Context: Read this while visiting our friends who live next to this old rail bridge on the Tyne river, Northumberland.
If you like One Hundred Years of Solitude, you’re going to love this. So what does someone who had this to say about that book, have to say about The House of The Spirits? Well, after I’d got over the initial shock, I kept repeating Allende isn’t Marquez like a mantra. It seemed to work, at least in part.
Maybe it’s a South American thing. You’ve got the endless generations of a family, a cast of characters that would make Shakespeare think of cutbacks, metaphysics and supernatural happenings galore and, of course, four page paragraphs. So far, it’s just a rip off of Marquez isn’t it.
Well no it isn’t. Yes, I think she was heavily influenced by Marquez and borrows his stylistic phrasing almost verbatim. But what she includes which Marquez doesn’t seem to bother with, is relevancy to the life of the reader.
Allende is the product of the political scene of S. America and this is what this novel is full of. Yes, it’s a family saga but throughout it’s a saga of politics. There’s love and revenge and wealth and poverty and all that good sagas are made of. Permeating all this though is politics.
So, did I enjoy it. Not really. There was a really good four page paragraph (I kid you not) right near the end which was sublime. But, on the whole, I thought it was boring and, because of my reading of Marquez and general knowledge of South American political history, a bit predictable.
Barrabas came to us by sea, the child Clara wrote in her delicate calligraphy.
It begins like this: Barrabas came to us by sea…
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