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. If this world is going to be a better place for our grandchildren and great grandchildren, it will be women who make it soIsabel 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 Chil an version of the Addams Family.Imagine too, if you will, Barrab s, 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 Garc a M rquez, Allende lets rip with her own brand of el realismo m gico.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 Tr nsito 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 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 afterthoughtSo 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 In One Of The Most Important And Beloved Latin American Works Of The Twentieth Century, Isabel Allende Weaves A Luminous Tapestry Of Three Generations Of The Trueba Family, Revealing Both Triumphs And Tragedies Here Is Patriarch Esteban, Whose Wild Desires And Political Machinations Are Tempered Only By His Love For His Ethereal Wife, Clara, A Woman Touched By An Otherworldly Hand Their Daughter, Blanca, Whose Forbidden Love For A Man Esteban Has Deemed Unworthy Infuriates Her Father, Yet Will Produce His Greatest Joy His Granddaughter Alba, A Beautiful, Ambitious Girl Who Will Lead The Family And Their Country Into A Revolutionary Future The House Of The Spirits Is An Enthralling Saga That Spans Decades And Lives, Twining The Personal And The Political Into An Epic Novel Of Love, Magic, And Fate 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 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 focusShe 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 . 4.5 5Esteban, Trueba,how does your childhood grow With fear and guilt and such hard workand 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 ever,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. 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 about magical realism.Here s my video review of this 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 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 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 Garc a.epic Throw in a government political coup Oh I want to hear and 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. P D D Gabriel Garcia Marquez comparisons aside, it s hard to review this book without references to the magical realism and the narrative styles of Latin America I truly believe that anyone not familiar with the above mentioned, would likely be a bit thrown, even put off by these influences Still, this is a brilliantly written story, epic in its truest sense Covering four generations of women with a man as the common thread between them , it races through the simplicity of the old world into the complexity of an increasingly global existance and the insistance that this country enter into the morphing global economy and political stage The true classics know how to do one particular thing very well They are able to capture the reader with the emotive ties to the characters in a microcosm while placing them in a grander milestone setting, historically Many stories have attempted this balance and fall short in one aspect or another Either the personal attachment is emphasized at the expense of the historical detail, or the historical events are diluted to platform the characters In this case, both are developed successfully because we are introduced and weaned on to the family first and then become involved in their plight as gradually as they do Political upheaval grew into their lives the way it grew into the narration It s also important to mention that by definition, this won t be a political struggle that most of the captalist population will be familiar with Some background knowledge of the history of Chile does come in handy, especially when references are thrown in enigmatically The Poet is mentioned sporadically at first, then his existance becomes poignant for a moment The reference to Neruda, his real life exile, his political position all of these are only subtly mentioned throughout the plot, and he is never referred to by name So it s interesting that Allende refers to censorship by censoring herself Clearly a conscious decision on her part, to seperate this historical novel from being a direct documentation of the history of Chile The same holds true for the events leading up to and after the military coup and the Pinochet situation This story shows us what it might have looked like behind the scenes What the papers were not reporting What the news programing was cleaning up on orders of the heads of state This is what this story is about In Latin America, these kinds of events are innumerable They are part of the history, but they can not be told for the very censorship that this story speaks of So they are told in novels and are thinly veiled as magical and exaggerated so as to hide behind such protection But they are real, and to this day, there is a weekly procession in one of the plazas in Santiago, Chile, of people who lost family members to the military government 40 years later, there are still hundreds who have not been accounted for With this story, Allende hooks us, reels us in, and binds us to these characters They are funny, ecentric, tempermental, ideal, strong, weak and so much Their dimensionality begs us to invest in them, emotionally, so that when their lives become shaken by their setting, we are as invested in how they will deal with the challenge.