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.