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The House of the Spirits

4.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  124,918 Ratings  ·  4,331 Reviews
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 otherwor
Paperback, 448 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published 1982)
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Breanna Banks I read it the first time at like 14, then again at 23 or so, and now... Maturity matters, but its so imaginative that it will inspire for different…moreI read it the first time at like 14, then again at 23 or so, and now... Maturity matters, but its so imaginative that it will inspire for different reasons.(less)
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) Allegory of what, precisely? I mean I know how I read it, but what do you mean?
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. RowlingTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeePride and Prejudice by Jane AustenTwilight by Stephenie Meyer
Best Books Ever
264th out of 43,382 books — 162,366 voters
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe House of the Spirits by Isabel AllendeLike Water for Chocolate by Laura EsquivelLove in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
Favorite Magical Realism Novels
3rd out of 871 books — 4,008 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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The book that started my love affair with Allende's writing way back in high school (thanks mom). I still remember the first line Barrabas (family dog) came to us from the sea. I read for the first time in English and was captivated. Then in college I got lucky that La Casa de los Espiritus was required reading for one of my classes, so I read the prose again en espanol. I'm still not sure which language I enjoyed more.
Now that I recently completed Allende's memoir The Sum of Our Days, it is rev
Jul 09, 2008 Claudia rated it it was amazing
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 c
Huda Yahya

جولة لا تُنسى في بيت الأرواح
هذه رواية تنطق بقداسة الأنثى
تمجد السحر الأنثوي البراق
تحكي تاريخ الدولة الأنثى
أو الأنثى الدولة
أرض الجنيات والساحرات وعرائس البحر

هذه رواية السنوات البحرية المحفوظة في ذاكرة وراثية لا تضيع أبدا
بل تنزلق بلطف عبر الأجيال النسوية الرحبة الصدور والطيبة كعجينة تراب من رحم الأرض خصبة وشغوفة

والشغف يكاد يصرخ متخطيا حدود العقل فيما سطرت إيزابيل بتاريخ عرق عائلتها النصف مخبولة والمعجونة بالسحر
أو فلنقل
تاريخ إنساني سطرته الأرواح الشفافة

وهي من ذلك ا

Esteban, Trueba,
how does your childhood grow?
With fear and guilt and such hard work
and 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
Feb 26, 2016 Ariel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 more about magical realism.

Here's my video review of this!
Emily May
Jun 25, 2014 Emily May rated it really liked it
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 mov ...more
Mar 07, 2016 Jen rated it it was amazing
This took me some time to read as I wanted to savour it for as long as possible and not have it end. This is my first Allende novel which depicts an epic story of a Latin American family that spans 3 generations. Weaved throughout are hints of mysticism, history, political unrest, cultural richness along with vivid descriptions of a cast of characters in which some evoke ethereal auras and others violent furies.

Allende’s masterful style of writing is lavish with foreshadowing and thematic contra
Dec 28, 2009 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foreign-language
2.5 stars, actually. (Still waiting for Goodreads to give me that half-star option.) Let's be honest, Isabel Allende is chick lit that you're not embarrassed to read on the Metro. It's got just enough faux-Garcia-Marquez, magical-realism-lite charm to fool people into thinking it's moderately intellectual. I don't have a big problem with that (as long as people realize what's going on) because Allende is a fine storyteller. This novel, her first and most famous, is a fairly traditional family sa ...more
Apr 26, 2016 Nikoleta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Αν και είναι το πρώτο δικό της βιβλίο που διαβάζω, στον κόσμο του βιβλίου και όχι μόνο, η Αλιέντε δεν χρειάζεται συστάσεις. Ήταν καιρός λοιπόν να την γνωρίσω κ εγώ και νομίζω ότι αυτή η έναρξη που έκανα ήταν ότι καλύτερο θα μπορούσα να επιλέξω.
Δεν θα πω πολλά. Το βιβλίο αυτό είναι πλέον πασίγνωστο. 3 γενιές μιας οικογένειας. Μαζί τους βιώνουμε το τέλος μιας ολόκληρης εποχής και τις επιπτώσεις του. Δεν χρειάζεται να αναφέρω την ιστορία, διότι η γνώμη μου είναι απλώς να το διαβάσετε.
Αυτό που μου
Dec 03, 2013 stephanie rated it really liked it
haha, so my sophomore honors english teacher decided he wanted to read a book with us for the first time, so he asked our department head to recommend a book. we all died, because mr. wells could not deal with talking about sex, and mr. hackling knew this, and he assigned this book. i mean, a couple of pages in, there's all this graphic rape in the fields going on! and then there's the creepy ass count . . .

i really loved the book though. it's layered, it's complex, it's beautiful. the imagery
Lamski Kikita
Mar 27, 2009 Lamski Kikita rated it it was amazing
Allende's first and best work of art. The story of three generations of Trueba women that tells the history of a nation.

During the first 10 pages I was thinking to myself that there is way too much similarity on so many levels to One Hundred Years of Solitude, but why not, since it's the bible of Latin American magical realism?

In addition to Clara, the second Del Valle daughter who forsaw the future, communicated with spirits, and moved objects without touching them, and Blanca, her daughter w
The House of the Spirits has a lot of aspects I normally wouldn't even consider reading about, and I only started reading this book because it is a famous classic that's been recommended to me several times before. I usually don't like historical fiction set in a modern period, and I am very skeptical towards the concept of a 'family saga', which is the major theme here. Nevertheless, rating this anything lower than five stars would be a great injustice to one of the absolute best books ever wri ...more
Aug 29, 2015 Phrynne rated it liked it
One of the problems with a family saga is that people inevitably have to get old and die and sometimes when the best character goes the story loses its focus. I enjoyed a lot of this book but felt that when one main character left the scene she was not really replaced by any of the others and my interest waned. I read on to the end but did not really become involved in the final chapters at all. Still a good book and I can understand why it is a favorite for many people.
May 10, 2008 Nian rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2008
I really wish I could say this is an amazing book, worthy of so much thoughtful praises, etc., but that would just be a lie. Given how much I enjoy good writing—and this book definitely has it all, like a beautifully crafted essay that speaks with prominent characters and conflicts between generations of families—it’s kind of weird for me to say this book is just okay. I mean, the only thing I like from this entire book is the language: the metaphors, descriptions, the lines that sound so poetic ...more
Chiara Pagliochini
« Ogni tanto ho la sensazione che questo l’ho già vissuto e che ho già scritto queste stesse parole, ma capisco che non sono io, bensì un’altra donna, che aveva preso appunti sui quaderni affinché io me ne servissi. Scrivo, lei ha scritto, che la memoria è fragile e il corso di una vita è molto breve e tutto avviene così in fretta, che non riusciamo a vedere il rapporto tra gli eventi, non possiamo misurare le conseguenze delle azioni, crediamo nella finzione del tempo, nel presente, nel passato ...more
Feb 05, 2008 Garrett rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Garrett by: Cassie
Wow, what a remarkable novel. All over the book's jacket and in online reviews you'll find comparisons to Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude--rightfully so, I think. Both novels span decades and generations of families and are written in the magical realism style.
I can't say that I loved 100 Years of Solitude, but The House of the Spirits is certainly the best book I've read this year, my favorite book I've read this year.
I loved each character, particularly the women whose lives are the subject of
Dec 14, 2008 Nicole rated it it was ok
I have a really hard time getting into magic realism, I'm more of a realism-realism kind of gal myself, so I was surprised when I started semi getting into this. Although, characteristically, I got more into the less magic/more realistic parts of the novel. I think this book wants to be some type of a feminist novel, but it falls short in so many ways. Now, I am not the type of feminist who goes out looking for feminist novels (big Roth fan here, actually) but I do have a problem with anything t ...more
I've not read much in the area of magical realism (except for my aborted attempt to read Borges' Ficciones). This was a much more successful reading experience I believe because it was grounded in an historical time/experience that interests me: the coming to power of the Socialist government of Salvador Allende and it's eventual overthrow by coup.

My experience of the book seems to have been opposite some others from what I have seen in some reviews. While I found the first half to be OK with so
May 20, 2016 Perry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: amados-libros
Passions, Politics & Psychic Powers over Three Generations of Chilean Family

Isabel Allende's stunning saga, The House of the Spirits, spans three generations of the Chilean Trueba family ending a few years after the Sept. 11, 1973 government overthrow led by General Pinochet, the awful right-wing dictator who, with the U.S. govt's support, seized the chance opened upon fears that Marxists would take over Chile.

Ms. Allende', who to my mind should soon be Chile's 3d Nobel Laureate in Literatur
Robert Beveridge
Dec 06, 2008 Robert Beveridge rated it did not like it
Isabel Allende, The House of the Spirits (Knopf, 1985)

The House of the Spirits has set a new record at Goat Central. I have been trying to read this book for three years. Three solid years (well, just shy. Another two weeks and I would have made the anniversary). Why did I keep trying? Because when I'm actually reading it, it's not half bad. But every time I put it down, there is nothing, not a single thing, about it that makes me want to pick it up again. So I'll end up going six to eight month
3.5! Me gusto bastante, pero no es mi favorito de Allende. Reí y llore con este libro.
Jun 15, 2014 kaire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
!!! ملحمه
هذه الروايه ملحمه القرن العشرين
هناك الكثيرون شبهوها بمئه عام من العزله
!لا أعرف لماذا
فالروايه تتبع أسلوب مدرسه الواقعيه السحريه
التي أنتشرت وأشتهرت بها أمريكا اللاتينه لا أكثر
ولأن القارئ العربي أكثره قد قرأ لماركيز
فقد ظنوا بها التقليد
لا علينا فلنعود
!!! ملحمه
هذه الروايه ملحمه القرن العشرين
عبقريه الليندي أكتسبتها من الظروف الصعبه
التي مرت بها بحياتها
والذي يقرأ سيرتها الذاتيه سيجدها مشابهه
جدا ً لروايتها وقصصها فلا عجب
فالكاتب يروي نفسه كثيرا ً وهو مرآه نفسه
هذه الروايه كتبتها الليندي بالم
Jan 22, 2009 Olga rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book gave me insomnia when I was reading it, I was so unsettled and fascinated by it. The setting is beautiful and dramatic and the atmosphere is magical. The politics are horrible, typical Latin American stuff, and Allende should know, as a close relative of the murdered socialist Chilean president, Salvador Allende.
It's an incredible family saga, a powerful history of characters plagued by their own, I guess, characters. You hate some and you admire some, still, they are all interesting
Feb 28, 2016 Chrissie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hf, favorites, magic, chile, series
I believe this is Allende's best book. She writes about what she knows, what pulls her own heart. This family, although very quirky, feels very real. Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction. And you learn about Chile and the era before Pinochet.
Ο Εστέμπαν Τρουέμπα, ξεκινάει ως ένας απλός εργάτης ορυχείου και φτάνει πολύ ψηλά, χτίζοντας μια ολόκληρη περιουσία στο μυαλό, τα χέρια και την ισχύ του. Η Κλάρα είναι μια όμορφη νότα δροσιάς στην ιστορία, ανάλαφρη και αφηρημένη, χαμογελαστή και διορατική, μια γυναίκα που προσπαθεί να ζήσει μια όμορφη ζωή δίπλα σε αυτό τον δύσκολο άνθρωπο, ενώ παράλληλα ασχολείται με τη μοίρα και το πεπρωμένο, κάνει τρίποδα τραπεζάκια να περπατούν και παίζει πιάνο με το νου της. Τα παιδιά τους έχουν όλα μια ξεχω ...more
May 01, 2016 Ebru rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, classics
Cok cok begendim,şiddetle tavsiye ederim. Özellikle Şili darbesi sonrası anlatılanlar çok dokunaklı ve bir o kadar da ülkemizde yaşananlara benzer hadiseler.
Luís Blue Yorkie
Never fantastic realism has been so real.

Always rich in descriptions and creator of unique female characters, Isabel Allende brings us in this book stories of life in the form of poetry and takes us into the book. The House of the Spirits tells the story of the saga of three generations of a Chilean traditional family from the early twentieth century. The action of the work reflects an important and turbulent revolutionary moment, ending with the military coup of 1973, which caused the then Pres
Sep 27, 2014 Bruce rated it it was amazing
I read this novel in Spanish, La casa de los espiritus.

This is the first of many novels written by the prolific Chilean author Isabel Allende, and it has often been judged to be among her finest. Assigned by many to the literary genre of magical realism, it does remind one in some ways to the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mario Vargas Llosa, but it also differs from them in important ways. Autobiographically based, the novel is more reminiscent of this genre in its first half than at the e
mai ahmd
Sep 22, 2012 mai ahmd rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: روايات

من عشق مئة عام من العزلة ربما سيستاء من هذه الرواية لليندي
وهل يمكن أن نحب الروايتين معا !
عني لم استطع حقيقة فالأصل يبقى دائما له ذلك البريق الذي حمل الدهشة تلو الأخرى
الليندي لم تتأثر فقط ولكن الرواية نسخة مقلدة لرواية العظيم ماركيز العمل الذي فاز على إثره بنوبل وترجم إلى لغات عديدة وتوج به بطلا روائيا
لو ذهبت إلى عزلة ماركيز لوجدت قرية ماكوندو الخيالية بينما في أرواح الليندي تحولت للماريات الثلاث .. ماركيز كتب على مدار ستة أجيال أو ثمانية لا أتذكر بينما كتبت الليندي على مدار أربعة أجيال أغلب ش
The family saga of a South American family that starts with the rags to riches man, Esteban Trueba (a kind of villain throughout the book, actually), who is an old man taking a look at his life, and part of the narration is taken from his journals. In the beginning, Esteban falls in love with one of the beautiful, green-haired del Valle daughters, Rosa.

"Rosa had no other wooers. Her mother explained it to me this way: she said that no one felt strong enough to spend his life protecting her from
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2016 Reading Chal...: The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende 20 41 Oct 02, 2015 12:01AM  
MHS AP English IV 2 14 Jun 10, 2015 09:59PM  
Brain Soup Goes G...: Warning: Spoilers! 6 30 Jun 01, 2015 12:04PM  
Brain Soup Goes G...: Thoughts on Translation 3 29 May 28, 2015 10:11AM  
Brain Soup Goes G...: General Discussion (No Spoilers!) 2 23 May 28, 2015 09:44AM  
A Million More Pages: The House of Spirits: Apr 13 4 11 Apr 19, 2015 01:03PM  
  • The Inhabited Woman
  • Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
  • The House on the Lagoon
  • The Old Man Who Read Love Stories
  • Kiss of the Spider Woman
  • Caramelo
  • In the Time of the Butterflies
  • Doña Bárbara
  • The Fall of the Athenian Empire
  • The Hummingbird's Daughter
  • Nosotras que nos queremos tanto
  • The Lost Steps
  • The Feast of the Goat
  • Bitter Grounds
  • Arráncame la vida
  • Memoirs
  • Blow-Up and Other Stories
  • So Far from God
Isabel Allende Llona is a Chilean-American novelist. Allende, who writes in the "magic realism" tradition, is considered one of the first successful women novelists in Latin America. She has written novels based in part on her own experiences, often focusing on the experiences of women, weaving myth and realism together. She has lectured and done extensive book tours and has taught literature at s ...more
More about Isabel Allende...

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“You can't find someone who doesn't want to be found.” 260 likes
“This is to assuage our conscience, darling" she would explain to Blanca. "But it doesn't help the poor. They don't need charity; they need justice.” 116 likes
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