to remember the excellent cop drama NYPD Blue might have experienced the same volte-face in respect of Detective Andy Sipowicz, the corrupt, racist, homophobic, alcoholic sleazeball who slowly begins to question the values he was raised with, and thereafter begins to win our hearts and minds. In my view, an unbelievably gifted piece of TV character writing that is rarely bettered!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Aubrey

    4.5/5 Esteban, Trueba, how does your childhood grow? With fear and guilt and such hard work and a love that leaves you low. In thoughts of grief and thoughts of rage, and a slump of of broken land, you will rape your heart out, Esteban, set life to your demand. Clara, Clara, clairvoyant, how does your marriage keep? With magic silent and so near, to where your children sleep. When tragedy has struck your home, and the bull is in the shop, reality will find you there, your disengagement stop. Humans, humans, high 4.5/5 Esteban, Trueba, how does your childhood grow? With fear and guilt and such hard work and a love that leaves you low. In thoughts of grief and thoughts of rage, and a slump of of broken land, you will rape your heart out, Esteban, set life to your demand. Clara, Clara, clairvoyant, how does your marriage keep? With magic silent and so near, to where your children sleep. When tragedy has struck your home, and the bull is in the shop, reality will find you there, your disengagement stop. Humans, humans, high and low, what does your life move toward? To riches spun in paradise, And poor ones marching forward. When man must strain for food and work, and women for their life, the wealth grows lazy in its keep, and tensions run in strife. Politics, politics, what are your true names? The search for living fair and true, the beasts of power games. When fear drives sides to action, and both believe in might, lands will burn in suffering; no one escapes the light. Esteban, Trueba, you've lived a life of pride, planted seeds of cruel revenge, and harvested in stride. You are old now, Esteban, what has your life earned? A ghost, a house, a granddaughter; all are scorched and burned. Esteban, Trueba, how does your country grow? With driving out the communists, or dictators and woe? When tragedy has snuffed your pride, and your path is lost in fear, you'll find your guidance, Esteban; redemption gathers here. Reader, reader, reading here, what is this story read? A tale of individuals, Small strainings birthed for dead? It is one and it is all, growing evermore, family framed society; history at its core. Reader, reader, what is life, how does one tell it true? With torture, fear, and oftentimes, death of all you knew. And yet life keeps, and yet life goes, and strength is found in you, men of hope, women strong, love and laughter too.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ariel

    I have never in my life read a book where SO MUCH HAPPENS. AY. Generation after generation of DEATH AND DESTRUCTION, AMIRITE? I seriously don't know how to rate this book. Personally it wasn't a favourite, I found myself overwhelmed and bombarded with so much tragedy and injustice and found no love in any of the characters, but I really appreciated so much of what happened and really enjoyed learning more about magical realism. Here's my video review of this! I have never in my life read a book where SO MUCH HAPPENS. AY. Generation after generation of DEATH AND DESTRUCTION, AMIRITE? I seriously don't know how to rate this book. Personally it wasn't a favourite, I found myself overwhelmed and bombarded with so much tragedy and injustice and found no love in any of the characters, but I really appreciated so much of what happened and really enjoyed learning more about magical realism. Here's my video review of this! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awofw...

  7. 4 out of 5

    PorshaJo

    Wow! If you look up 'epic family dramas, sweeping sagas' you are sure to find the The House of the Spirits at the top of the list. It's hard to capture what this book covers as it covers so much. The story of the three generations of the Trueba family. How their lives have changed over many, many years. Their loves, grief, joy, family, politics, greed, desires, and more. I felt that there was so much heartbreak and tragedy in this story. But I kept thinking about this one....even when I was not Wow! If you look up 'epic family dramas, sweeping sagas' you are sure to find the The House of the Spirits at the top of the list. It's hard to capture what this book covers as it covers so much. The story of the three generations of the Trueba family. How their lives have changed over many, many years. Their loves, grief, joy, family, politics, greed, desires, and more. I felt that there was so much heartbreak and tragedy in this story. But I kept thinking about this one....even when I was not reading it. It is beautiful. I wish that I could go back and start it all over again. Esteban Trueba.....hmmm, he is a monster (I think). Though does he ultimately redeem himself? Clara....a wonderful character, who I wanted to hear more about and her talents. The book touches on magical realism and it was done perfectly, weaved into the lives of each of the Trueba family members. The love between Blanca and Pedro Tercero García....epic. Throw in a government political coup. Oh I want to hear more and more about these wonderful characters. I listened to this one via audio. There were two narrators - one male, one female. It took me a bit of time to get into the flow of the narration on this one. But once I did, I was captivated. However, I did not care for the male narration as much, from the point of view of Esteban Trueba. To me, I had a picture in my mind of Esteban and how he would speak. And this voice narration was just not him. Esteban was rugged, violent, jealous,.....and the narration was timid and quiet and too laid back. Just a nit-pick on my end. I just found it too jarring when the narration would switch, taking me out of my dream-like trance that I was in listening to this magical book. A beautiful book that I hope to revisit one day again and savor the details of the wonderful story.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Luffy

    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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    2.5 stars, actually. (Still waiting for Goodreads to give me that half-star option.) Let's be honest, Isabel Allende is chick lit that you're not embarrassed to read on the Metro. It's got just enough faux-Garcia-Marquez, magical-realism-lite charm to fool people into thinking it's moderately intellectual. I don't have a big problem with that (as long as people realize what's going on) because Allende is a fine storyteller. This novel, her first and most famous, is a fairly traditional family 2.5 stars, actually. (Still waiting for Goodreads to give me that half-star option.) Let's be honest, Isabel Allende is chick lit that you're not embarrassed to read on the Metro. It's got just enough faux-Garcia-Marquez, magical-realism-lite charm to fool people into thinking it's moderately intellectual. I don't have a big problem with that (as long as people realize what's going on) because Allende is a fine storyteller. This novel, her first and most famous, is a fairly traditional family saga following three generations of an upper-class Chilean family from the early 20th century to the Pinochet era. The writing is lovely throughout, with vivid descriptions particularly of places and characters' physical surroundings. The book's weak spot, however, is characterization. For a genre that depends so much on having the reader care deeply about the characters, Allende does a pretty poor job accomplishing that. I think her main problem is that she hadn't quite yet mastered the "show, don't tell" rule of writing. Instead of revealing Esteban Trueba's stubbornness and pride through his actions, she'd just tell us, "Esteban Trueba was stubborn and proud." It was mostly unconvincing and made many of the characters seem flat and two-dimensional, and you never really got that important sense of who they were as people. Other problems: Allende has always been an author who writes about strong women, but the women in this book, not so much. I mean, when one male character beats his wife until her teeth fall out, her response (depicted as brave by the narrator) is to not talk to him for a couple years. Silence is the author's idea of female empowerment and resistance - huh? Anyway, on top of that, the only sections of first-person narration in the novel are from the point of view of the patriarch. So, yeah, problematic on that level. And just a nitpick, but she way overuses foreshadowing. Dramatically hinting at what's going to happen a few chapters on is effective once or twice, but not over and over. Well, I realize it sounds like I hated the book, but as a story it was pretty enjoyable. At least the first half. The second half, which tracks Chilean politics and real-life events through Salvador Allende's election and Pinochet's military coup, is uninteresting and unsurprising to anyone who knows anything about 20th century Chilean history. But the first half, which is more of a romantic love story, is pretty good. I'm keeping this at 3 stars for the soft spot I have for Allende's later books, which tell stories that are (I think) more unique and compelling. P.S. Sorry for the long review, but I spent a full month reading this book in Spanish so I feel like I've got to get my money's worth, so to speak.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    276. La casa de los espíritus = The House of The Spirits, Isabel Allende The House of the Spirits (Spanish: La casa de los espíritus, 1982) is the debut novel of Isabel Allende. The novel was rejected by several Spanish-language publishers before being published in Buenos Aires in 1982. It became an instant best seller, was critically acclaimed, and catapulted Allende to literary stardom. The novel was named Best Novel of the Year in Chile in 1982, and Allende received the country's Panorama 276. La casa de los espíritus = The House of The Spirits, Isabel Allende The House of the Spirits (Spanish: La casa de los espíritus, 1982) is the debut novel of Isabel Allende. The novel was rejected by several Spanish-language publishers before being published in Buenos Aires in 1982. It became an instant best seller, was critically acclaimed, and catapulted Allende to literary stardom. The novel was named Best Novel of the Year in Chile in 1982, and Allende received the country's Panorama Literario award. The House of the Spirits has been translated into over 37 languages. The story details the life of the Trueba family, spanning four generations, and tracing the post-colonial social and political upheavals of Chile – though the country's name, and the names of figures closely paralleling historical ones, such as "the President" or "the Poet", are never explicitly given. The story is told mainly from the perspective of two protagonists (Esteban and Alba) and incorporates elements of magical realism. عنوانها: خانه ارواح؛ خانه اشباح؛ نویسنده: ایزابل آلنده؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و چهارم ماه آگوست سال 2009 میلادی عنوان: خانه ارواح؛ نویسنده: ایزابل آلنده؛ مترجم: حشمت کامرانی؛ تهران، نشر قطره، 1368، در 656 ص؛ شابک: 9643410218؛ چاپ دوم 1377؛ چاپ سوم 1379؛ چاپ ششم: 1385؛ شابک: 9789643410216؛ چاپ هفتم 1395، در 580 ص؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان اسپانیایی آمریکای لاتین - سده 20 م؛ عنوان: خانه اشباح؛ نویسنده: ایزابل آلنده؛ مترجم: عبدالرحمن صدریه؛ تهران، نشر فردوس، 1377؛ در 515 ص؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، دادار، شابک: ایکس - 964729414؛ نقل از متن: آن شب فکر میکردم که دیگر هیچ نیرویی برای دوباره عاشق شدن ندارم، و هرگز لب به خنده نخواهم گشود و دنبال هیچ سودایی نخواهم رفت اما «هرگز» خیلی زیاد است. این را در زندگی طولانیم بارها آموخته ام. پایان نقل از متن کتاب. ا. شربیانی

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    This took me some time to read as I wanted to savour it for as long as possible and not have it end. This is my first Allende novel which depicts an epic story of a Latin American family that spans 3 generations. Weaved throughout are hints of mysticism, history, political unrest, cultural richness along with vivid descriptions of a cast of characters in which some evoke ethereal auras and others violent furies. Allende’s masterful style of writing is lavish with foreshadowing and thematic This took me some time to read as I wanted to savour it for as long as possible and not have it end. This is my first Allende novel which depicts an epic story of a Latin American family that spans 3 generations. Weaved throughout are hints of mysticism, history, political unrest, cultural richness along with vivid descriptions of a cast of characters in which some evoke ethereal auras and others violent furies. Allende’s masterful style of writing is lavish with foreshadowing and thematic contrasts and brings as much satisfaction as a warm toasty fire on a cold winter day. 5 ★

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    100 Years of Solitude except not boring, is what Isabel Allende's 1982 landmark of magical realism is. Like Gabriel Garcia Marquez's epic, it follows several cyclic generations of a family through the history of a country. But it has an immediacy that 100 Years, with its frustrating mist, lacks; the story is better. It's a better book; it's the best book in the magical realism genre I've read. South American literature is different from the rest - no, seriously, it is, I know that's a huge 100 Years of Solitude except not boring, is what Isabel Allende's 1982 landmark of magical realism is. Like Gabriel Garcia Marquez's epic, it follows several cyclic generations of a family through the history of a country. But it has an immediacy that 100 Years, with its frustrating mist, lacks; the story is better. It's a better book; it's the best book in the magical realism genre I've read. South American literature is different from the rest - no, seriously, it is, I know that's a huge generalization and some South American books are just like other books, but when you read the big towering classics from South America they feel different, and the difference is magic. (Also violence, but that's a trait all colonized literature shares.) We talk about magical realism a lot; that's a patronizing term meaning that it's just like real literature except with magic. It's patronizing to fantasy books, not to South Americans, although to be fair most fantasy is pretty lame. The defining magical realism book is Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude (Colombia, 1967), which is - did I mention this? - boring. The magic starts way farther back than that, though, in a metafictional world of dark wizards that's even more compelling for me. This is the world of the mighty Borges (Argentina, 1940s or so), Julio Cortazar (Argentina, 1960s), dazzling Clarice Lispector (Brazil, 1960s), and the grandfather of it all is sly Machado De Assis (Brazil, late 1800s), who once wrote a chapter called "Let us proceed to the chapter." Then Roberto Bolano's 2666 blew everything up, but that's a different story. In the meantime we have House of the Spirits (Chile, 1982), which is the best magical realist novel ever written, and believe me because I've read, like...four or so of them. The story follows three generations of women in the Trueba family: clairvoyant Clara, who marries anger-afflicted Esteban Trueba; their daughter Blanca, who carries on a secret affair with Pedro Terces Garcia, the son of Trueba's foreman; their daughter Alba, another mystic of sorts. They have a tendency to create fantastic creatures, out of cloth or clay or anything. Other characters include Clara and Esteban's twins Jaime the socialist doctor and Nicolas the guru; Trueba's bastard by rape Esteban Garcia; Pablo Neruda, himself; and one of the best dogs in literature, Barrabas. There are even more, but you will have no trouble keeping everyone straight, because Allende is a fantastic writer. Along the way Allende tells the story of Chile and its fight for socialism. All the characters are affected by the turmoil; each is forced to pick a side. This heats up around the three quarter mark, and if you thought the book was engaging before, which you did, you'll be riveted for the last part. It's tough going - I've already mentioned rape and there's no shortage of it, along with some child molestation and some torture. (And, if you're curious, even a hot consensual adult sex scene or three.) Again, the other ongoing theme of South American novels is violence, which is always present and gets increasingly horrifying as we go. The house itself is not the Trueba ranch in the country, Tres Marias, but their house in town that Trueba builds and then is knocked down by an earthquake and then is rebuilt again, and each time is slowly transformed by the Trueba women into a labyrinth, for various reasons - Clara responds to spirits, Alba is hiding political refugees, but it is always described as a labyrinth, which I imagine is a nod to Borges. And like a labyrinth, the entire intricate structure fits together perfectly in ways you couldn't have imagined. There are twists and turns and sometimes you find yourself in a passage you swear you've been in before, and sometimes you think all is lost, and suddenly you're out, bewildered but exhilarated. What kind of architect dreamed this thing up? What just happened? Who knows, but it was magic.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Perry

    Passions, Politics, Psychics in Three Generations of Chilean Family Isabel Allende's stunning saga, The House of the Spirits, spans three generations of the Chilean Trueba family ending a few years after the Sept. 11, 1973 government overthrow led by General Pinochet, the awful right-wing dictator who, with the U.S. govt's support, seized the chance opened upon fears that Marxists would take over Chile. Ms. Allende', who to my mind should soon be Chile's 3d Nobel Laureate in Literature, wrote the Passions, Politics, Psychics in Three Generations of Chilean Family Isabel Allende's stunning saga, The House of the Spirits, spans three generations of the Chilean Trueba family ending a few years after the Sept. 11, 1973 government overthrow led by General Pinochet, the awful right-wing dictator who, with the U.S. govt's support, seized the chance opened upon fears that Marxists would take over Chile. Ms. Allende', who to my mind should soon be Chile's 3d Nobel Laureate in Literature, wrote the novel based loosely on her own family and nation. The novel's fictional characters and events follow closely the lives and times of Chile, Pinochet and Salvadore Allende, her first cousin (once removed), who was Chile's socialist president at the time of the coup d'etat. Reports conflict over whether he was assassinated or committed suicide shortly after the coup commenced. Salvador Allende, 30th President of Chile, 1970-1973 Gen. Augusto Pinochet, Chilean dictator. 1973-1998 Incidentally, Chile's last Nobel Laureate (1971) was the famous poet Pablo Neruda, who died from poisoning 2 weeks after the coup, as some believe, upon Pinochet's orders due to Neruda's support of Marxist politicians. Isabel Allende's fictional Neruda counterpart likewise died under suspicious circumstances and his funeral is a significant event in the novel, as civilians on both the left and the right were severely shaken by the death, which foreshadowed several more years of a ruthless, murderous military regime. Chilean Nobel Laureate Poet Pablo Neruda Ms. Allende's prose is both graceful and readily comprehensible, as she chronicles a captivating, concinnous tale chiseled in history and filled with passions inflamed by family, politics and power, love and lust, malevolence and mysticism. Highly recommended. PS: The film version received bad reviews, likely because the novel's scope is too broad to satisfactorily cover in a 2 or 3 hour film. I wouldn't be surprised though, if Netflix or AmazonPrime picks up the rights to make this into a mini-series like Narcos , House of Cards or The Man in the High Castle. If it doesn't happen, it should. The novel is so fertile not to captivate an audience in another video format, what, with the convergence of South American mysticism, the time (the early 70s), the passion of 2 love affairs and the politics (communists v. a right-wing military takeover/dictatorship).

  14. 5 out of 5

    Luís C.

    The House of the Spirits, a book we were advised one college professor by telling us simply: "It's a fun book." This advice I followed - While "few" years later - proves to be notified. Now that is my turn, I'll try to be more explicit than has been the teacher - That I thank! The House of the Spirits is a novel that has it all. It is a family saga with the right amount of love and tragedy, which mingles the upheavals experienced by the Chilean company in the second half of the twentieth century. The House of the Spirits, a book we were advised one college professor by telling us simply: "It's a fun book." This advice I followed - While "few" years later - proves to be notified. Now that is my turn, I'll try to be more explicit than has been the teacher - That I thank! The House of the Spirits is a novel that has it all. It is a family saga with the right amount of love and tragedy, which mingles the upheavals experienced by the Chilean company in the second half of the twentieth century. This is mostly the story of cursed and tragic fates. It is primarily the fate of Esteban Trueba, only character that the author made to speak in the first person. The self-made Chilean man of the twentieth century. A totally detestable character: pushy, cruel, misogynist, contemptuous and very paternalistic landowner with the peasants who work the lands he hard-earned. And as the years pass, it becomes a bitter and cantankerous man hated by members of his own family he tyrannized by its inflexibility. One may wonder why Isabel Allende decided that it would be this character precisely that would address the reader. Well, perhaps precisely because it is the character who is the victim of his fate because he could not understand the signs. While still young and penniless, politics took him the woman he loved, and he could not take it into account. But also probably because it embodies the face of Chile that made the people rose up and wanted a change. Isabel Allende offers us with this tale one very sentimental novel - in several respects. This novel has been - in my humble opinion - therapy for her, the niece of the assassinated leader. She conveys her love for her country and its people, and its worth having left in a pleasant language to read (even if the reviewers have not always done a good job!). The sentences are simple and striking, the story is made of little dialogue and lots of descriptions where intermingle stories of memories and fictional events.

  15. 4 out of 5

    BrokenTune

    "Nana had the idea that a good fright might make the child speak, and spent nine years inventing all sorts of desperate strategies for frightening Clara, the end result of which was to immunize the girl forever against terror and surprise. Soon Clara was afraid of nothing. She was unmoved by the sudden appearance of the most livid and undernourished monsters in her room, or by the knock of devils and vampires at her bedroom window. Nana dressed up as a headless pirate, as the executioner of the "Nana had the idea that a good fright might make the child speak, and spent nine years inventing all sorts of desperate strategies for frightening Clara, the end result of which was to immunize the girl forever against terror and surprise. Soon Clara was afraid of nothing. She was unmoved by the sudden appearance of the most livid and undernourished monsters in her room, or by the knock of devils and vampires at her bedroom window. Nana dressed up as a headless pirate, as the executioner of the Tower of London, as a werewolf or a horned devil, depending on her inspiration of the moment and on the ideas she got while flipping through the pages of certain horror magazines, which she bought for this purpose and from which, although she was unable to read, she copied the illustrations. She had acquired the habit of gliding silently through the hallways and jumping at the child in the dark, howling through the doorways, and hiding live animals between her sheet, but none of this elicited so much as a peep from the little girl." It's just so damn hard to surprise a clairvoyant. This was my second reading of The House of the Spirits and, if anything, I enjoyed the magical elements of the book much more on this visit. A re-visit. A re-visit, spending this last week with the Trueba family, who in turn are re-visited by their past, which Allende spins into the narrative with such ease that reading the story of the different generations made me wonder at every turn of the page what happens next, and what happens to this or that character. Throw in the unspecified political and historical context of the story and I was hooked. Again, I think the second read was more engaging for me than the first in this respect, too. I guess, when I read the book for the first time, I was looking for clear-cut references and didn't appreciate the intention of the book as much, but some of the beauty and sadness of the book lies in the possibility that it may have been the story of many families, not just that of the Truebas.

  16. 4 out of 5

    stephanie

    haha, so my sophomore honors english teacher decided he wanted to read a book with us for the first time, so he asked our department head to recommend a book. we all died, because mr. wells could not deal with talking about sex, and mr. hackling knew this, and he assigned this book. i mean, a couple of pages in, there's all this graphic rape in the fields going on! and then there's the creepy ass count . . . i really loved the book though. it's layered, it's complex, it's beautiful. the imagery haha, so my sophomore honors english teacher decided he wanted to read a book with us for the first time, so he asked our department head to recommend a book. we all died, because mr. wells could not deal with talking about sex, and mr. hackling knew this, and he assigned this book. i mean, a couple of pages in, there's all this graphic rape in the fields going on! and then there's the creepy ass count . . . i really loved the book though. it's layered, it's complex, it's beautiful. the imagery is some of the best i've read in forever, i adored blanca. clara was inspired, and alba is - it's the story of three generations of strong women, in a world where women aren't supposed to be strong. the movie is rather lame in comparison, but has an excellent cast. and there are redeeming moments for the characters. plus one of the best opening lines i've ever read. totally stuck with me, and i think it should rank up there with "call me ishmael".

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I really wish I could say this is an amazing book, worthy of so much thoughtful praises, etc., but that would just be a lie. Given how much I enjoy good writing—and this book definitely has it all, like a beautifully crafted essay that speaks with prominent characters and conflicts between generations of families—it’s kind of weird for me to say this book is just okay. I mean, the only thing I like from this entire book is the language: the metaphors, descriptions, the lines that sound so poetic I really wish I could say this is an amazing book, worthy of so much thoughtful praises, etc., but that would just be a lie. Given how much I enjoy good writing—and this book definitely has it all, like a beautifully crafted essay that speaks with prominent characters and conflicts between generations of families—it’s kind of weird for me to say this book is just okay. I mean, the only thing I like from this entire book is the language: the metaphors, descriptions, the lines that sound so poetic and true, and the impressive vocabulary. Everything else? Not so much. Storyline. Absolutely hate how the story shifts like a timeline of generations. It makes sense that it would cover the entire family from grandfather to granddaughter since it’s a family story, but I hate how little time we get to spend with each character before s/he is whisked off to some other place, and only to return whenever the author feels like it. (That how it looks like to me.) Each chapter is almost devoted to just one or two characters, and I find it really tiring, especially when it’s all about relationships and love that I haven’t really figured out why it exists. It’s written at a speed that makes the character’s love story seem kind of random. It’s like what I say about the protagonist falling in love with her best friend: when readers start the story, they’re just given the fact that they’ve been through a lot and have been best friends forever, so of course they fall in love. But readers don’t get to see that process, and it’s frustrating to see the point they’re making when the viewers are just like, “Yeah, okay, if you say so.” So the protagonists don’t fall in love with their best friends in this book, but they might as well have. Take Pedro Tercero and Blanca, for instance. Love at first sight. Whoop-de-do. First of all, clichéd. Second of all, no development. Love at first sight is pretty explanatory itself, but how the heck did they grow to love each other so much? One minute, they’re children, the next paragraph; they’re teens trying to express themselves. I hate that we just have to take the basic “Oh, they fell in love the first time they curled up against each other” from the author without really questioning how it happened or why it’s developed into some life-and-death scenario later. I can’t handle reading a relationship that doesn’t express itself in a deeper stand and instead, just tells you, yes, they love each other, yes, they are willing to do for each other, yes, they are having wild and passionate sex. So what if they do all of that? It’s the chemistry and direct message that I will interpret that matters. Of course, if it was just one couple, I could handle. But the sad thing is that the same goes for Clara and Esteban. Maybe it’s the time period, but the author likes to play with the love at first sight story. That’s how Esteban fell for Clara. And Clara was only in it because of her vision, which makes me more frustrated. If you can see the future, why not change it? For a character that seems pretty strong—yet identified as fragile and beautiful, of all the freaking adjectives to describe women!—she lacks what I hope for in a protagonist. Isabel Allende tries to make her manner seem so unorganized and magical realism that she comes off rather cold and unconvincing. And the fact that she hardly talks, not just her character and her mute phases but the dialogue in the book itself (really, the only one who actually says things throughout the book in conversation form would be Esteban and Transito. I felt they talked more than husband and wife. Ironic much?). Seeing as how they’ve spent years and years together, you’d think I, as a reader, could see something present in their relationship, some sort of depth or attraction, but nope, nothing. I mean, I saw a spark in his relationship with a prostitute rather than Clara, which is just wrong. And, the only one who’s real in here is Esteban, but too bad I find him and his actions revolting. If I were to rate him on a personality scale, it’d be negative, negative 1. In this case, two negatives don’t make a positive, people. Still continuing with the storyline, I find the political stuff just plain boring. I hate how we’re required to read books that not only talk about religion (like Christianity, which is really getting boring by now. How many more discussion topics about this can I handle before I start to scream?) but also politics. I don’t mind if the authors throw it in here and there, but to put all her characters involved with government conflict? It makes the story so predictable (because it is. You don’t politics never end well) and you know we will all spend a day or two talking about the different sides they’re taking and what a big theme it is. I’m just like, yeah, okay, whatever. I don’t want to end up having to look up the political references that the book mentioned to understand it all, and I don’t want a book that puts so much pressure on generations of families just because they don’t agree with each other. It’s bad enough that people are so passionate about that stuff, when others would very much like to just leave it at whatever’s best for the country, and still find something annoying in a work of fiction. With this topic, it threatens the characters and changes their personalities. Instead of being natural people, they get portrayed as good citizens who want to fight for what they believe in. We all know most people wouldn’t do that. Take the Holocaust, for instance. How much people stood up for Jews then? If I’m reading about a character that has journeyed into this political standing/situation, then I have nothing to complain about. But nope, not the case. It’s also not about the storyline, but how messed up the characters and the people are. It drives me crazy how the author, out of the blue, tells you what can be expected somewhere down the road. I want to be amazed, shocked, and not told what’s going to happen. (One example would be when Amanda’s picking up Miguel from school and says something about dying for him. Then, the author jumps in with, little did she know that she would have to one day. Random!) And it also makes me nuts whenever characters appear and disappear. Like Transito. She appears early on in the book and vanishes until Esteban’s lust kicks in. And finally, she helps him. Or the Moira Sisters—I can’t even remember the significance they had, just that they were like Clara the Clairvoyant. Oh, just the tiniest thing can frustrate me about this book. I haven’t found one single character that I like. They’re all pigs/rapists, or poor fragile women who can’t stand up for themselves, with the exception of Alba. She realizes in the end that she can’t give up, but the whole pregnancy and don’t know who the father is makes me grimace. I hate how every generation is about sadness, and how everything bad that can happen, happens to the Trueba/Del Valle family. But that’s story-telling for you, just not realistic. On a final note, even though it couldn’t have been more than a few weeks, it seemed like I’d been reading this book for months, and those months just dragged on and on, especially since I had the old issue of the book where the pages were yellow and smelled like moth balls and some other unidentifiable thing. The rating: I would have given it 1 star, but the writing was good, so I decided to be nice.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Markus

    The House of the Spirits has a lot of aspects I normally wouldn't even consider reading about, and I only started reading this book because it is a famous classic that's been recommended to me several times before. I usually don't like historical fiction set in a modern period, and I am very skeptical towards the concept of a 'family saga', which is the major theme here. Nevertheless, rating this anything lower than five stars would be a great injustice to one of the absolute best books ever The House of the Spirits has a lot of aspects I normally wouldn't even consider reading about, and I only started reading this book because it is a famous classic that's been recommended to me several times before. I usually don't like historical fiction set in a modern period, and I am very skeptical towards the concept of a 'family saga', which is the major theme here. Nevertheless, rating this anything lower than five stars would be a great injustice to one of the absolute best books ever written. The book tells the story of two families in Chile in the middle of the twentieth century. The del Valle family, whose patriarch Severo is a politician for the Liberal party, and most importantly the Trueba family. Esteban Trueba marries the daughter of Severo del Valle, and the story of The House of the Spirits is the story of those two and their descendants, playing out over seventy years. This book manages to weave together the threads of the Trueba family and the modern history of Chile, and in a remarkable way captures the very identity and culture of the Chilean nation within the space of four hundred pages. Esteban Trueba is in my eyes one of the most fascinating (and in many ways the most despicable) characters in fictional literature, ever. He's a self-made man, going from labouring long days in the mines of the north to becoming a wealthy landowner with tremendous economic and political power. The reader can follow Esteban as his political views become increasingly conservative for each passing year, and he starts on a personal crusade against communists, atheists and everyone else he considers to be a threat to the state of things. Esteban gradually turns into a bitter old man who has few friends, who despises the world and is despised by it in return, whose relations with his wife and children become colder and colder, and whose only solace is a rebellious, radical granddaughter who loves him as much as he loves her. The House of the Spirits is an excellent novel. The writing is flawless, the characters are interesting and realistic, the story is absolutely captivating and the ending is simply beautiful (and the best part of the entire book). It is not until you reach the end and look back on the journey you've been a part of that you realise just how amazing it has been. This is one of those books everyone should read, and one I would recommend to all the book lovers out there!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lamski Kikita

    Allende's first and best work of art. The story of three generations of Trueba women that tells the history of a nation. During the first 10 pages I was thinking to myself that there is way too much similarity on so many levels to One Hundred Years of Solitude, but why not, since it's the bible of Latin American magical realism? In addition to Clara, the second Del Valle daughter who forsaw the future, communicated with spirits, and moved objects without touching them, and Blanca, her daughter Allende's first and best work of art. The story of three generations of Trueba women that tells the history of a nation. During the first 10 pages I was thinking to myself that there is way too much similarity on so many levels to One Hundred Years of Solitude, but why not, since it's the bible of Latin American magical realism? In addition to Clara, the second Del Valle daughter who forsaw the future, communicated with spirits, and moved objects without touching them, and Blanca, her daughter who was castaway because of her forbidden love story with a communist peasant, and Alba, Blanca's daughter who had the green hair of her great aunt Rosa, the story of the book also revolves around Senator Esteban Trueba, the hardline right-wing, anti-communist, angry yet heartbroken oligarch; the Latin Patriarch of the Trueba family, and the man who built the big house on the corner. Allende almost seems rather sympathetic to the man who supressed his workers, raped all the peasant girls he could get his hands on, denied his illigitimate children, knocked the teeth out of his wife's mouth, beat his daughter and alienated her, almost killing her lover and forcing her to marry a French count with strange sexual fetishes, and contibuted greatly to the fall of a democratic government. What's the reason for this sympathetic attitude? maybe because it's Isabelle's own grandfather? Probably. What I loved most about The House of the Spirits is that it bore witness to the most important part of Chilean history: the Pinochet era. The narration of events that lead to the rising popularity of leftist parties that lead to the election of "the President" who is Salvador Allende- related to the author- the role the oligarchy played in giving the military a new-found power which resulted in the assasination of Allende, the fall of democracy in a country that was unfamiliar to coups and non-democratic processes, and the instillation of a tyrannical right-wing dictatorship that killed off its political enemies, tortured political prisoners, assasinated whoever was suspect of Marxism, and ruined the history of a nation, headed by Pinochet. The best way to follow this book is by reading her memoires: My Invented Country, and getting a Pablo Neruda - referred to as The Poet in the book- poetry collection.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Maxwell

    [Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher with no obligation for a review. Also they sent it 2 years ago, so sorry, Atria! But I did finally get to it.] How can so much happen in one book? And yet it's still pretty accessible and readable. There are a lot of characters—but the story is mainly seen through the lens of three strong women in a South American family: Clara, Blanca and Alba. They live through turbulent times, wars and rebellions, and are surrounded by violent men. Yet [Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher with no obligation for a review. Also they sent it 2 years ago, so sorry, Atria! But I did finally get to it.] How can so much happen in one book? And yet it's still pretty accessible and readable. There are a lot of characters—but the story is mainly seen through the lens of three strong women in a South American family: Clara, Blanca and Alba. They live through turbulent times, wars and rebellions, and are surrounded by violent men. Yet through supernatural and spiritual means, they persist. It's quite a magical story, with some mystical elements but is mostly grounded in the harsh reality of the world in which they live. I didn't connect the story immediately, and in general I always felt a bit outside the story, like I was observing rather than living through it with these characters. But I did really love Alba, particularly, and the epilogue ultimately elevated my feelings about this book. I'm glad to finally have read this modern classic and can see why it's remained at the top of influential books of the last century. I'd definitely give Allende's books another shot, because she is a skilled author, especially since this was her debut novel.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    One of the problems with a family saga is that people inevitably have to get old and die and sometimes when the best character goes the story loses its focus. I enjoyed a lot of this book but felt that when one main character left the scene she was not really replaced by any of the others and my interest waned. I read on to the end but did not really become involved in the final chapters at all. Still a good book and I can understand why it is a favorite for many people.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nayra.Hassan

    Our souls has no place in this world even if we lived in a one thousands room House We continue to run madly behind freedom and love,money and beauty; justice and power; master ship and independence For 75 years, and three families Allende have taken us to run behind the mirage and fall under the disappointments of an old house.that opened for her the door of literature kingdom We struggle and suffer isolation and cruelty and alienation must defeat us There are many kinds of life that makes you Our souls has no place in this world even if we lived in a one thousands room House We continue to run madly behind freedom and love,money and beauty; justice and power; master ship and independence For 75 years, and three families Allende have taken us to run behind the mirage and fall under the disappointments of an old house.that opened for her the door of literature kingdom We struggle and suffer isolation and cruelty and alienation must defeat us There are many kinds of life that makes you rush to death But nothing worse than our fear from fear itself and our novel here is about : fighting death Three families of three Ethnicities To form the monstrosity modern Chilean society The Spanish family of Del vallies; the Castilian-Arab: Trobia family; and the Indo-Latin Garcia family for the first time Isabelle gave the lead to a hero, not a heroine, but time was the real hero here as always The four whites Neviea. .Clara..Blanca . .alba .. From the grandmother to the late granddaughter they all shared a name meaning: whiteness and disclosure .. Depart / political like Nivea and Alba Indeed, one of them was not atrophied or false ' to the contrary, they were always clear; they shared simplicity and non-cost and sometimes "silliness " .. Nivia grandmother was an early "feminism" and put them on the path of independence and giving to others and doing good and the compation for others either for Political reasons like Nivea and Alba Or just for the sake of charity like Clara and Blanca Esteban Troubia He's the man who wither plants when he enter the place The angry lion; the self-made the fascist; the disgruntled dictator The descendant of the Peruvian royal family, who in his childhood bloomed with newspaper under his clothes and walked miles because he did not have Santafo to ride the tram.. he was angered by his father and by the heavy loss of Rosa on the day of his victory over poverty;

  23. 4 out of 5

    Em Lost In Books

    How I love these family sagas!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Robert Beveridge

    Isabel Allende, The House of the Spirits (Knopf, 1985) The House of the Spirits has set a new record at Goat Central. I have been trying to read this book for three years. Three solid years (well, just shy. Another two weeks and I would have made the anniversary). Why did I keep trying? Because when I'm actually reading it, it's not half bad. But every time I put it down, there is nothing, not a single thing, about it that makes me want to pick it up again. So I'll end up going six to eight Isabel Allende, The House of the Spirits (Knopf, 1985) The House of the Spirits has set a new record at Goat Central. I have been trying to read this book for three years. Three solid years (well, just shy. Another two weeks and I would have made the anniversary). Why did I keep trying? Because when I'm actually reading it, it's not half bad. But every time I put it down, there is nothing, not a single thing, about it that makes me want to pick it up again. So I'll end up going six to eight months between chapters, then feel guilty, resolve I'm going to finish it this time (no, really), pick it up, and read another chapter. At which point I'll need to set it down again to take a break, for Allende is second only to Doris Lessing when it comes to writing long, drawn-out chapters where nothing at all occurs. And another six to eight months will pass... So I'm breaking the cycle. I tried again tonight, and I realized that this whole time, I haven't cared about a single character in this book. Sure, they're all relatively well-written, but it's not enough to be well-written if they never actually get around to doing anything except pontificating. And that, well, they do a lot of that. I'm assuming this book doesn't have a plot; if you haven't started your plot a third of the way into the book, you need to go back and do a few more writing workshops. I have had many people, when I have mentioned in the past that I was trying to get through this dog, positively gush at me about how wonderful a book it is and how much they learned from it. I assume what they learned was the patience of the grave. I, unfortunately, failed that lesson. There are far too many other books in the world for me to waste any more time on this one. (zero)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Garrett

    Wow, what a remarkable novel. All over the book's jacket and in online reviews you'll find comparisons to Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude--rightfully so, I think. Both novels span decades and generations of families and are written in the magical realism style. I can't say that I loved 100 Years of Solitude, but The House of the Spirits is certainly the best book I've read this year, my favorite book I've read this year. I loved each character, particularly the women whose lives are the subject of Wow, what a remarkable novel. All over the book's jacket and in online reviews you'll find comparisons to Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude--rightfully so, I think. Both novels span decades and generations of families and are written in the magical realism style. I can't say that I loved 100 Years of Solitude, but The House of the Spirits is certainly the best book I've read this year, my favorite book I've read this year. I loved each character, particularly the women whose lives are the subject of the bulk of the novel, and the simply beautiful, lyrical style of Allende's prose. There are times of heightened drama, sensuality, and sentimentality, and they are wholly appropriate and convincing and breathtaking. I must confess to an embarrassing moment of tears while reading this book at a bar and sipping on a salty dog. The book diverges somewhat from its magical love stories and becomes a rather political novel in the end, but even this was expertly handled and was almost a depiction of the times more than the agenda-driven tale that many books of this sort become. I didn't find it didactic, I guess is what I'm trying to say. I've heard that this is Allende's best book, maybe her only really good one. I hope that's not the case. I'll probably read another one of hers based on the strength of this one, though. Anyone have a recommendation as to which one I should try next?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    Isabelle Allende's first novel was a bildungsroman covering four generations of a family with lightly veiled allusions to actual people in Allende's family and circle of acquaintances and enemies. A true chef d'oeuvre, it is a book written with the courage of the daughter of the assassinated Salvador Allende and yet does not come off a just a bitter vengeful book but rather is a fictionalised history of Chile also incorporating the magical realism of Marquez with her own unique female Isabelle Allende's first novel was a bildungsroman covering four generations of a family with lightly veiled allusions to actual people in Allende's family and circle of acquaintances and enemies. A true chef d'oeuvre, it is a book written with the courage of the daughter of the assassinated Salvador Allende and yet does not come off a just a bitter vengeful book but rather is a fictionalised history of Chile also incorporating the magical realism of Marquez with her own unique female perspective. A must read for folks that want to learn more about South America and Chile in particular or who are just interested in amazing and courageous women writers.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joy D

    Multi-generational family saga based upon the social, political, and historical events that took place roughly from the 1920’s to 1970’s in Chile. The narrative follows the Trueba family, including patriarch Esteban Trueba, his wife, Clara, their daughter, Blanca, and granddaughter Alba. It follows each character’s coming of age, their relationships, secrets, politics, and beliefs. Esteban represents the traditional conservative past. He is prone to bouts of temper, which lead to violent Multi-generational family saga based upon the social, political, and historical events that took place roughly from the 1920’s to 1970’s in Chile. The narrative follows the Trueba family, including patriarch Esteban Trueba, his wife, Clara, their daughter, Blanca, and granddaughter Alba. It follows each character’s coming of age, their relationships, secrets, politics, and beliefs. Esteban represents the traditional conservative past. He is prone to bouts of temper, which lead to violent outbursts, while viewing himself as the beneficent patrón. Clara is the mystical eccentric. She is a spiritualist whose life is filled with tarot cards, visions, and paranormal experiences. The subsequent generations, Blanca and her daughter Alba, rebel against the family traditions, and form liaisons with revolutionaries. Allende tells the story through two perspectives, a combination of third person omniscient interspersed with first person accounts from Esteban’s viewpoint. I was unsure of the reason for this rather jarring choice until the end when it becomes apparent. This book seemed to me like two books in one. The first two-thirds employs beautiful prose in depicting how a family changes over time. This section establishes the many characters, along with their traits and motivations. It took me a while to get grounded in the story. It meanders a bit and I wondered where it was headed. The last third morphs into a political commentary based on Allende’s personal connection to Chilean history. The pace picks up and it becomes action-packed, though extremely violent. This book was Allende’s debut. It was banned in Chile during Pinochet’s military dictatorship. Every year, I read several books of “an author’s body of work.” This year I selected Isabel Allende. I have read Daughter of Fortune, Portrait in Sepia, The House of the Spirits, In the Midst of Winter, The Japanese Lover, and Island Beneath the Sea. My favorite of Allende’s is still Daughter of Fortune (see My Review). I think Allende has toned down some of the magical realism elements in her more recent writings, which appeals more to my taste. She still employs it but allows for alternative explanations not based in the supernatural. The House of the Spirits employs much more magical realism than the others I’ve read. Some people love it; others not so much. Recommended to those that enjoy a mixture of paranormal with realism, love and hate, freedom and tyranny, compassion and brutality, family drama and politics, provided you have a high tolerance for graphic sexual and violent content.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    I've not read much in the area of magical realism (except for my aborted attempt to read Borges' Ficciones). This was a much more successful reading experience I believe because it was grounded in an historical time/experience that interests me: the coming to power of the Socialist government of Salvador Allende and it's eventual overthrow by coup. My experience of the book seems to have been opposite some others from what I have seen in some reviews. While I found the first half to be OK with I've not read much in the area of magical realism (except for my aborted attempt to read Borges' Ficciones). This was a much more successful reading experience I believe because it was grounded in an historical time/experience that interests me: the coming to power of the Socialist government of Salvador Allende and it's eventual overthrow by coup. My experience of the book seems to have been opposite some others from what I have seen in some reviews. While I found the first half to be OK with some very interesting parts related to Clara, I disliked the character of Estefan so much that it held back my enjoyment of the book. With the second half of the book, and the younger generations, as well as the obvious historical developments, I found my interest growing, my reading speeding up, my overall liking for the book raised. Obviously, that early history is necessary to later developments, but it was not my favorite. One interesting aspect of this book for me was how time is treated (or not treated) throughout the novel. Initially, other than vague references there really is little to tie this story in to any specific time period. I'm not sure if this made it feel timeless or merely confusing. The descriptions of the society, means of transport, clothing, etc all were so vague and old that this did not at times appear to be set in the 20th century. Looking back I realize the timeline could be the entire 20th century. I tend to forget how much has happened in virtually every nation's life during that time, things miraculous and horrifying, just as in House of Spirits. Also this House itself was kept out of time by its inhabitants. So much that can be said! But enough for now for me. I do recommend it acknowledging that there are times that one just has to stay with it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Abbie | ab_reads

    Isabel Allende made it onto my auto-buy-author list with this masterpiece, and I will now be hunting down and devouring everything with her name on it! . The House of the Spirits (translated from the Spanish by Magda Bogin) is a sprawling saga that spans four generations of the del Valle/Trueba families with a healthy dose of magical realism. There are comparisons to Gabriel García Márquez's 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' and I can see why, except everything I loved about that book was multiplied Isabel Allende made it onto my auto-buy-author list with this masterpiece, and I will now be hunting down and devouring everything with her name on it! . The House of the Spirits (translated from the Spanish by Magda Bogin) is a sprawling saga that spans four generations of the del Valle/Trueba families with a healthy dose of magical realism. There are comparisons to Gabriel García Márquez's 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' and I can see why, except everything I loved about that book was multiplied by ten thousand in THIS book, so you can only imagine how much I loved it! The magical realism elements are heightened, women are mostly the main focus, THE PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT NAMES SO YOU DON'T GET CONFUSED AS FUCK, MÁRQUEZ. . Although the country is unnamed in the novel, it's essentially set in Chile from the first World War until the coup d'état in 1973. I absolutely love it when books encourage me to do some research of my own and learn about countries and parts of history that I was ignorant about before. The first 400 pages have a decidedly different tone than the last 100, which become a lot darker, as politics become volatile and the brutal dictatorship is enforced, and yet the story as a whole still clicks. . I could not decide on a favourite character if you paid me! Clara the clairvoyant, Alba, Férula, all were women whom I came to admire and love; these types of books are really incredible because you encounter so much as the character lives out their whole life that you feel like you really know them! It's a wonderful feeling to be so fully immersed in a novel. . Addressing issues such as classicism, extremism, feminism, motherhood, rape, poverty, brutality, among a plethora of others, there's no shortage of heavy subjects that are all handled expertly by Allende and mixed beautifully with the magical realism to create a novel that I don't think any reader will forget! A new favourite!

  30. 5 out of 5

    El

    Barrabas came to us by sea, the child Clara wrote in her delicate calligraphy. She was already in the habit of writing down important matters, and afterward, when she was mute, she also recorded trivialities, never suspecting that fifty years later I would use her notebooks to reclaim the past and overcome terrors of my own. Thus begins Isabel Allende's debut novel from 1982 (English translation 1985). It amazes me that this is an author's first novel. It read to me as someone who has been doing Barrabas came to us by sea, the child Clara wrote in her delicate calligraphy. She was already in the habit of writing down important matters, and afterward, when she was mute, she also recorded trivialities, never suspecting that fifty years later I would use her notebooks to reclaim the past and overcome terrors of my own. Thus begins Isabel Allende's debut novel from 1982 (English translation 1985). It amazes me that this is an author's first novel. It read to me as someone who has been doing this for a long time, writing and publishing and spilling her guts out onto the page for all to read. This didn't exhibit any of the trepidation or self-consciousness that often comes with first novels. It also occurred to me that this may not have been the first time I read this book. If you were to ask me before this reading about some of the events in the book, I would not have been able to answer you, leaving me to think I hadn't read the book before. But occasionally there was a phrase or a turn of passage that seemed so familiar to me (a lizard on a dish, mythological creatures in a tapestry) that I could have been 100% certain I had read this before. Regardless, the timing of this reading couldn't have been more perfect. If I did read it years ago, it didn't make nearly as much of an impression on me as it did today, so for that reason alone I consider this my first time reading this book. I read somewhere that Allende was inspired to write this book upon the death of her elderly and beloved grandfather. I found this touching, but it becomes a bit muddled in my mind while reading and discover the patriarch here was this really god-awful brute of a beast. Was this the man Allende wanted to immortalize? Was she tapping into her own grandfather's life and experiences when writing this novel? Certainly she did dip into her own personal history for the writing of this - the political events that occurred around her growing up, in and outside of the house, cannot be denied. Allende was very informed politically, though a brief look at her family explains that pretty well. So what part of this book is true, outside of the political context, and which is fiction? It's hard to say. I'm always drawn to a strong family mythology, and this is one of the strongest. The women in this book are powerful, beautiful, and strong. We have two in the family lineage with green hair, as though they were mermaids, mythological creatures of their own. Each woman has her own battles in her life, her own loves and desires and passions. There are men here too, orbiting these women and affecting their daily lives by - let's just be real - getting in the fucking way as often happens. They are nasty creatures for the most part, but for better or worse the women (mostly, though not always) love them. My assumption is that Allende herself is the Alba character, the youngest of the women we see in this book, and her relationship with her grandfather - the man who set all of this drama and trauma in motion in the very beginning of the book, the real pig of a human being - is unlike that relationship between him and any other female character in this book. I find that appealing. Perhaps I could relate to that in a way, having forged a relationship with my own grandfather that was unlike the relationship he had with any of his children. We had a mutual respect that I don't know he ever experienced with his own daughters, but isn't that always the way it goes? Life and time cause people to chill the fuck out, or they burn out all their negativity energy on the people who deserve it least (in this case, their very own children), or maybe they just, in their own way, grow up. It's difficult, however, because I know the stories, and I know how much hurt existed, but that didn't match the relationship I was able to have with the man. It took me years to work that out in my mind - was I a traitor to my family? Was I a traitor to myself? Families are full of stories like these. We all have this convoluted and complicated histories. There are people in our pasts we wish hadn't existed, but then we wouldn't exist either. It's an ongoing story, our family histories, and that's why I'm most drawn to stories like these, these magical, sprawling, beautifully-told stories (in the wreckage of all the ugliness and violence). I felt a connection to each of the women in Allende's world which she created, whether it's true to her own family story or not. She had brutes in her past as well, but thank god for them for contributing to the creation of this amazing author.

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