House of Spirits was Isabel Allende’s first novel. By coincidence of magic, it became the third book of the unusual trilogy (Daughter of Fortune, Portrait in Sepia, and House of Spirits). In this story, narrated by Esteban Trueba and his granddaughter Alba, we follow the events in the Trueba family, its branches, and the other families connected to them. The events take place, according to my calculation, approximately from 1900 until the military coup to Salvador Allende in the mid 1970s.
This novel tells the story of at least four generations having Esteban Trueba and Clara Del Valle as the central couple. Esteban Trueba is a man who acquired a huge fortune by angrily working first in the gold mines, and later in the farm inherited from his father. Later in his life, Esteban becomes a senator for the Conservative Party. This man is so angry all the time and has so many episodes of wrath that his existence has to be necessarily fictional – a real person would have died of a heart attack much earlier.
Clara Del Valle is an ethereal woman who is more concerned with the whereabouts of spirits than the common activities of the everyday life. She married Esteban and they had three children: Blanca, and twins Jaime and Nicolas. Clara was the center of the family and she gave Esteban the stability that he needed.
This is the second time I read House of Spirits. I liked it as much as the first time. It is a story of love, passion, sensuality, anger, and the desire to change the destiny of a nation and society. Ms. Allende cleverly incorporates important events of the Chilean history giving even more significance to the story.
This book is available in paperback.
Beauty and use of language:★★★★