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The House Of The Spirits (Vintage Magic) [Paperback]

Isabel Allende
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Hardcover 9.52  
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Paperback, 7 July 2011 6.29  

Book Description

7 July 2011 Vintage Magic (Book 9)

As a girl, Clara del Valle can read fortunes, make objects move as if they had lives of their own, and predict the future. Following the mysterious death of her sister, Rosa the Beautiful, Clara is mute for nine years. When she breaks her silence, it is to announce that she will be married soon to the stern and volatile landowner Esteban Trueba.

Set in an unnamed Latin American country over three generations, The House of the Spirits is a magnificent epic of a proud and passionate family, secret loves and violent revolution.

Frequently Bought Together

The House Of The Spirits (Vintage Magic) + One Hundred Years of Solitude (Penguin Modern Classics) + Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez 2014)
Price For All Three: 18.87

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics (7 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099528568
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099528562
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 477,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Peru and raised in Chile, Isabel Allende is the author of nine novels, including Inès of My Soul, Daughter of Fortune, and Portrait in Sepia. She has also written a collection of stories, four memoirs, and a trilogy of children's novels. Her books have been translated into more than twenty-seven languages and have become bestsellers across four continents. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Isabel Allende lives in California.

Product Description


"Remarkable...a big book that can comprehend the history of a nation, and so many lives, with love" (The Times)

"An exotic vision and a brilliant, impassioned epic" (Vogue)

"Mesmerizing... A novel of force and charm" (Washington Post)

"This is a novel like the novels no one seems to write anymore: thick with plot and bristling with characters who play out their lives over three generations of conflict and reconciliation. A novel to be read for its brilliant craftsmanship and its narrative of inescapable power" (El Pais, Madrid)

"Announcing a truly great read: a novel thick and thrilling, full of fantasy, terror and wit, elaborately crafted yet serious and accurate in its historical and social observations" (Die Welt, Berlin)

Book Description

Allende's magical realist epic is an international classic - 'thick with plot and bristling with characters. A novel to be read for its brilliant craftsmanship and its narrative of inescapable power' El Pais

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a fantastic book! 2 Feb 2004
By Pete
A massive book bursting at the seams with magic and fantasy and also encompassing over half a century of Chilean history veiled under the disguise of metaphor. The story may run for 500 pages but they disappear so quickly that when you read the words 'The end', you flick back to page one and begin Allende's mystically real realm of spirits all over again.
The haunting truth of this book is its realism. One feels a part of the landscapes such as the cordillera or the vineyards, even though you are never told you are in Chile. However Allende, born in Lima and now US citizen yet Chilean through her parents (indeed a niece of ex-President Salvador Allende, who crops up as the candidate in the story), is attempting to reclaim the history of her country as well as suggesting hope for the future in the female lineage of her family.
One must remember the context in which this book was written. Allende had fled her country following the 1973 coup d'etat, and was living in Venezuela. The book despite its metaphorical disguise breaks the silence of dictatorship, and demonstrates how the barbarities of the despotic Pinochet have plunged her beautiful country into turmoil. Her haunting real descriptions broadcast her experiences and those of her countrymen to the outside world, and this seemingly magical yet sadly realistic literary world aligns this novel with that masterpiece of magical realism, One Hundred Years of Solitude, by the Nobel Prize winning Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Despite the easily readable accounts of her eccentric family and her marvellously painted 'country of catastrophes', Allende blends her lyrical magic with figures of historical importance, such as her Uncle, Pablo Neruda (the Poet) and Victor Jara (the guitarist, Pedro Tercero Garcia).
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I can still remember reading Allende's opening lines in Liverpool's Bold Street Waterstones. 'Barrabas came to us by sea, the child Clara wrote in her delicate calligraphy.' I tingled all over, bought the book and barely managed to get off the train at Bolton Station. Literary purists always gesture knowingly towards their copies of Marquez's One Hundred years of Solitude. Leave them to it. Allende was born to write this book. She centres her story on a family's experience of Pinochet's savage regime in Chile. The House of the Spirits is as the title suggests, a family saga but a saga marvellously suffused by 'other' ways of knowing about events and futures. Part of the magic of the novel is that the 'spirit' co-exists powerfully with the 'material' in an unapologetic and finally redemptive way. The epigraph by the poet Pablo Neruda says it all for me:

How much does a man live, after all?

Does he live a thousand days, or one only?

...What does it mean to say 'for ever'?
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magic turns sour 19 May 2003
This is a pretty incredible book from Allende - the only thing that stops me giving it five stars is a somewhat unnecessary occasional swap in narrative from third to first person.
This Peruvian author is very much in the Marquez tradition - a cast of bizarre characters telling a story that covers generations and includes psychic abilities, ghosts and bizarre accidents.
What makes this book special is how it takes your affection for this family from the unusual to the deeply serious, as revolution ravages the country. The final 150 pages or so are harrowing stuff, and deeply affect you.
The plot is compelling, the characters brilliantly drawn, and an amazing achievement for a first novel.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good family saga 25 May 2006
By Reptile
Allende weaves the political and the personal together in this wide-ranging work, held together by the family relationships which lie at its core. However, if you are looking for a political novel, you may not like this book, as there is a lot of emphasis on personal relationships. It was easy to become involved in the book, despite the fact that the main character, Trueba, has some unsympathetic traits. The changes between the generations are convincingly rendered and some of the characters are attractively quirky. This was an enjoyable read because of its exuberant spirit, but you have to be prepared for the occasional acerbic comment. Allende does write about romantic relationships but she is not naive, either about love or about politics. One reservation is that the magical elements don't seem to add very much. Allende might have done better to stick to straightforward realism. The style is good, although it might be even better in the original Spanish. In general, a book to be recommended.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! 21 Aug 2000
By A Customer
Similar to Garcia Marquez's "100 years of solitude" this novel mixes magic, religion, love, realism, history, political ideology, etc to tell the story of 4 generations of family history. I just kept on reading and reading, seeing how the characters change as they grow up and age, and as they face achievements and disappointments.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars tomlindup@hotmail.com 26 Jan 2006
Magic realism, at its best, should appear extrtaordinary, yet somehow believable. Allende's portrayal of the interesting lives of certain members of her family, is so convincing, that their connection with the other world is almost treated like a debilitating defect, a characterisitic that the family accept, yet at the same time is a little ashamed of. The playing down of such traits (if true, and of this I am still unsure) makes the logically impossible appear real. The story centre's on the lives of three generations of Truebas. At it's heart the book attempts to show, that peoples paths are predetermined and any desire to change what is preordained is both futile and destructive. Trueba is a man against the world. He is a self made man, who believes in order. The book insinuates that being a self made man, he is more concerned about others' perception of his family, than of his family's wellbeing, however, one gets the distinct impression throughout that Trueba believes that what he is doing is right. Battles are fought on every front, and ultimately, he fails in all of these, bar the financial struggle, the vanquishing of which he achieves in his youth. The life of the family is set against the political developments in the unnamed country, which we all assume to be Chile and in particular two different takes on the onset of socialism. Trueba, beleives that his form of conservative pragmatism is to be maintained, whilst almost all members of his family become aware of the social injustice that is preserved through the maintenance of the status quo. This conflict is only reconciled at the end of the book. It is an enlightening and ultimately comforting read, that convincingly illuminates the destructive force that radical ideology can have on a family.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Quite simply my favourite book with the most captivating opening line I've ever read.
Published 6 hours ago by Kerry J
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant read, totally unexpected but absorbing.
Published 9 days ago by tina
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Author
Have read almost all of Isabel Allende's books - this one I have not read yet but have seen the film twice, amazing story and based on the author's life and background.
Published 2 months ago by Spanish Scribe
5.0 out of 5 stars The House of Spirits
Book was chosen for our book club. Good story, took a little while to get into it, but very compelling!
Published 4 months ago by Debbie
4.0 out of 5 stars magical realism
The inevitability of human nature following the pattern of passion, love and loss, is told in this translation with sensitivity and integrity . Read more
Published 4 months ago by diane in dorset
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece
I am not sure why this book hasn't received more acclaim. The passion and grief of the author for the fate of her beloved country are so evident. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Rosalind Minett
5.0 out of 5 stars tragical, comical, spiritual, amazing book
a family saga which containers over more than 100 years of history of South America... but what an extraordinary saga. Read more
Published 10 months ago by laros76
5.0 out of 5 stars Arrived well within time stated.
Really enjoying this book. Good family saga with a touch of the spiritual about it.Well worth reading, buy and enjoy.
Published 12 months ago by peter
4.0 out of 5 stars Great condition for a used book
This book is in fantastic condition. Described as used but hard to tell if it has ever been read. The spine has none of those tell tale crinkles. Read more
Published 12 months ago by kaybay
5.0 out of 5 stars i love it
used book is as good as new
not even a sign of use
arrived pretty early
love the product no complaint at all
Published 13 months ago by emilyho1985
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