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book review

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message 1: by Nicole (last edited Mar 26, 2010 12:20AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nicole Worldwide bestselling author Isabel Allende is a Chilean native, born in Peru. Before deciding to write fiction in 1981, she worked as a journalist for many years. The House of the Spirits was Isabel Allende’s first novel, which was very successful as well as her later works such as Of Love and Shadows, Eva Luna, and The Stories of Eva Luna.

This novel is basically a tale of romance, family, and different forms of magic. The novel is based on the history of the Trueba family. Their struggles and tears along with their most joyful experiences come to life. Love becomes a powerful force that possesses each member of the Trueba family. All come face to face at at least one point in their lives with the ultimatum of love verses other things. Certain qualities in characters are later seen in their descendants. For example, Clara’s habit of writing in her notebooks later became Alba’s escape from grief. Clara was also indulged in the world of magic, reading tarot cards and communicating with the spirits.

At the very end of the novel, we discover that the narrator is Alba. She is telling her family story through her memory, her grandfather’s memory and primarily; her grandmother, Clara’s notebooks. She has sorted them out according to date rather than the way her grandmother left them, which is by events, to tell the story. We are also introduced to each character of the family and become involved with their actions and reactions to life around them as the novel progresses.

The author is a bit secretive when referring the “The Poet.” His name is never actually mentioned, but the quote of a poem before the story begins leads the reader to believe “The Poet” is none other than Pablo Neruda. This may be due to her high respect has for him and his name or the political and social problems occurring at the time.

Throughout the novel there is a description of a past foreign land. There is a town with cobble stone streets and one person owning a vehicle while others ride by with a horse and carriage. We see it transform and change into a new and modern place, with everyone owning a vehicle. We also see the rich earth and streaming sunlight of the farm land known as Tres Marias. It is a place where, in the novel, the Trueba family share a peaceful time.

Esteban Trueba is a hard-headed man, who at the end of his days becomes terribly sorry for things he has done wrong if life. He is ill-tempered and occasionally does things that he has to pay for his regret later. One day, he became so enraged at his daughter Blanca, that when Clara tried to show him he was wrong for being so angry, he hit her. The hit knocked her to the ground and took out a few of her teeth. After this day, Clara never spoke to Esteban again for as long as she lived. He lived with a heart full of regrets and wishes that she would speak to him once more.

The marvelous garden, birds, and the scent of fruits that had filled the Trueba home when Clara was living later return. These things symbol serenity within the household that at last has come back into Alba’s life. The song Pedro Tercero sings of a fox and hens symbolize the overthrow of power. The passing of time and the effect of distant and silence creates the love affairs we see evolve. The censorship and war in the country within its military and citizens is a part if history the author chooses to share with us.

The characters to which we are introduced to, all vary in moral value, personality and trait. Each has their individual views of the world around them and how to deal with life. As the reader, we become captivated by these characters and how they respond to what life throws their way.

message 2: by Suchandra (last edited Jun 05, 2012 07:16AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Suchandra Wasn't Esteban Trueba also the narrator because there are places in the novel where you can't really imagine Alba...such as Christopher Columbus and the one in The Three Marias. I think the author has used three narrators: herself, Esteban Trueba and Alba.

Darlene Great characters to think about as the story progresses. At no time did I like Esteban Trueba, a selfish, mean spirited individual. Clara was interesting as were most of the others in the story. I especially liked Alba who seemed the closest to normal in the family.

Allende is one of my favorite authors so it is hard for me to be critical of her work. The only thing I would say is that the book was a little long but very interesting in its development of both character and events. I am sure it had some relationship to the overthrow of her Uncle Salvador Allende so it may not all be just imagination but based on some real things that happened it and during her time in South America.

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