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The House of the Spirits Hardcover – April 12, 1985

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The House of the Spirits + One Hundred Years of Solitude + Love in the Time of Cholera
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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf; 1st edition (April 12, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394539079
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394539072
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (367 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #867,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The amazing Isabel Allende, the niece of Chile's ousted President Salvador Allende, is creating the kind of literary sensation most writers only dream of. And "The House of the Spirits" is no ordinary first novel. It is an exotic vision - a brilliant, impassioned epic - and a personal coup for the young journalist who "had to write it." The book seemed to come from nowhere: a first novel by a forty two-year-old Chilean journalist that has dazzled readers throughout Europe and Latin America, making its author the most unexpected sensation since the emergence of Gabriel Garcia Marquez." -- Cathleen Medwick Vogue "An extraordinary debut, The House of the Spirits marks the appearance of a major international writer. Rarely has a first novel catapulted a writer so suddenly to international attention and acclaim as The House of the Spirits. The author, Isabel Allende, is niece of former Chilean president, Salvador Allende Gossens; yet she was totally unknown to the world at large until the events of last year." Alfred A Knopf "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" draws on this experience, though always in veiled terms. A meticulously detailed family saga spanning four generations, the novel is set in a mythified land of volcanoes, earthquakes and hurricanes, peopled by characters who seem to derive their extravagance from their natural surroundings." -- Alexander Coleman New York Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English, Spanish (translation)

More About the Author

Born in Peru and raised in Chile, Isabel Allende is the author of eight novels, including, most recently, Zorro, Portrait in Sepia, and Daughter of Fortune. She has also written a collection of stories; three memoirs, including My Invented Country and Paula; and a trilogy of children's novels. Her books have been translated into more than twenty-seven languages and have become bestsellers across four continents. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Isabel Allende lives in California.

My thoughts on Kindle en Español:

"El impacto de los libros electrónicos es formidable y está remeciendo a la industria del libro tanto como a los lectores. Aunque todavía la idea es relativamente nueva en español, ya se ha extendido en otras lenguas tan dramáticamente, que muchos autores nuevos publican en versión digital, saltándose a las editoriales. Confieso que soy adicta a mis Kindle y mi IPad, donde leo con letra grande y clara, en una pantalla liviana. Antes viajaba con una maleta de libros, ahora llevo mi biblioteca en la cartera y puedo adquirir nuevos libros en cualquier parte del mundo en pocos segundos. Dicen que los jóvenes le tienen miedo al papel y no tienen el hábito de leer - lo cual no es totalmente cierto - pero ahora pueden leer en sus pantallas. También dicen que la ficción desaparecerá, pero eso jamás ocurrirá, porque la humanidad necesita historias tanto como necesita oxígeno. Tal vez en el futuro el libro, ese compañero maravilloso, será un objeto de coleccionistas y de bibliotecas y nosotros, simples mortales, leeremos en pantallas. Pero seguiremos leyendo, de eso no tengo dudas." Isabel Allende

Customer Reviews

This story is written very well.
The characters of this book are also very fully developed~ by the end the reader feels as if she knows each one intimately.
It's a tale of a family and a tale of politics, and a story of generations.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

165 of 174 people found the following review helpful By Denis Benchimol Minev on May 2, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The House of Spirits is probably Allende's most famous and important book. In it, she chronicles the life of a family, as the patriarch grows from a child to an elder, with the world changing all around him while he tries to keep it the same. Through the lenses of the Trueba family, we follow the portion of Chilean history that eventually leads to the 1973 coup. Of course, the author is niece of Salvador Allende, the socialist president democratically elected that was removed from power and killed by Pinochet.
The book is based on clashes; old versus young, communists vs conservatives, landlords vs tenants. As the story unfolds, we view the extremist positions that each side takes: landlords attacking tenants, conservatives attacking communists, and vice versa. From the polarization of positions emerges a military dictatorship that no one wanted, but that was a product of the system setup by polarization.
In the end, the distinctions that originally separated young from old, conservatives from communists, are removed, as both sides realize the futility of their disputes in the face on an authoritarian regime.
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62 of 63 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 20, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The House of the Spirits" gives the reader an extraordinary view of 20th century Chilean history. Through the Trueba family and the myriad characters that drift in and out of their lives, we see so many of the elements of the political and class struggle that continues until this day. Beginning with the landowner vs. tenant worker conflict and culminating with the left-wing vs. right-wing political/social conflict, we are given a glimpse into the inner workings of a country in turmoil. We see the horror of the Conservatives when a Marxist government is democratically elected, and their terror when the coup they so finely crafted becomes a dictatorship as terrible as they expected the Communists to be. Neither the left nor the right were winners--only the military.
I lived for several years in Chile during the 1990's. Even though Chile is emerging as a stable, fairly democratic economy, the political struggle remains. I could never grasp the true essence of my Chilean friends' passionate hatred for or passionate support of the Pinochet regime until I read this book. I always marveled that there was no middle ground. Now I understand why.
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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 19, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende's luminous saga of the Trueba family, as seen through the eyes of the women, is more than a wonderful book; it is an ode to the courageous, compassionate and forgiving spirits that all people are capable of becoming. Even after witnessing the horrors of Chilean military oppression, Allende dared to write a novel that denies a basic pessimistic view of humans and instead reveals mankind's capacity to endure suffering and self-transformation for the sake of life, love and justice.
In The House of the Spirits, Allende shows us that the cruelest outbursts of evil and violence of which man is capable are committed during civil war: genocides, mass murders, concentration camps. Man is definitely mankind's greatest enemy. It is truly horrifying to think that the sufferings of Jaime Trueba could be supported by authentic testimony: "They tied their hands and feet with barbed wire and threw them on their faces in the stalls. There Jaime and the others spent two days without food or water, rotting in their own excrement, blood and fear, until they were all driven by truck to an area near the airport. In an empty lot they were shot on the ground because they could no longer stand, and then their bodies were dynamited."
Jaime is just one among many characters who suffers horribly under the military oppression portrayed in The House of the Spirits. Yet, Allende courageously dares to offer hope that reconciliation is possible and that people are capable of much more noble actions and emotions.
In this book, Allende seems to be telling us that evil is not a simple thing and that violent behavior is a complex act. She also portrays every act as having a cause, whether known or unknown.
Read more ›
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86 of 92 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I watched a young student the other day on the subway reading the House of the Spirits. He slowly rose from his seat when he reached his destination and almost walked into the subway doors as they were closing. I then followed him as he walked down the platfom bumping into people all the way. He could not take his eyes from the pages, even as he walked. I was excited for him because I knew he was in for the ride of his life but I was also jealous because he was experiencing for the first time one of the most dynamic and complex books I have ever read. The incredible Ms. Allende created some of the most remarklable relationships between people in any book; husband and wife, brother and sister, mentor and student -- but the most beautiful and complete relationships are among the phenomenal women in this breathtaking novel. As soon as I finished the novel, I gave a copy to everyone I know who cares about literature. I then read everything that Allende has put between two covers and called a book. I have never been disappointed.
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