In one of the most important and beloved Latin American works of the twentieth century, Isabel Allende weaves a luminous tapestry of three generations of the Trueba family, revealing both triumphs and tragedies. Here is patriarch Esteban, whose wild desires and political machinations are tempered only by his love for his ethereal wife, Clara, a woman touched by an otherworldly hand. Their daughter, Blanca, whose forbidden love for a man Esteban has deemed unworthy infuriates her father, yet will produce his greatest joy: his granddaughter Alba, a beautiful, ambitious girl who will lead the family and their country into a revolutionary future.
Set in an unnamed Latin American country widely assumed to be Chile, The House of the Spirits was an international best seller in the 1980s. It is considered magical realism, as it blends fantastical elements like Clara’s ability to foresee the future with realistic elements that mirror Chilean history from the early 20th century through the 1970s. Fate and free will are as integral to the plot line as class struggle and women’s rights.
If you’re not scared off by the idea of reading over 400 pages, I think House of the Spirits can be a good choice for those who read a lot of teen fiction with fantastical elements and romantic plot lines. Both soapy and literary, it is one of ALA’s top 100 banned/challenged books.
The House of the Spirits on Amazon