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The Hacienda

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  333 ratings  ·  38 reviews
From a prize-winning British author comes a lush, absorbing memoir--an "Out of Africa" set in the Venezuelan Andes. Tremendously atmospheric, "The Hacienda" brilliantly evokes the unique confluence of time, place, and people that shaped this powerful writer.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 3rd 1999 by Back Bay Books (first published 1997)
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John
I declare an interest. I own a farm in Latin America. It is much smaller than the one of which this author became the Doña for several years. Also, I came to my farm late in life, whereas when she came to hers when she was teenager. Sometimes, when I walk the few hundred yards to the back of my land and look across the valley, I think of her doing the same in the early 1970s. The biggest difference is that when she did so, everything that she could see belonged to her (or, more accurately, the h ...more
Martha
Enchanted.

I read this while living in rural Ghana and it was fascinating to see the similarities between these rural undeveloped (insert pc term here) villages, despite their major geographic differences.

The text struck a good balance between calm and lively, but I read it pretty quickly. After more time, I might well have gotten bored. Although maybe not. While the details and anecdotes can seem unconnected and perhaps monotonous, they manage to convey (very subtly) Lisa's journey from a clue
...more
John Gurney
This memoir is so unexpected it reads like fiction. Teenage Englishwoman meets cash poor/land rich Venezuelan grandee, marries him and in the 1970s, moves to the isolated, rural hacienda that's been in his family for centuries. The hacienda is crumbling and Lisa St. Aubin de Teran plunges into a complex social situation, formed by a half millennium of tradition. Though she wants to befriend and help la gente, the people, of the gigantic property, they defer to her, are terrified of her, the new ...more
Stephanie
I read this as someone who had lived in Caracas, Venezuela in 1983, working for an English -language daily. Though I don't generally like memoirs, this one had a fascinating ring of authenticity. The author married a man more than twice her age, went to Venezuela from England and then was alternatingly abandoned or terrorized by his psychotic rages when he returned to his enormous sugar plantation. She had a child, held out for seven years, ruined her health, but learned to manage the estate, cu ...more
Xan Asher
If Lisa St Aubin de Teran had not become a novelist, she could simply have written autobiographies in which her truth is more extraordinary than most fiction. Ages back I read a book of hers (Memoirs Of A Train Addict?) which is a must for anyone who loves travel. The Hacienda is a wonderful evocation of time, place and strength and independence being built. Excellent reading.
Sarah smith gumataotao
I had some serious issues with this book but the story is fascinating. The author leaves out WAY too many details which I found very disappointing. I really wanted to know more. I needed more dots to be connected, the stitch to be tighter. That being said, it's a crazy story, and I like crazy stories.
Heather
Very interesting book and well-written, but flawed. It is a memoir so I guess she can write about what she wants, but she is so oblique about some of the happenings and occurrences (e.g., domestic violence) that I was left wondering what happened. And then she ends the book and you wonder what happened to the rest of her life. As well, she says that everyone in the sphere of Venezuelan society that she knows is nasty and vicious, yet at the same time she seems to have a bunch of friends -- how d ...more
Joan
I loved this book....really feel in love in and with it. Read it decades ago and need to reread.
Mereke
A memoir in which the writer does not allow you to know much about herself as a person and is generally fairly derogatory with respect to all the people around her. She's a fool to go to Venezuela, a fool to stay and a fool to tell us about it and expect us not to wonder what in the heck she was thinking when she married a man she didn't really care about one or another in the first place. I didn't find it enlightening or particularly interesting.
Sara
I hardly ever read books based in Latin America. I came across this used & since I enjoy memoirs I thought I'd give it a try. It took about 3 or 4 chapters for it to engage me. This author was quickly married to a man she barely knew, moved to his family's plantation as the matriarch, and was abandoned by him in the wild of the plantation. It is a very eccentric book, but interesting.
Malissa Cadwallader
Great memoir about a British woman who marries a Venezuelan plantation owner. The husband turns out to be a lunatic who nearly kills her, but her experience living on the plantation is a great adventure and provides insight about the world of working-class peasants in Venezuela. Book starts to drag toward the middle - but overall, I totally recommend this one...
Tracy
It is an interesting memoir for the various characters encountered and the incidents that befell the author. The writing is altogether lacking in creativity and it reads like a journal. The description of the culture and behavior of the people in this rural area of Venezuela is interesting but otherwise I found the storytelling too disappointing.
Eniko
I much enjoyed reading this book, especially after reading Swallowing Stones by the same author. The Hacienda tells the tales of an English girl who married a Venezuelan revolutionary at the tender age of 17, and went to live on his hacienda among the "gente rural". It is delightful as it is horrifying at times, but altogether beautifully written.
Marghimarkham
Jul 21, 2009 Marghimarkham added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
I loved this book. Could not put it down. It is a very dramatic and informative picture of life on a neglected plantation in South America and one woman's attempts to improve the situation of all living thre.
Lisa St Aubin de Teran has led a fascinating life and is a terific writer.
Sheila
Rich with characters you love, hate and pity. An emotional-packed atmospheric visit to a dangerous, beautiful environment filled the people who survive or die without fanfare.
I enjoyed the author's detailed descriptions of her harrowing life at the Hacienda. A great memoir.
cessie
I love her! She has a great style and stories to tell. This book is about her time in Venezuela where she stayed at the hacienda of her husband for a couple of years.

Read more
Stephanie Brook
Although I related in some ways to the main character, I felt that she was far too passive and her personality frustrated me to no end. I did not have a hard time finishing the book, but I was not pleased with the outcome when I did reach the finish line.
Liddy Barlow
She lived an almost unbelievable life and certainly did things an average person would not have done -- marry a man who didn't speak English, etc. But she behaved admirably at the hacienda, and captured its landscape and people so well I dreamed of them.
Mary Mccullough
Not sure. Her style of writing seemed very detached and I didn't get invested in any character. She seemed so passive it was hardly credible. She leaves it unfinished in my opinion. Would have liked to find out what happens at the end.
Rachel
A young English woman's perspective on Venezuelan hacienda culture. Quirky anecdotes and very interesting observations on lifestyle of her new home, especially interesting to read while abroad in a South American country.
Audreyjackson
The book languished on a shelf for a long time at last I picked it up and never put it down again. it is so real and real with the time for any woman trying to survive then. I was caught up in this book.
Jean
The sort of writing where the places seem real in your head long after you finish the book. Crazy privileged impoverished highly colored wise things...
follow up with author's Valley in Italy book.
Linda
this biography gives truth to the statement - life is indeed stranger than fiction. Surviving an eccentric British upbringing, marriage and abandonment on a wild plantation in S. America
Adrienne
Beautifully written. Despite the instability of her marriage and the hardships of her time in Venezuela you can't help but wish to see and experience life on la hacienda for yourself!
Beverly Williams
Memoirs of a 17-year-old English girl who marries a Venezuelan aristocrat—Her life in the Andes in an unfamiliar society with an unstable man-her personal growth and strength.
David
Captivating, lyrical, a mesmerising account of life in the Venezuelan Andes. What a great way to experience this world from the comfort of your sitting room!
Emily Mellow
Wow, fantastic story. I was halfway through it before I realized that it was a memoir. It's really well written and amazing. An enjoyable, engrossing read.
Sofie
Dit boek geeft op een leuke manier weer hoe groot de verschillen tussen culturen wel niet zijn en wat de gevolgen daarvan zijn. Prachtig en vlot verteld.
Kay
Normaly I don't like memoirs but.... This one I loved. I could visualize the place and the people. I felt like I had traveled to the Hacienda myself.
Yoke
Loved this book. Have read it more than once. The stories are bizarre, but written in such a convincing way. Beautiful.
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Lisa St. Aubin de Terán was born Lisa Rynveld in South London. She attended the James Allen's Girls' School. She married a Venezuelan landowner, Jaime Terán in 1971, at the age of 17, and became a farmer of sugar cane, avocados, pears, and sheep from 1972-1978.

Her second husband was the Scottish poet and novelist George MacBeth. After the marriage failed, she married painter Robbie Duff Scott and
...more
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