June 11, 2008

The House Of The Spirits by Isabel Allende

Chilean writer Isabel Allende's classic novel is both a symbolic family saga and the story of an unnamed Latin American country's turbulent history. Allende constructs a spirit-ridden world and fills it with colorful and all-too-human inhabitants. The Trueba family's passions, struggles, and secrets span three generations and a century of violent change, culminating in a crisis that brings the proud and tyrannical patriarch and his beloved granddaughter to opposite sides of the barricades. Against a backdrop of revolution and counterrevolution, Allende brings to life a family whose private bonds of love and hatred are more complex and enduring than the political allegiances that set them at odds.

When I was in college I had to read this book for one of my literature classes. I never did. I love to read but a 400 page novel plus 3 other literature classes plus waiting tables plus being flat out tired of school is too much. Recently, I ordered some books from Barnes and Noble and while waiting for them to arrive I needed something to read. I noticed The House of the Spirits still on my bookshelf after 15 years so I decided to give it a read.

What a great book! And I'm actually glad I didn't read it in college--I probably would've rushed through it and wouldn't have enjoyed it. You know what Allende does in this book? She does a lot of foreshadowing. A lot. And I like it.

For example: Among them was the Poet on whose knees Alba often sat, little suspecting that one day she would walk behind his casket, with a bunch of bloody carnations in her hand, between 2 rows of machine guns.

And here's another one: ...boxes filled with copies [of the book] wound up in the basement, where Alba used them as bricks to build her trenches, until the day years later when they were used to fuel an infamous bonfire.

Oh, and here's one more: ...Blanca was curled up with her head on the round belly of her new friend. Many years later, they would be found in the same position, and a whole lifetime would not be long enough for their atonement.

Dum, dum, dummmmmm! I love foreshadowing. And I loved this book.


Judy said...

Great book review!

Merrie said...

I loved this movie -- now I'm inspired to read the book. Thank you!

ali said...


Merrie--Wait, there's a movie? Now I have to see it!