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The House of the Spirits (1982)

by Isabel Allende

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
13,599236418 (4.08)590
Fiction. Literature. Romance. HTML:"Spectacular...An absorbing and distinguished work...The House of the Spirits with its all-informing, generous, and humane sensibility, is a unique achievement, both personal witness and possible allegory of the past, present, and future of Latin America." ‚??The New York Times Book Review

Our Shared Shelf, Emma Watson Goodreads Book Club Pick November/December 2020!
The House of the Spirits, the unforgettable first novel that established Isabel Allende as one of the world's most gifted storytellers, brings to life the triumphs and tragedies of three generations of the Trueba family. The patriarch Esteban is a volatile, proud man whose voracious pursuit of political power is tempered only by his love for his delicate wife Clara, a woman with a mystical connection to the spirit world. When their daughter Blanca embarks on a forbidden love affair in defiance of her implacable father, the result is an unexpected gift to Esteban: his adored granddaughter Alba, a beautiful and strong-willed child who will lead her family and her country into a revolutionary future.

One of the most important novels of the twentieth century, The House of the Spirits is an enthralling epic that spans decades and lives, weaving the personal and the political into a universal story of love, magic, and fa
… (more)
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» See also 590 mentions

English (183)  Spanish (23)  Italian (10)  Dutch (6)  French (3)  German (2)  Danish (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  Lithuanian (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (235)
Showing 1-5 of 183 (next | show all)
This is on every list of South American lit so I'm glad I read it, but for me this was just OK. ( )
  mmcrawford | Dec 5, 2023 |
ok, someone can see spirits, oooooh! ( )
  farrhon | Nov 16, 2023 |
Some might think that Allende is directly ripping off Marquez. The major (important) difference is that this story is grounded in her own family's history and the infamous coup in which her uncle Salvador was overthrown by CIA-supported fascist forces. The last few chapters powerfully dispel the cloud of magical realism hovering over this novel with horrific scenes of rape and torture. ( )
  jonbrammer | Jul 1, 2023 |
How am I supposed to rate a book like this? I liked it, but I didn't always enjoy it. The characters are complex and interesting, but I hated Esteban. I feel like I read 1,000 pages of an important literary text, but it wasn't even 500. Basically, I'm glad I read this book, and I'm glad to be done with it. ( )
  AngelClaw | Jan 14, 2023 |
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‚Äôs debut. It was banned in Chile during Pinochet‚Äôs military dictatorship. Every year, I read several books of ‚Äúan author‚Äôs body of work.‚ÄĚ This year I selected Isabel Allende. I have read [b:Daughter of Fortune|16527|Daughter of Fortune|Isabel Allende|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1299666780s/16527.jpg|3471915], [b:Portrait in Sepia|85987|Portrait in Sepia|Isabel Allende|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1379900929s/85987.jpg|3311687], [b:The House of the Spirits|9328|The House of the Spirits|Isabel Allende|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1358615501s/9328.jpg|3374404], [b:In the Midst of Winter|34686052|In the Midst of Winter|Isabel Allende|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1508075983s/34686052.jpg|55863320], [b:The Japanese Lover|25152052|The Japanese Lover|Isabel Allende|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1501991754s/25152052.jpg|44854000], and [b:Island Beneath the Sea|7005479|Island Beneath the Sea|Isabel Allende|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1501991943s/7005479.jpg|6825396]. My favorite of Allende‚Äôs is still [b:Daughter of Fortune|16527|Daughter of Fortune|Isabel Allende|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1299666780s/16527.jpg|3471915] (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‚Äôve 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. ( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 183 (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
Bogin, MagdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Botond, AnnelieseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Castri, Sonia Piloto DiTranslatorsecondary 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
Morino, AngeloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nikolov, VentseslavTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Otter, SaskiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Risvik, KjellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thompson, MichelleCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
–Ě–ł–ļ–ĺ–Ľ–į–Ķ–≤–į, –°—É—Ā–į–Ĺ–Ĺ–įTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
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
¬ŅCu√°nto vive el hombre, por fin?
¬ŅVive mil a√Īos o uno s√≥lo?
¬ŅVive una semana o varios siglos?
¬ŅQu√© quiere decir para siempre?
Pablo Neruda
Dedication
To my mother, my grandmother,
and all the other extraordinary women
of this story
A mi madre, mi abuela y las otras extraordinarias mujeres de esta historia.
I.A.
First words
Barrab√°s came to us by sea, the child Clara wrote in her delicate calligraphy.
Barrab√°s lleg√≥ a la familia por v√≠a mar√≠tima, anot√≥ la ni√Īa Clara con su delicada califgraf√≠a.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Fiction. Literature. Romance. HTML:"Spectacular...An absorbing and distinguished work...The House of the Spirits with its all-informing, generous, and humane sensibility, is a unique achievement, both personal witness and possible allegory of the past, present, and future of Latin America." ‚??The New York Times Book Review

Our Shared Shelf, Emma Watson Goodreads Book Club Pick November/December 2020!
The House of the Spirits, the unforgettable first novel that established Isabel Allende as one of the world's most gifted storytellers, brings to life the triumphs and tragedies of three generations of the Trueba family. The patriarch Esteban is a volatile, proud man whose voracious pursuit of political power is tempered only by his love for his delicate wife Clara, a woman with a mystical connection to the spirit world. When their daughter Blanca embarks on a forbidden love affair in defiance of her implacable father, the result is an unexpected gift to Esteban: his adored granddaughter Alba, a beautiful and strong-willed child who will lead her family and her country into a revolutionary future.

One of the most important novels of the twentieth century, The House of the Spirits is an enthralling epic that spans decades and lives, weaving the personal and the political into a universal story of love, magic, and fa

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