The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende Summary
“Spectacular...An absorbing and distinguished work...The House of the Spirits with its all-informing, generous, and humane sensibility, is a unique achievement, both personal witness and possible allegory of the past, present, and future of Latin America.” —The New York Times Book Review The House of the Spirits, the unforgettable first novel that established Isabel Allende as one of the world’s most gifted storytellers, brings to life the triumphs and tragedies of three generations of the Trueba family. The patriarch Esteban is a volatile, proud man whose voracious pursuit of political power is tempered only by his love for his delicate wife Clara, a woman with a mystical connection to the spirit world. When their daughter Blanca embarks on a forbidden love affair in defiance of her implacable father, the result is an unexpected gift to Esteban: his adored granddaughter Alba, a beautiful and strong-willed child who will lead her family and her country into a revolutionary future. One of the most important novels of the twentieth century, The House of the Spirits is an enthralling epic that spans decades and lives, weaving the personal and the political into a universal story of love, magic, and fate.
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende Summary
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.
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (Book Analysis) by Bright Summaries Summary
Unlock the more straightforward side of The House of the Spirits with this concise and insightful summary and analysis! This engaging summary presents an analysis of The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, a sweeping narrative which chronicles the lives of three generations of the Trueba-del Valle family. As the members of this family grow older, fall in love, develop their own political beliefs and come into conflict with each other, their story provides a constant echo of the rise and fall of the ideologies, traditions and systems that shaped Latin America itself. Isabel Allende is a Chilean writer, and is one of the most popular Spanish-language authors in the world. The House of the Spirits was her debut novel, and its popularity with readers catapulted her to widespread fame when it was published in 1982. Allende was awarded the Chilean National Prize for Literature in 2010 in tribute to her long and varied literary career. Find out everything you need to know about The House of the Spirits in a fraction of the time! This in-depth and informative reading guide brings you: • A complete plot summary • Character studies • Key themes and symbols • Questions for further reflection Why choose BrightSummaries.com? Available in print and digital format, our publications are designed to accompany you on your reading journey. The clear and concise style makes for easy understanding, providing the perfect opportunity to improve your literary knowledge in no time. See the very best of literature in a whole new light with BrightSummaries.com!
Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende Summary
In nineteenth-century Chile, Aurora del Valle suffers a brutal trauma that erases all recollections of the first five years of her life. Raised by her regal and ambitious grandmother Paulina del Valle, Aurora grows up in a privileged environment but is tormented by horrible nightmares. When she is forced to recognize her betrayal at the hands of the man she loves, and to cope with the resulting solitude, she explores the mystery of her past.
The Tradition of Household Spirits by Claude Lecouteux Summary
Examines how the ancient customs of constructing and keeping a house formed a sacred bond between homes and their inhabitants • Shares many tales of house spirits, from cajoling the local land spirit into becoming one’s house spirit to the good and bad luck bestowed by mischievous house elves • Explains the meaning behind door and window placement, house orientation, horsehead gables, the fireplace or hearth, and the threshold • Reveals the charms, chants, prayers, and building practices used by our ancestors to bestow happiness and prosperity upon their homes and their occupants Why do we hang horseshoes for good luck or place wreaths on our doors? Why does the groom carry his new bride over the threshold? These customs represent the last vestiges from a long, rich history of honoring the spirits of our homes. They show that a house is more than a building: it is a living being with a body and soul. Examining the extensive traditions surrounding houses from medieval times to the present, Claude Lecouteux reveals that, before we entered the current era of frequent moves and modular housing, moving largely from the countryside into cities, humanity had an extremely sacred relationship with their homes and all the spirits who lived there alongside them--from the spirit of the house itself to the mischievous elves, fairies, and imps who visited, invited or not. He shows how every aspect of constructing and keeping a house involved rites, ceremony, customs, and taboos to appease the spirits, including the choice of a building lot and the very materials with which it was built. Uncovering the lost meaning behind door and window placement, the hearth, and the threshold, Lecouteux shares many tales of house spirits, from the offerings used to cajole the local land spirit into becoming the domestic house spirit to the good and bad luck bestowed upon those who seek the help of the “Little Money Man.” He draws on studies and classic literature from old Europe--from Celtic lands and Scandinavia to France and Germany to the far eastern borders of Europe and into Russia--to explain the pagan roots behind many of these traditions. Revealing our ancestors’ charms, prayers, and practices to bestow happiness and prosperity upon their homes, Lecouteux shows that we can invite the spirits back into our houses, old or new, and restore the sacred bond between home and inhabitant.
The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende Summary
From New York Times and internationally bestselling author Isabel Allende, an exquisitely crafted love story and multigenerational epic that sweeps from San Francisco in the present-day to Poland and the United States during the Second World War. The Japanese Lover is a tender story that explores issues of race and identity, abandonment and reconciliation, and centers on two women: elderly, enigmatic Alma and her caretaker, the younger, devoted Irina, who is hiding a dark past. With an intricate, gripping plot that takes readers inside the US internment camps where Japanese Americans were imprisoned during the war, the novel captures both the horrifying acts and the beautiful deeds of which mankind is capable. Here is Isabel Allende at her masterful best.
Paula by Isabel Allende Summary
When Isabel Allende's daughter, Paula, became gravely ill and fell into a coma, the author began to write the story of her family for her unconscious child. In the telling, bizarre ancestors appear before our eyes; we hear both delightful and bitter childhood memories, amazing anecdotes of youthful years, and the most intimate secrets passed along in whispers. With Paula, Allende has written a powerful autobiography whose straightforward acceptance of the magical and spiritual worlds will remind readers of her first book, The House of the Spirits.
In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende Summary
New York Times and worldwide bestselling “dazzling storyteller” (Associated Press) Isabel Allende returns with a sweeping novel about three very different people who are brought together in a mesmerizing story that journeys from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil. In the Midst of Winter begins with a minor traffic accident—which becomes the catalyst for an unexpected and moving love story between two people who thought they were deep into the winter of their lives. Richard Bowmaster—a 60-year-old human rights scholar—hits the car of Evelyn Ortega—a young, undocumented immigrant from Guatemala—in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn. What at first seems just a small inconvenience takes an unforeseen and far more serious turn when Evelyn turns up at the professor’s house seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant Lucia Maraz—a 62-year-old lecturer from Chile—for her advice. These three very different people are brought together in a mesmerizing story that moves from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil, sparking the beginning of a long overdue love story between Richard and Lucia. Exploring the timely issues of human rights and the plight of immigrants and refugees, the book recalls Allende’s landmark novel The House of the Spirits in the way it embraces the cause of “humanity, and it does so with passion, humor, and wisdom that transcend politics” (Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post). In the Midst of Winter will stay with you long after you turn the final page.
Don't Call Them Ghosts by Kathleen McConnell Summary
In 1971, the author and her family moved into a historic home known as the Fontaine Manse. Two days after moving in, she and her husband had an extraordinary experience that left them with no doubt that unseen residents occupied the house, too. This is the true story of how Kathleen McConnell came to know and care for the spirit children who lived in the attic of the mansion: Angel Girl, Buddy, and Baby. From playing ball with Kathleen, to saving her son Duncan from drowning, the spirit children became part of the McConnell family in ways big and small. Finally, a heart-wrenching dilemma triggered an unexpected and dramatic resolution to the spirit children's plight. Don't Call Them Ghosts is an inspiring story of the transcendent and lasting power of a mother's love. Coalition of Visionary Resources (COVR) 2nd Runner Up for Biographical/Self Help category
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende Summary
An orphan raised in Valparaiso, Chile, by a Victorian spinster and her rigid brother, vivacious young Eliza Sommers follows her lover to California during the Gold Rush of 1849. Entering a rough-and-tumble world of new arrivals driven mad by gold fever, Eliza moves in a society of single men and prostitutes with the help of her good friend and savior, the Chinese doctor Tao Chi'en. California opens the door to a new life of freedom and independence to the young Chilean, and her search for her elusive lover gradually turns into another kind of journey. By the time she finally hears news of him, Eliza must decide who her true love really is.
The Sum of Our Days by Isabel Allende Summary
In this heartfelt memoir, Isabel Allende reconstructs the painful reality of her own life in the wake of tragic loss—the death of her daughter, Paula. Recalling the past thirteen years from the daily letters the author and her mother, who lives in Chile, wrote to each other, Allende bares her soul in a book that is as exuberant and full of life as its creator. She recounts the stories of the wildly eccentric, strong-minded, and eclectic tribe she gathers around her that becomes a new kind of family. Throughout, Allende shares her thoughts on love, marriage, motherhood, spirituality and religion, infidelity, addiction, and memory. Here, too, are the amazing stories behind Allende’s books, the superstitions that guide her writing process, and her adventurous travels. Ultimately, The Sum of Our Days offers a unique tour of this gifted writer’s inner world and of the relationships that have become essential to her life and her work. Narrated with warmth, humor, exceptional candor, and wisdom, The Sum of Our Days is a portrait of a contemporary family, bound together by the love, fierce loyalty, and stubborn determination of a beloved, indomitable matriarch.
Eva Luna by Isabel Allende Summary
**The remarkable novel from the multi-million-bestselling author of The House of the Spirits and The Japanese Lover** Meet the unforgettable Eva Luna: a lover, a writer, a revolutionary and above all, a storyteller. Eva Luna is the daughter of a professor's assistant and a snake-bitten gardener – born poor, orphaned at an early age and working as a servant. Eva is a naturally gifted and imaginative storyteller who meets people from all walks of life. Though she has no wealth, she trades her stories like currency with people who are kind to her. As she shares her stories, she introduces an eccentric cast of characters: the Lebanese émigré who takes her in, her Catholic godmother who believes in saints, a street urchin who grows up to be the leader of the guerrilla struggle, a celebrated trans cabaret star and a young refugee whose flight from postwar Europe will change Eva's life forever. As Eva tells her story, Isabel Allende brings to life a complex South American country – the rich, the poor, the sophisticated – in a novel that celebrates the power of imagination and storytelling. Praise for Isabel Allende’s Eva Luna: ‘Vibrant, colourful characters; the ordinary fused with the grotesque; a Latin American setting, tropical this time; vivid, elegant narrative. The narrator, Eva Luna, is herself a story-teller in the Allende tradition’ Guardian ‘An evident affection for words, compassion for the oppressed and the inarticulate, the daring ambition to draw cross-sections of whole societies . . . Allende's work glows’ New York Times ‘Sumptuous . . . a tale that spans forty years and moves from a surreal jungle to a modern-day urban capital where even the most apolitical are driven to risky anti-government activities’ Chicago Tribune ‘Allende rearranges reality with a blend of memories, mysticism and imagination’ The Philadelphia Inquirer ‘A remarkable novel, one in which a cascade of stories tumbled out before the reader, stories vivid and passionate and human’ Washington Post ‘Magnificent . . . Allende is a prodigious fabulist, weaving extraordinary tales’ Publishers Weekly
The Underneath by Kathi Appelt Summary
There is nothing lonelier than a cat who has been loved, at least for a while, and then abandoned on the side of the road. A calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the lonely howl of a chained-up hound deep in the backwaters of the bayou. She dares to find him in the forest, and the hound dares to befriend this cat, this feline, this creature he is supposed to hate. They are an unlikely pair, about to become an unlikely family. Ranger urges the cat to hide underneath the porch, to raise her kittens there because Gar-Face, the man living inside the house, will surely use them as alligator bait should he find them. But they are safe in the Underneath...as long as they stay in the Underneath. Kittens, however, are notoriously curious creatures. And one kitten’s one moment of curiosity sets off a chain of events that is astonishing, remarkable, and enormous in its meaning. For everyone who loves Sounder, Shiloh, and The Yearling, for everyone who loves the haunting beauty of writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Flannery O’Connor, and Carson McCullers, Kathi Appelt spins a harrowing yet keenly sweet tale about the power of love—and its opposite, hate—the fragility of happiness and the importance of making good on your promises.