The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
The House of the Spirits (La casa de los espíritus, 1982) is the debut novel by Isabel Allende. Initially, the novel was rejected by several Spanish-language publishers, but became an instant best seller when published in Barcelona in 1982. The novel was critically acclaimed around the world, and catapulted Allende to literary stardom. That same year, the novel was named Best Novel of the Year in Chile, and she received the country's Panorama Literario award. The novel has been translated to over 20 languages worldwide. The book was first conceived by Isabel Allende when she received news that her grandfather was dying, and she began to write him a letter that ultimately became the starting manuscript of The House of the Spirits. The story details the life of the Trueba family, spanning four generations, and tracing the post-colonial social and political upheavals of the Latin American country they live in. The story is told mainly from the perspective of two protagonists (Esteban and Alba) and incorporates elements of magic realism. Some readers claim that the novel is a roman à clef. According to them, The Poet in the novel is probably Pablo Neruda, and Allende's cousin, once removed Salvador Allende, is both The Candidate and The President.