The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book took a little doing to get into, but in the end it felt as though I read a classic. It's the story of a couple of generations of a family living in an unnamed country in South America. Some of the characters are eccentric to put it mildly. To begin, Rosa has green hair. I have no idea how that could happen. She dies young - before her fiance can come and claim her. When he finally does come, he marries her younger sister, Clara, who communes with spirits and moves objects with her mind. She had been voluntarily mute since her sister Rosa's death until she proclaimed she would marry her fiance. That's only the beginning. Esteban Trueba, the fiance and later husband to Clara, was definitely a rake - albeit an ambitious one. He started several businesses and succeeded in many of them making him a wealthy man eventually. He is the central figure in this book even though it seems as though it is about the women. He ties them all together. It was interesting to read the historical part of the book. It dealt with the country's changing political views - Socialism and Communism - and how the people, peasants and patrons, handled the changes. There were things that happened that were brutal and disgusting, but they told the story of the wildness of Trueba and his political opponents. There were also ribbons of love woven in that showed support and how love lasted through all the tumultuous years. The ending was satisfying and poignant, but not necessarily happy. I really liked it contrary to what some people say I like to read. There was violence, sex, rape, torture and sadness, but it was still a good book.
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