Read Date: August 8, 2019
Format: Print Book
Where to begin! Frequent readers and visitors will know that I am a true lover of magical realism, specifically from Hispanic authors, and The House of the Spirits epitomizes that genre. A multigenerational saga of the Trueba family, Spirits is replete with familial trials and tribulations, hardships and heartbreak, and strengths and successes. Entwining political, social, and societal expectations and their variances among the different generations, Allende has crafted a work of love, magic, and fate; it is easy to see why this is such a pillar of Hispanic literature.
The novel is extraordinarily written and translated– my edition was translated by Magda Bogin– and this has been added to the list of things I now hope to read in the original Spanish. One of the most interesting aspects of The House of the Spirits is Esteban Trueba’s first-person narrative interpolating the otherwise objective third-person storytelling. Throughout the course of the omniscient narration, Trueba appears ruthless, misogynistic, just a real trash bag, and by the end of the novel in his old age, you almost end up sympathizing with him. What adept writing!
It’s difficult to review something as dense and substantial as House of the Spirits or One Hundred Days of Solitude— yes, I know the Allende-Garcia Marquez comparison is an old one– as there is so much packed inside these great works, but suffice it to say that lovers of magical realism will be completely satisfied at the novel’s culmination. The political unrest is colorful, the romances are passionate, and the familial relations are incredibly poignant.
Find The House of the Spirits here or, as always, at your local library!