A classic by Allende, totally worth reading for anyone who likes Latin American fiction. I found it very interesting to read this *after* Paula, in which Allende discussed her experience writing The House of the Spirits, her motivations and writing process. So even though this is a work of fiction, the characters and events are very close to Allende's life, and it was neat to be able to read it with that perspective, which she only revealed in later writings and interviews.
Took me a while to read! Certainly not a light, beachy read, but still not overly intense. Just has so much going on in every paragraph, it cannot be read with less than full attention! There is some violence, which could be expected in a novel about a patriarchal society moving towards dictatorship, and it's not obscene or out of place. I do like these stories in the magical realism style, which tend to follow families across many generations. New characters emerge and grow to take the place of others, etc.
A good one! Pretty essential in the canon of modern Latin American fiction, and glad I read it. I've enjoyed later books by Allende more (Ines of My Soul, Portrait in Sepia), especially once her stories expanded to include bits in the US as well. But she writes what she knows, injects a bunch of Chilean history and real themes of dictatorship & revolution, and it's a great book.