|The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende (1986)
||[Jul. 1st, 2003|01:49 pm]
A familial saga in a region which looks like Chili
Between the various generations, between the branch of the masters and the one of the bastards, between the patriarch, the women, the servants, the peasants of the domain, relations are tied and untied, marked by the absolute of love, the familiarity of death, the soft, or bestial madness of the members of the family, which reflect and summarize the vicissitudes of a country which has been in a few decades from rural rythms and country traditions to fratricidal confrontations and ferocity of modern tyrannies.</td>
Traces the lives of the Truebas, beginning with clairvoyant Clara del Valle's summoning of the man she intends to marry, ambitious Esteban Trueba, and following their participation in the history of their times which is their destiny.
And thus the saga begins depicting several generations of family, their relations and politics and with a touch of the magical realism. But underlying this spiritual quest is a very real account of Latin American politics weaving a strong tale of consequence of action.
Clara was a vision in white chantilly lace and natural camellias, as happy as a parrot after her nine years of silence, dancing with her fiancé beneath the canopies and lanterns, completely oblivious to the warnings of the spirits that gesture desperately at her from the curtains, because in the tumult and whirl she could not see them.
The music stopped and the guests gathered in the main hall where a small, innocent priest, adorned with the vestments of high mass, read the complicated sermon he had written exalting confused and impracticable virtues. Clara did not listen to him, because when the din of the music had died down and the whirl of the dancers had subsided, she began to pay attention to the whispering spirits behind the curtains and realized that it had been hours since she had last seen Barrabas. She looked everywhere for him, summoning all her senses, but her mother's elbow in her ribs brought her back to the pressing matter of the ceremony. The priest finished his speech and blessed the two gold rings. Esteban quickly put one on his bride-to-be and slipped the other on his own finger.
At that moment a scream of horror shook the guests. The crowd cleared to either side, making a path for Barrabas, who staggered out blacker and larger than ever with a butcher's knife stuck in his back clear to the hilt, bleeding to death like an ox, his long colt legs trembling, his muzzle dripping with threads of blood, his eyes clouded in agony: dragging one paw after the other, he traced the zigzag path of a wounded dinosaur. Clara fell back onto the French silk loveseat. The enormous dog approached her, laid his huge, millennial animal head in her lap, and looked up at her with lovesick eyes that gradually dimmed and grew blind, while the white chantilly lace, the French silk of the sofa, the Persian carpet, and the parquet floor absorbed his blood.
Isabelle Allende was born in Peru and raised in Chile. When in 1973, President Salvador Allende, her uncle, was assassinated in a military coup, she was forced to flee from Chile. She moved to Caracas, Venezuela where she found work as a feminist journalist. It was in 1980, at the news of her one-hundred year old grandfather's impending death, that she began to write, beginning with a letter to him which she knew he would never receive. This letter became the international best seller The House of Spirits. Allende currently lives in California.
She wrote books such as Eva Luna (1988), Paula (1995), Daughter of Fortune (1999), and more recently, Portrait in Sepia (2001). .
what i've thought about it
it's strange because i've templated the page about the books the one hundred and one ways, and realised i could make the exact same comments.
this book is amazing, because it portraits a family through 3 generations of women (it begins with Clara when she's about 10 years old, and ends with Alba, Clara's grandchild, when she's in her 20s).
it's a gathering of many stories, which are crossed between the Trueba's family, who live part time on the City in "the big house on the corner", part time on Trueba's domain, "The Three Marias", on the countryside, and the Garcias, who are the main family of the peasans of Trueba's domain.
It's a really touching books, sad but happy. It begins as a tale, and ends in a much more realistic way with the political problems of the country (the socialists arriving on the Government, the President killed, the dictatorship instaured).
isabelallende.com > official site about isabel allende
mostlyfiction > infos about the books and the author
the guardian > infos about isabel allende and a list of interviews
isabel allende > the fanlisting