Reviews

The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende

dapper's review against another edition

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2.0

This book is like a super long outline for a book. There’s barely any dialogue and the characters don’t have personality, rather they just have the “idea” of a personality. (I’m almost convinced that the author wanted the characters to be a certain way but wasn’t sure how to get it done so she just took this impersonal roving camera style of writing)

I couldn’t get into it. It started losing me more and more as it went on. Clara seemed mentally challenged to me and the brother and sister fighting over her made no sense. She doesn’t communicate beyond saying “That’s lovely” apparently, isn’t very beautiful and is a wet noodle in bed. She also neglects her children, can’t handle housework and lacks the capacity to even know how dinner makes it’s way onto her plate. It was at the point where her husband and his sister were fighting over who would get to give Clara her bath that I lost my fortitude. Perhaps it was trying to say that magic made people love her?? Okay, still not interested.

There’s a ton of references to the future as well, which I also found annoying. As if it wasn’t enough that the book lacked personality, it also takes away any suspense as to their fates.

I truly don’t see why so many people love this book so much

nannahnannah's review against another edition

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Nope.
DNF @ 1%.

That’s the most pathetic percent I’ve ever left a book at, but it’s actually about 50 pages in; this book is just short of 500 pages. Sticking with it when I hate the protagonist with such a passion would be torture, classic or no classic.

Content warnings:
I know I barely scratched the surface of this thing, but
G Rroma slur
Stalking framed as being romantic

The House of the Spirits is a very famous and classic book following three generations of the Trueba family in Chile. Covering political issues, love stories, and things that can only be described as otherworldly, the book is one of the most famous and well-loved Latin American works from the twentieth century.

Again, I barely put a dent into this long book (not only is it 500 pages long, but the pages are also nearly transparent and the text is small), but what I read was enough for me to know if I could bear reading on or not. As I said, it was the protagonist that made the book unbearable. He was engaged to Rosa, an ethereal mermaid-like beauty from the Trueba family, but before he could make his fortune and marry her, she died.

His grief had him blaming her at her graveside for everything that basically went wrong in his life. I get it; grief is a powerful force and it makes people do things and think things they normally wouldn’t. But then he admits, totally heartfelt, that he even never touched other women those past years he was trying to make a fortune -- well, except for those prostitutes, lmao.

Not only this, but he was already wearing me thin, because to win her hand he literally stalked her every day, learned where she lived and when she went outside, and apparently this won her family over? The whole thing was so intensely creepy but was framed as romantic. I don’t care what “generation” this mindset is from, I just didn’t want to share 500 pages with this dude anymore. I have a life to live and other books to read.

So no thanks.

sad_punk13's review against another edition

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emotional informative mysterious reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

alelopezelias's review against another edition

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dark emotional mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

ppicc's review against another edition

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5.0

A masterpiece in magical realism. Alongside the family, I experienced love, hate, fear, joy, everything that went on in the story.

hitoritabi's review against another edition

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emotional reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

candelibri's review against another edition

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slow-paced

4.25

roseandfell's review against another edition

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mysterious medium-paced
Felt deliciously feverish reading this novel. A feast.

zubsbooks's review against another edition

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4.0

A difficult read but really insightful and powerful themes. Many scenes had me glued to the pages waiting for what would happen next.

andresrc0609's review against another edition

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5.0

Mi segundo libro de Isabel Allende y creo que ya se va a convertir en mi autora favorita. Un libro que retrata la cruda realidad de america latina no solo en Chile sino tambien en muchos paises que fueron afectados de diferente manera, lleno de protagonistas con personalidades muy diferentes la casa de los espiritus narra la historia de una familia, los Trueba, siendo liderada por Esteban Trueba, un hombre blanco heterosexual completamente desposta, conservador, machista, sexista, diria muchas cosas de el pero me quedaria corto, siendo el personaje que empieza en si la historia de esta familia hizo de mi lectura un poco pesada pero luego al caer en cuenta que Allende a traves de este personaje nos metió a una sociedad completa de hombre blancos heterosexuales opresores me paració maravilloso, obviamente te va a enojar lo que hace este hombre que solo lleva maldad en su corazón, es lo que sucedia dentro de la sociedad latinoamericana entre 1900 y 1990, hasta dia de hoy siguen ocurriendo atrocidades de esa indole. sin embargo, la historia no me dejaba de interesar y muchas veces deseaba saber que iba a suceder gracias a la intriga que nos deja la autora cada vez que termina un parrafo o un capitulo, no fue hasta las ultimas 200 paginas que empecé a considerar este libro como un libro de 5 estrellas porque al principio pensé en el como un solido 4 pero la manera en como la historia se fue desarrollando hasta el final me dejó no solo con la intriga de que podia suceder sino tambien con las ganas de continuar leyendo historias así. muchos personajes odiosos pero de la misma manera encontramos personajes de los que nos enamoramos, silenciados por la violencia e incluso adelantados en pensamiento a la epoca en la que nos encontramos en el libro.