Thursday 11 April 2019

Book Review: The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (Literary Fiction/Magical Realism)

Title: The House of the Spirits
Author: Isabel Allende
Black Swan

Publication Date: 1996 (1982)
Literary Fiction/Magical Realism
Secondhand Copy

In one of the most important and beloved Latin American works of the twentieth century, Isabel Allende weaves a luminous tapestry of three generations of the Trueba family, revealing both triumphs and tragedies.

Here is patriarch Esteban, whose wild desires and political machinations are tempered only by his love for his ethereal wife, Clara, a woman touched by an otherworldly hand. Their daughter, Blanca, whose forbidden love for a man Esteban has deemed unworthy infuriates her father, yet will produce his greatest joy: his granddaughter Alba, a beautiful, ambitious girl who will lead the family and their country into a revolutionary future.

The House of the Spirits is an enthralling saga that spans decades and lives, twining the personal and the political into an epic novel of love, magic, and fate.

The House of the Spirits is a captivating tale that combines a gripping family drama, a study of political upheaval, and a stunning use of magical realism. This saga of the Trueba family introduces memorable characters with whom you immediately fall in love, and I was also keen to turn the page, to find out what would happen to them. What worked best in this book for me was the blend of reality and unreality. Parts of the book were visceral and felt embedded in fact, while others had a deep fantasy element. I can see why this book is on so many of the lists of books to read before you die etc. It is a dazzling work, and one which I definitely believe warrants future rereads, as I think it's one from which you'd take away something different each time. 4.5 stars that I am rounding up to 5 stars.

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