Saturday, 7 March 2009

My Thoughts: The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende



I feel like I haven't posted a book review in ages, this book is that reason - 2 weeks it has taken me to read it, something that never happens. I like to finish books quickly because it gives me a sense of acheivement but also because I have so many other books waiting to be read, so this was a slog BUT worth it.

This is my first read for Exploration: Latin American Reading Challenge, my own reading challenge so I'm really behind! I've got till April 30th to read 3 more books.

The House of Spirits is a family saga set in an unnamed country in South America. The family is full of characters will spiritual abilities, some (apparently) gorgeous women with green hair, and many love affairs.
The novel focuses primarily on one man and his wife, daughter and granddaughter. The women are all stubbon and rebelious in their own ways, often failling to speak to their family for months on end.
As the years pass the patriach is faced with the creeping interest in socialism all around him, what starts as a whispered dream gradually comes to rule the country creating disruption and poverty for many.

I enjoyed reading about the characters and their strong love affairs that defied social expectations, in particular Alba the granddaughter out of the the women she was the strongest, her rebellion was open and for the help of those weaker people around her. Her grandmother Clara's spiritual communications also meant that we always had a hint as to what would hapen in the future.
However, I struggled with the paragraphs, my copy had tiny text and despite this a paragraph often spanned over a page. The detail was very intricate and often took a lot of concentration, I have to say that I prefered Daughter of Fortune and Portrait in Sepia.

Challenges:
Exploration: Latin America 1/4
A-Z (Author)
1% Well Read Challenge 1/10
Orbis Terraum 1/10
Decades Challenge 2/10 (1980s)
999 (Always been meaning to read)
What's in a Name (Building)

7 comments:

Scrap girl said...

This is one of those books I have picked up and put down again so many times over the years. I may wait awhile as I also like to read books quickly and I don't think I have two weeks to spare on a book yet. Might wait till later in the year, when I have achieved more of my challenges. Thanks for the review.

Richard said...

I haven't read any Allende yet because I suspect she wouldn't be my cup of tea as a novelist, but this may be the year I finally break down and try. Thanks for the review.

Hedgie said...

I've also deliberately avoided Allende as what I've seen of her writing I didn't much care for. However, eventually I'll give her a try, and it sounds as if this may be the book to start with. Thanks.

One Swede Read said...

This is one that's been in my TBR-pile forEVER. I really want to pick it up, so maybe this year... :) Thanks for your review - I've got an idea as to what I'm in for... :)

/Eva - a fellow OT-er

Elizabeth said...

Oh, I always WANT to like Allende, but somehow it never quite works out for me. Good review!

katrina said...

I would try one of her other books first, for me this wasn't her greatest work

Plays with Needles said...

I guess I'm in the minority because I loved this book when I read it. Thanks for your honest review.