The House of the Spirits (idea)
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"With this spectacular first novel, [Isabel Allende] becomes the first [woman] to join what has heretofore been an exclusive male club of [Latin American] novelists."
The House of the Spirits (translated from [La casa de los espíritus]) is a [family story] of multiple [generation]s. It plays in [Chile] (although the country is unnamed in the book) from the early 20th century to the 1970's. Like many of the great South American writers, Allende makes use of [symbolism] all the time. The book also gives an outline of the Chilean [political evolution] in the 20th century.
"The wonderful quality of [human beings] is that we can overcome even absolute [terror], and we do"
Short outline of the story
[Rosa] and [Clara] are two remarkable daughters of the Del Valle family, because of Rosa's [astonishing] beauty and Clara's power to move things without touching them and to [call spirits].
Rosa's fiancé [Esteban Trueba] gives up his work when Rosa dies of poisoning and rebuilds the [family estate] into a perfectly run company. After a few years, Esteban visits the Del Valle family and falls for Clara. She has not spoken a single word since her sister's funeral, but now this all changes and they marry. Daughter [Blanca] is born after which they move to the Trueba estate.
Here, Blanca and [Pedro Tercero García] ([foreman] on the estate) become friends and fall in love. Clara gives birth to a twin (Nicholas and Jaime) while on the same day discovering that her parents have died in a [car accident]. Esteban's sister [Farula] dies as well and he is hurt himself in an [earthquake]. To add to the tragedy, Pedro and the other workers turn themselves against their [patron], while Esteban also discovers that Blanca is [pregnant], with Pedro being the father. Pedro flees when Esteban wants to kill his daughter's [aficionado].
[Socialist]s grab power in the country and [senator] Esteban's workers occupy the estate and keep their manager [hostage]. Blanca asks Pedro to step up for him, which results in Esteban's [liberation]. He promises to make sure they will be able to live together.
When Esteban Trueba dies, his grand daughter [Alba] decides to write down the family story.
The original version of the book was published in Isabel Allende's native language [Spanish] under the title La casa de los espíritus. Although I've foldered the book here under its English title (since English is the [E2] language) the [bestseller] was translated in many languages. A list of translated titles I've encountered:
Danish director [Bille August] made a movie of the book in 1993. As happens to most depictions of true literary works, the movie resulted in little success. The lack of sensation had nothing to do with the impressive cast:
The [Chicago Sun-Times] put it most clearly when saying:
"The movie works on a certain level simply because it tells an interesting story. The characters are clearly drawn, the story provides [ironic] justice, and the locations establish a certain reality. The [clutter]ed city homes of the rich families, where every surface is lined with expensive [bric-abrac], speak eloquently for their materialistic values and traditions.