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The House of the Spirits: A Novel by Isabel…

The House of the Spirits: A Novel (original 1982; edition 2005)

by Isabel Allende (Author), Magda Bogin (Translator)

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10,464164273 (4.09)449
Title:The House of the Spirits: A Novel
Authors:Isabel Allende (Author)
Other authors:Magda Bogin (Translator)
Info:Dial Press Trade Paperback (2005), 433 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned

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The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (1982)

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English (128)  Spanish (12)  Italian (8)  Dutch (6)  German (2)  Danish (2)  French (2)  Portuguese (1)  Hebrew (1)  Catalan (1)  Lithuanian (1)  All (164)
Showing 1-5 of 128 (next | show all)
An excellent novel but, due to the state of the world at the moment, I found the last quarter of the story depressing. ( )
  AngYoder | Jan 12, 2018 |
The House of the Spirits isn’t hard to read; it’s engaging, interesting, and, if you like magical realism, very entertaining. However, it is pretty long, spanning the lives of at least 3 generations of the Dell Valle and Trueba family. The story takes place in an unnamed South American country, though some of the events and characters in the story mirror those that took place in Chile. The novel is told by 2 narrators – the first one, who tells most of the story but whose identity remains unknown until the end of the novel, explains how he/she was able to piece together the story of the family from one of the characters’ notebooks/journals that “bear witness to life,” which she obsessively kept throughout her lifetime. The second narrator, who pops in an out of the main story to tell his own version of certain events, is Eduardo Trueba, the patriarch of the Trueba family and patron of the Tres Marias Hacienda.

The story starts with Senator Del Valle’s family – his feminist/activist wife, and large brood of children, namely Rosa the Beautiful, with her unusual beauty and equally unusual green hair, and Clara the Clairvoyant, who can communicate with spirits and move things with her mind. Outside the Del Valle Family, the story also chronicles the life of Eduardo Trueba, a young, ambitious man, whose fate is forever tied with members of the Del Valle Family.

The story goes on to chronicle the unusual events and extraordinary lives of first Clara and Eduardo, then later of their children, and grandchildren. The House of the Spirits, is essentially a collection of the strange and unusual stories that make up the lives of the unique, oftentimes, crazy individuals that make up the Trueba/Del Valle Family, ranging from clairvoyants, to philanthropists, to singer/songwriters, guerrilla leaders, and hippie activists, all mostly living under the roof of an equally extraordinary mansion. Apart from the main family members, there is also a slew of interesting characters whose lives are intertwined with the Trueba Family. The stories that make up their lives are sometimes funny, sometime sad, sometimes tragic, and sometimes quirky, but almost always interesting and moving.

The novel also covers a lot of ground in terms of themes and subject matter. It tackles different types of love, from romantic love, to unconditional love, to illicit, desperate, and unattainable love. It also doesn’t lack in tackling issues of religion, spirituality, mysticism, and the occult. All throughout, the novel illustrates and criticizes cultural practices, beliefs, and ideas shared by most South Americans, both in the past, and in the present. Toward the end, the novel focuses on the Trueba family’s involvement in a series of cultural, political, and military revolutions that the country undergoes.

Because of its range, cultural origin, and use of magical realism, it’s hard not to compare The House of Spirits with Gabriel Garcia Marquez‘s One Hundred Years of Solitude. The two novels share many similarities, from generational stories from one family, to strange events that eventually lead to a country’s political upheaval and cultural revolution. However, unlike One Hundred Years of Solitude, the characters in The House of the Spirits don’t use the same names in different combinations for members of different generations. Clara made sure of that in The House of the Spirits, saying that repeating names will only cause confusion in her notebooks “that bear witness to life.”

Despite it’s length, The House of the Spirits is, overall, very engaging and captivating. Though not exactly plot-driven, the novel contains riveting life stories which will keep readers interested in the outcome of the different characters, as well rich insights on South American culture and society. It’s the type of novel that will make you laugh, and happy, but will also make you cry from anger or sadness. So if you like long family sagas that delve not only into the colorful lives of different individuals, but also on the culture and history of a country; enjoy magical realism, or loved Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, then Allende’s The House of the Spirits is definitely for you! ( )
  aychayen | Jan 7, 2018 |
This book was a trip. ( )
  Janellreads | Oct 18, 2017 |
In the first few pages I was very disappointed that I bought this book. It seemed so derivative ofGabriel Garcia Marquez that I was embarrassed for the author. I stuck with it because despite my frustration, there were some very funny moments.
As the novel develops, the characters pull you in and the complex landscape of three generations captured my imagination.
In the last third of the novel, I could not put it down. Without saying too much I'll just add that Allende contributes some very beautiful and unique thought on the cyclical, ironic, introverted nature of our lives.
I have no doubt that this story and these characters will stay with me as I continue to reflect on how personalities develop in a family and how people cope with power or the lack there of... ( )
  ProfH | Feb 9, 2017 |
Fast paced, typical Allende style novel set in some banana republic over 3 generations - what a saga! I am not usually a fan of these great long family dramas but I have to give Allende credit - she has a very descriptive turn of phrase - some of the torture scenes stayed with me for months. She certainly rammed her message home about the children paying for the sins of the fathers. Sadly, most of the horrific parts of this book are probably true ... ( )
  essjay1 | Jan 11, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 128 (next | show all)
Primera novela de Isabel Allende, La casa de los espíritus narra la saga de una poderosa familia de terratenientes latinoamericanos. El despótico patriarca Esteban Trueba ha construido, con mano de hierro, un imperio privado que empieza a tambalearse a raíz del paso del tiempo y de 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 esta portentosa novela encarnan las tensiones sociales y espirituales de una época que abarca gran parte de este siglo.
added by Pakoniet | editLecturalia

» Add other authors (58 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Isabel Allendeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Morino AngeloTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Piloto Di Castri, SoniaTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bogin, MagdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Botond, AnnelieseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hitchens, ChristopherIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juan, AnaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lappi-Seppälä, JyrkiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Otter, SaskiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Risvik, KjellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thompson, MichelleCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Николаева, СусаннаTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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How much does a man live, after all?
Does he live a thousand days, or one only?
For a week, or for several centuries?
How long does a man spend dying?
What does it mean to say "for ever"?

Pablo Neruda
To my mother, my grandmother,
and all the other extraordinary women
of this story.
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Barrabás came to us by sea, the child Clara wrote in her delicate calligraphy.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553273914, Mass Market Paperback)

Here, in an astonishing debut by a gifted storyteller, is the magnificent saga of proud and passionate men and women and the turbulent times through which they suffer and triumph. They are the Truebas. And theirs is a world you will not want to leave, and one you will not forget.

Esteban -- The patriarch, a volatile and proud man whose lust for land is legendary and who is haunted by his tyrannical passion for the wife he can never completely possess.

Clara -- The matriarch, elusive and mysterious, who foretells family tragedy and shapes the fortunes of the house of the Truebas.

Blanca -- Their daughter, soft-spoken yet rebellious, whose shocking love for the son of her father's foreman fuels Esteban's everlasting contempt... even as it produces the grandchild he adores.

Alba -- The fruit of Blanca's forbidden love, a luminous bearty, a fiery and willful woman... the family's break with the past and link to the future.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:53 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

The Trueba family embodies strong feelings from the beginning of the 2 through the assassination of Allende in 1973.

(summary from another edition)

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