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on July 1, 2017
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Magical realism was delightfully refreshing in a way while the descriptions of revolution and political upheaval were shockingly grounding. Great characters and great story with decent writing too.
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I came across this novel after having read several works by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, most notably Love in the Time of Cholera. I found this novel to be so similar in style and substance to the aforementioned work as to be remarkable. Inasmuch as I enjoyed LitToC immensely, that is a good thing. Both novels are set in early 20th century South America and feature aspects of magical realism for which Marquez is justly famous.

The novel revolves around three generations of the Trueba family, a well to do clan anchored by an irascible patriarch, Estaban. The story tracks the political metamorphosis of the South American country of Chile, from autocratic conservative democracy through a period of Socialist revolution and finally to Fascist military dictatorship. Inasmuch as the author of this work is Isabel Allende, a close relative of the former President of Chile before the military junta led by Augusto Pinchet took control of the country, perhaps we can read this as something of a thinly veiled historical account.

Alternating between the first person account of the aforementioned Estaban and the more prevalent third person narrative, the reader is introduced to a procession of highly interesting characters, including successively more liberal and independent generations of the Trueba family, both legitimate and the bastard offspring of his country estate. The prose is sprinkled throughout with foreshadowing and brilliant imagery.

This is an absolutely top class piece of work, both in the quality of the writing and the history and political lesson contained therein. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in South America, politics or who has enjoyed the writings of Marquez.
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on December 3, 2015
A really interesting read. Great character development. Takes place in an unnamed South American country. Deals with trials & tribulations of three generations. Love; Political unrest; Army Coup; It's all here, plus all the Spirits.
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on March 10, 2016
A multi-generational family saga set in a South American country as it moves from a patriarchal to attempts to socialize the government. The charm is in the author's use of magic realism to introduce fascinating characters and predictions. THis Allende's best book. A consensus of our book group who are fans of hers. For most of us it was a second read, and we enjoyed it more.
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on July 4, 2015
A beautifully written book! One of the classics to come out of the Latin American "Magical Realism" genre. The book spans several generation of a family, and this makes it epic. I think it probably is pretty accurate as far as the political observation (at least from Allende's point of view). The prose is rich and the story will suck you in.
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on April 21, 2017
It was a difficult read, especially in the last 80-90 pages. A real lession in Political Science and how the world works.
I am no novice to the world, I am 81 years old.and have been a reader all my adult years. I enjoyed the development of the characters, Clara was other wordly and a positive force on everyone, Estaban Truba was the epitomy meaness, inflexibilty, brutality and only interested in his own views. and as usually happens, he live a long life and died in his own bed. I took not pity on his suffering, he brought it all on himself.
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on September 6, 2016
Although I liked the Japanese Lover and Eva Luna more, this book is certainly a marvelous story.
The characters are well configured, and the lessons thought provoking.
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on November 25, 2015
I absolutely loved reading this book. This author was recommended to me as someone I would enjoy if I liked the books of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I was not disappointed and will certainly be reaching for more books by Allende. Good to also get a little back history to the country.
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on March 30, 2017
AMAZING. I absolutely love this book. The alternating persons narrating really lets us see others perspective. I would have loved to see the perspective of the general; however, I feel that the narration is reserved for the family members, and we pretty much understand where his stance is coming from.

I highly recommend this book, and I look forward to reading more from this author.
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on November 15, 2015
Isabel Allende is a consummate artist with words. Her characters are complex, human creators that are both vibrant and interesting. Her story line keeps you engaged and her writing structure keeps the reader interested throughout.
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