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The House of the Spirits (1982)

by Isabel Allende

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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11,697199374 (4.08)508
The Trueba family embodies strong feelings from the beginning of the 2 through the assassination of Allende in 1973.
Recently added byKaitlinV, 2blackcats, LauraMichelle606, Namdrol, kat468, private library, Holita, sdprikrylova, CarltonC
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1980s (28)
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» See also 508 mentions

English (154)  Spanish (18)  Italian (9)  Dutch (6)  French (3)  Danish (2)  German (2)  Portuguese (1)  Hebrew (1)  Lithuanian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (198)
Showing 1-5 of 154 (next | show all)
I just looked at when I started this book and have to say it's really sad it took me this long to through in the towel. I already could tell as soon as I started the writing was going to drive me bonkers, but it became too much for me to overcome in the end and I stopped reading at 26 percent, or page 125 of 468 in my Kindle version of this book.

What's to say in the end. There were too many characters doing random things that I didn't follow. I know this is a magical realism book, but didn't really see it much in what I read. But I think the wall of text is what was so offputting to me as a reader. There were just whole pages with a block of text and no spacing in between. I had a hard time keeping the sentence straight which hasn't happened to me in a long time.

I know this book is a classic, but in the end it's not just for me.

"The House of the Spirits" follows three generations of the Trueba family, living in Chile. And I could not tell you a single character's name without cheating and going back to the synopsis.

I just found the what I read to be rather flat and colorless and finally jumped back into a memoir I was reading. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Four generations
chained to a bull of a man
bound, even in death. ( )
  Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
This one was a book club read, and I have to say I was hesitant in it at first. Rather than hooking me quickly as I'm used to, "The House of the Spirits" wound itself around the back of my mind, tugging gently on my fingers until I got up the nerve (and time) to follow its unspooling thread. This isn't a book to be read in short chunks, but chewed on for an hour or more at a time, while you sink deep into the rich, complex, and often fraught lives of its characters.

Ultimately, I cannot say I didn't enjoy this read, but there's no lying about it's toughness — the main narrator, Esteban, is a callous and unlikeable man, a serial rapist and cruel husband. That even he is somewhat redeemed in the eyes of his beloved granddaughter, Alba, however, gave me pause. Was I supposed to forgive him alongside her? I'm not sure we wholly do, or whether I did, but by the end of the book I think I saw a bit of him as Alba saw him: a complicated, horrible man, but also that: a man, even a horrible one, not a cardboard cut-out of a villain or worrying narrator. It was Alba, ultimately, that I admire most in this story, and the end of "The House of the Spirits" is a testament to the power of story itself, Alba taking the first-person narration from her dying grandfather. She also takes her grandmother, Clara's, notebooks and diaries, beginning to weave them with her own story. In the end, "House of the Spirits" ends with the hopes of breaking cycles, but only if we remember how they have been cyclical before — if we can see the past with open eyes for its goods and ills to not repeat the same mistakes. ( )
  priorfictions | Jun 24, 2020 |
For the first three-quarters of this book, the impression that I couldn't get away from was that it was basically a less painful version of "One Hundred Years of Solitude". Both books essentially detail the fortunes of a particular family over the generations - but at least in the case of "House of the Spirits", it's over a few less generations, and Allende also knows a greater variety of names.

At any rate, the first three-quarters of the book are very slow, and they're okay but honestly not very memorable. Every time I put the book down for a few days, I'd struggle to remember who all the characters were or what had happened to them when I picked it up again. By the time I finally got three quarters of the way through the book, my memory for it had improved a little... which was good, as the last quarter of the book is where it picks up a lot.

Basically, as this book is partly a portrait of Chile over the twentieth century as well as one of this family, the last quarter of the book is where Salvador Allende's government comes to power, and then there is the coup, and then the dictatorship. The impact this has on the family made me feel like those 300 pages of establishing all these characters in laborious and painstaking detail were almost worthwhile.

Overall, I did enjoy this book - I really did - but the first three quarters were just so slow and it got a bit tiresome. It's the kind of book that is probably much better the faster you read it, so you don't forget who the characters are between reading sessions - and maybe it'd seem less slow if I'd done that, too. ( )
  Jayeless | May 27, 2020 |
Eine Familiensaga, die zum Welterfolg wurde: Isabel Allende erzählt die wechselhafte Geschichte der Familie des chilenischen Patriarchen Esteban Trueba und seiner hellsichtigen Frau Clara und führt uns mit der ihr eigenen Fabulierkunst durch eine Zeit, in der persönliche Schicksale und politische Gewalt eng miteinander verwoben sind. Der Erfolg dieses Buches verdankt sich dem hinreißenden Erzähltemperament Isabel Allendes: Mit Phantasie, Witz und Zärtlichkeit malt die Autorin das bunte Tableau einer Familie über vier Generationen hinweg.
  Fredo68 | May 18, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 154 (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 (35 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?
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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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