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The House of the Spirits (Everyman's Library Classics & Contemporary Classics) Hardcover – April 19, 2005
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—Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times
"Nothing short of astonishing... In The House Of The Spirits Isabelle Allende has indeed shown us the relationships between past and present, family and nation, city and country, spiritual and political values. She has done so with enormous imagination, sensitivity, and compassion."
—Jane Futcher, San Francisco Chronicle
"Spectacular . . . A unique achievement, both personal witness and possible allegory of the past, present, and future of Latin America."
—The New York Times Book Review
"That rarest of successes–a book about one family and one country that is a book about the world and becomes the world in a book."
"The only cause The House of the Spirits embraces is that of humanity, and it does so with such passion, humor, and wisdom that in the end it transcends politics . . . The result is a novel of force and charm, spaciousness and vigor."
—The Washington Post
"[Allende] mixes fiction, journalism, and a sense of magic in an epic that qualifies her as one of Latin America's most inspired writers."
—San Diego Tribune
"[Allende is] another remarkable storyteller from a continent blessed with many such enchanters . . . Allende has an affection for her characters quite beyond politics, and an estimable ability to bring them to life."
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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 ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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