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The House of the Spirits
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June 2018: Magical Realism > The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende -- 4 stars (so close to 5 until the last quarter of the book)

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Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
4 stars

I am sneaking in this book just past the wire, but I say it counts! lol. When MR was announced, I knew I wanted to read this book. To me, South American literature is quintessential MR (I mean, that is where the genre started, right?!) and who better to select than Isabel Allende. Plus, I love Jane the Virgin and this is Jane's favorite book AND she meets Allende. I just couldn't pass it up.

This multigenerational novel follows the Trueba family in Chile. I loved everything about it for about the first 75%. And then, we entered into the political realm of Chile. Which actually sounds intriguing, important, and terrifying! The democracy elects a new government, but then the old government overthrows the new one, but THEN the military that helped in the coup does not relinquish power.

Apparently, this is based very solidly in the history of Chile. But, I fully admit that I am not well versed in my Chilean history, and I was lost for most of it until it was explained in exposition in the second to last chapter of the book. I still very much cared what happened to the family members and their loved ones, but the focus shifted to the government.

Even with that, I thought the book was fabulous. I loved many of the characters, I loved to hate some of the others, and they were each drawn with traits that repeat through the generations. As South American multigenerational novels are wont to do.

So glad I finally got to this MR classic.


Booknblues | 6844 comments I read this so long ago that I only remember that I liked it.


Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6381 comments I am a fan of Allende's writing, and this was the first one I read by her. I barely remember it now. Daughter of Fortune and Portrait in Sepia are linked, in that they tell the earlier history of this family. DOF was the second book written in this trilogy, but is the first book in chronological order.


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Book Concierge wrote: "I am a fan of Allende's writing, and this was the first one I read by her. I barely remember it now. Daughter of Fortune and Portrait in Sepia are linked, in that they tel..."

Oooo....I didn't realize that DOF was about this family! Now I want to read it even more.


message 5: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3834 comments I think this book started my "not liking magical realism" before I even know what MR was. We read this as required reading in 11th or 12th grade, and I remember HATING the clairvoyance and "future telling" aspect.

I feel like I should give this another try, but have a feeling I still won't be a fan.


Diane Zwang | 485 comments I loved this one when I read it.


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Hahahaha, Joi. Yeah, MR may not be for you. I actually thought the MR was very light (which I think is a common theme amount South American MR) and, really, Clara was the only one with any actually spiritual skill.

I felt like the whole story was just imbued with this feeling of....fate? I am not saying that very clearly. But things like Tres Maria being an abundant hacienda felt magical without there being actual magic.


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