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The House Of The Spirits _BEST_

Esteban returns to the city to see his dying mother. After her death, Esteban decides to fulfill her dying wish for him to marry and have legitimate children. He goes to the Del Valle family to ask for Clara's hand in marriage. Clara accepts Esteban's proposal; she herself has predicted her engagement two months prior, speaking for the first time in nine years. During the period of their engagement, Esteban builds what everyone calls "the big house on the corner," a large mansion in the city where the Trueba family will live for generations. After their wedding, Esteban's sister Férula comes to live with the newlyweds in the big house on the corner. Férula develops a strong dedication to Clara, which fulfills her need to serve others. However, Esteban's wild desire to possess Clara and to monopolize her love causes him to throw Férula out of the house. She curses him, telling him that he will shrink in body and soul, and die like a dog. Although she misses her sister-in-law, Clara is unable to find her by any means - the gap between her and her husband widens as she devotes more time to her daughter and the mystic arts.

The House of the Spirits

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Blanca finds out she is pregnant with Pedro Tercero's child. Esteban, desperate to save the family honor, gets Blanca to marry the French count by telling her that he has killed Pedro Tercero. At first, Blanca gets along with her new husband, but she leaves him when she discovers his participation in sexual fantasies with the servants. Blanca quietly returns to the Trueba household and gives birth to her daughter, Alba. Meanwhile, Jaime and Nicholas both fall in love with a young drug addict named Amanda; Amanda initially loves Nicholas and becomes pregnant by him. Jaime has to perform an abortion, ruining his relationship with Nicholas. Amanda and her little brother Miguel stay for a short time at the Trueba house; Miguel is able to witness Alba's birth, his future lover.

Alba is a solitary child who enjoys playing make-believe in the basement of the house and painting the walls of her room. Blanca has become very poor since leaving Jean de Satigny's house, getting a small income out of selling pottery and giving pottery classes to mentally handicapped children, and is once again dating Pedro Tercero, now a revolutionary singer/songwriter. Alba and Pedro are fond of each other, but do not know they are father and daughter, although Pedro suspects this. Alba is also fond of her uncles. Nicolás is eventually kicked out by his father, supposedly moving to North America.

The military regime attempts to eliminate all traces of opposition and eventually comes for Alba. She is made the prisoner of Colonel Esteban García, the son of Esteban Trueba's and Pancha Garcia's illegitimate son, and hence the grandson of Esteban Trueba. During an earlier visit to the Trueba house, García had molested Alba as a child. In pure hatred of her privileged life and eventual inheritance, García tortures Alba repeatedly, looking for information on Miguel. He rapes her, thus completing the cycle that Esteban Trueba put into motion when he raped Pancha García. When Alba loses her will to live, she is visited by Clara's spirit who tells her not to wish for death, since it can easily come, but to wish to live. She becomes to write down her family's story in her mind.

Clara (one of its translations is the equivalent of English "clear", although it is also a common female name) is the key female figure in the novel. She is a clairvoyant and telekinetic who is rarely attentive to domestic tasks, but she holds her family together with her love for them and her uncanny predictions. She is the youngest daughter of Severo and Nívea del Valle, wife of Esteban Trueba, and mother of Blanca, Jaime, and Nicolás. Even as a child her strangeness is noticed and seen as a threat to many in her community. Otherwise, her family and devoted Nana protect her from her strangeness. She and her uncle Marcos use her powers to run a fortune-telling centre as she develops other paranormal activities like dream reading. Her uncle eventually leaves in a primitive airplane he built himself, disappearing for many months, assumed dead but later is found to die instead as the result of a 'mysterious African plague' contracted during his travels. Clara practices divining and moving inanimate objects, most notably a three-legged table, and she is surrounded by friends such as the psychic Mora sisters and The Poet. Severo and Nívea del Valle are main characters in another Allende novel. As Clara grows up, she develops her abilities and is even able to communicate with ghosts and spirits. Clara represents love and cherishment. Clara's marriage to Esteban Trubea is something she accepts but she never truly loves him and knows from the beginning that she will never do so. She is uninterested in material things and takes for granted her own high economic standing. It is not until later, after great tragedy, that she takes the role of helper/servant instead of dreamy bystander.

Blanca (literally, "white") is Clara and Esteban's first-born daughter. She spends her childhood between the Truebas' house in the capital and Tres Marías, where she forms an intense connection with a boy named Pedro Tercero García, the son of Esteban's foreman. Their friendship endures, though they only see each other in the summer, and upon adolescence they become lovers. Their love persists even after Pedro is run out of the hacienda by Esteban, because he is putting communist ideas in the other workers' heads. After she becomes pregnant with Pedro Tercero's child, her father forces her to marry Count Jean de Satigny, whom she does not love. After Blanca leaves the Count and returns to the Trueba home, she sees Pedro sporadically, resisting his attempts to persuade her to marry, but their relationship continues. Blanca's reconciliation with her father eventually allows her to flee to Canada with Pedro, where they finally are able to achieve happiness together. Blanca is also able to earn large amounts of money for the first time by selling her clay figurines, which are seen as folk art by Canadians.

THE HOUSE OF SPIRITS takes place in Chile and tells the story of four generations of characters, beginning with the intersection of the del Valle family and the Trueba family before the start of World War I. As a young man, Esteban Trueba becomes engaged to the beautiful Rosa del Valle, who looks strikingly like a mermaid. Later, Esteban becomes a wealthy landowner, or patron. He eventually marries Rosa's sister Clara, the youngest of the wealthy and politically active del Valles, who communicates with spirits and can see the future. Esteban becomes a senator, but his way of life is threatened by political war between the right-wing conservatives he supports and the Marxist underclasses, and then by a violent government takeover by militarists. Meanwhile, the Trueba children follow very different paths in their choice of lovers and careers. Two generations -- Esteban and his granddaughter, Alba -- tell their family's story, which intertwines with the story of Chile's 20th century political struggles.

Families can talk about Isabel Allende's use of magical realism the blending of supernatural and realistic fictional elements. Do you believe that Clara could talk to spirits? Why do you think the author added this fantastical quality to The House of Spirits?

This genre-bending, historical horror novel follows Noemí Taboada, a young, Mexican socialite in the 1950s, as she attempts to rescue her cousin from a house called High Place. Like in The House of the Spirits, mining, abusive patriarchs, surreal visions, and the macabre are integral to the story.

During the biggest Brooklyn snowstorm in living memory, Richard Bowmaster, a lonely university professor in his 60s, hits the car of Evelyn Ortega, a young undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, and what at first seems an inconvenience takes a more serious turn when Evelyn comes to his house, seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant, Lucia Maraz, a fellow academic from Chile, for her advice.

After nine years in the countryside, Esteban returns to the city to see his dying mother and is betrothed to Clara, who has recently broken a nine-year silence by announcing that she will marry Rosa's fiancé. Clara gives birth to a daughter, Blanca, and twin boys whom she names Jaime and Nicolás against Esteban's wishes. Esteban meets Tránsito Soto again and she tells him she wants to start a whores' cooperative. After finding his sister Férula in bed with Clara, Esteban banishes her from the house, and Clara's clairvoyant powers fail in locating her. When the family is at Tres Marías, Férula appears as a ghost and Clara insists on returning to the city, knowing that Férula is dead.

When next the Truebas return to Tres Marís, Blanca and her childhood playmate Pedro Tercero García begin a love affair. Clara divines that Blanca is having an affair after a massive earthquake which breaks all of Esteban's bones. Following the earthquake, Pedro García sets Esteban's bones, his son Pedro Segundo becomes foreman of the estate, and his grandson Pedro Tercero begins preaching socialist ideas to the tenants. Clara takes on the domestic duties of the estate, working closely with Pedro Segundo and shutting the city house. Esteban fires Pedro Tercero for insubordination, but he and Blanca continue their affair. When Count Jean de Satigny, a guest at the estate, asks for Blanca's hand, she refuses him. Soon after the death of Pedro García, Jean tells Esteban that Pedro Tercero and Blanca are lovers. After Clara points out that though they are like Esteban in taking lovers from other social classes, Blanca and Pedro Tercero have done so out of love, an enraged Esteban hits her. Pedro Segundo leaves Esteban's employ and Esteban swears revenge on Pedro Tercero, finding him with the help of Esteban García, his own illegitimate grandson. After he chops off three of Pedro Tercero's fingers, Esteban refuses Esteban García the reward he has promised him. 041b061a72


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