The House of the Spirits the book of Isabel Allende, summary and more

The House of the Spirits is a book written by Isabel Allende that combines political elements, astrology, magic and love that are compiled into a story with nuances of real life in Chile with many interesting characters. These generations in the book mark a milestone in exciting literature and encourages you to immerse yourself in it.

the House of Spirits

Preamble: The house of the spirits

Each assiduous reader has an expectation of the topic they choose to read and then loads some energy to dedicate themselves to sharing in a reading circle or meeting and exchanging ideas. 

What remains of this reading also depends a lot on what you wanted to find, what you think, what you expect and many other internal and external aspects, such as some previous bad experience with an author. . 

The intention of giving any writer a second chance is valid when the hobby is constantly reading books or novels of any category, because it expands the skills of capturing messages that are sometimes difficult to determine in a line immediately.

Reading encourages the creation of an inclusive ideology, of a thought, helps to delimit the aspects of that presumption that does not finish fitting into the elements that we already have and that we have formed over time and titles or titles. authors. 

Isabel Allende's first book

The fact that you like a book or not depends on everything you have around you, on what you live, on your age, that is, on many factors, and the vision given to the book will depend on those feelings.

The house of the spirits was the first book by Isabel Allende, being cataloged as an impressive book according to the critics of that time, to which is also added the element of her initiation into the literary style. This was an unprecedented impact that catapulted the writer to a first level, as it is also a fairly complete book when it touches on political, social, love, betrayal, etc. 

The story takes place over a period of a century, passing from generation to generation and each one contributes something different narrating the experience of a main family and its four following generations. It is quite extensive, but it is not tedious nor does it give time for the reader to get bored or lose the thread in these almost 450 pages.

In the story of The House of the Spirits, the reader allows himself to be a spectator of the life of each character from birth until they grow old.

The whole novel tells about Clara's life and begins one day at church. The Trueba family was of rank, politically and socially important and when they arrived at a site they were observed, greeted and admired for what they represented. They arrive at the church and during the mass an event occurs for Clara. That marks her life, that is how the news is made known and this event that accompanies her for the rest of her existence and that is when she is cataloged as a rare girl.

Something curious is that the name of the book, The house of the spirits, is not exactly the theme of the story, that is, Clara can have contacts with spirits who speak to her and announce events that she can inform them of to prevent events from occurring. bad for your family.

But it doesn't happen to adults and souls don't appear or scare those who live in the house, Clara simply with her powers can move objects and see events in the future and everyone who lives in The House of the Spirits is used to it and learns to take it easy without getting upset or making a show.

With the passage of time and as the years went by, Clara perfected that gift and was already able to master it, making it an element in her favor and for the good. As she grew older, she also incorporated characters into her life that somehow complemented her powers and helped her control them much better.

important note

This dimension is important to focus the reader on the name of Isabel Allende's novel. The central theme is the story of a family that could well be something normal in and that many families could live with supernatural events with the gifts of one of its members.

The house of the spirits does not have as its central theme events related to darkness, the afterlife in a negative way, nor do dead people come out, nor do banshees wander. It is a story that captures the reader's attention from the first pages and the girl Clara softens those who know her, making her skill or capacity something beneficial for her character. 

Much of the book The House of the Spirits actually talks about the life or some episodes of Isabel Allende and quite peculiar things happen with fictional characters as well as real ones, it is loaded with quite a lot of emotions in this contemporary literature that no one can miss.

the House of Spirits

Historical novel

This novel entitled The House of the Spirits of Isabel Allende is qualified as a historical novel because the author narrates the generational life of the Trueba family along with the military dictatorship. In that sense it is also historical because it allows us to understand the history of Chile as a country. 


The house of the spirits of Isabel Allende is a book that was published in 1982 and due to its resounding and immediate success due to the more than moving and realistic story, ten years later the The house of los movie spirits directed by Bille August, who is a film and television director. 

The positive reviews fell in an avalanche and almost immediately, so much so that barely ten years passed before it was released on the big screen, also due to the combination of the unreal for many with politics and love. 

A character steals the show with the gift of knowing some things about the future and with this he could help those who were in danger to avoid tragedies.  

This book tells the story of the Trueba family covering up to four generations of it. This type of novel with this type of structure has been repeated in other novels, so if you like this theme that goes through generations of the same family, there are also other books such as One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, but you can consult the author of literary works in the Biography of Jose Emilio Pacheco.

They really start with the family of the Valley who are the parents and brothers of the matriarch of the Trueba family. The Del Valle family is a wealthy family positioned socially from which two characters stand out, who are the older sister of Rosa's family nicknamed Rosa la bella because she was beautiful and achieved the surrender of many and her younger sister who was Clara.

Clara was engaged to Esteban Trueba, who was a boy from a much humbler family who amassed his fortune after several years, first as a miner and then as a landlord on the family farm: Las Tres Marías.

It is an abandoned hacienda, banished by his own father and which he takes up and revives to turn it into one of the most important and highest-yielding farms in the country. Esteban Trueba never married Rosa del Valle but he married the youngest daughter of the del Valle family, Clara.

Once married, he goes to the big house on the corner that was rebuilt and he raised his family. Most of this story takes place in this large house on the corner where the children of the family are raised and where the most valuable characters parade, and also in the countryside, on the farm, where the family spends the summers.

The house on the corner represents Chile, since in it the government was represented by Esteban while the people are represented by Clara.

Other characters take part in the farm, especially the peasants and peons and another family that is another small dynasty that are the Garcías who will have an important weight in the story. Throughout the novel it is noted how Esteban and Clara form their family and certain important things happen until they reach the third generation, that is, the granddaughter named Clara who tells the story. 

The House of Spirits

The story is exciting and engages any reader from the first minute from the first pages and no one can stop reading it until the end. The details are the most special elements that grab the reader's attention and tirelessly invade him with emotions, awakening his imagination in the most natural way possible in each line.


Each of the characters in La casa de los Trueba state that they have a fairly defined personality and their very specific objective in terms of their place in the family. both the main ones and the parallel ones and those of the last generation. None of the characters is by chance, they all have a purpose that, if not shown in the middle of the story, can unravel at the end, causing an incredible sensation that can be told and discussed in readers' meetings, because Isabel Allende's novel deserves it.

But if your taste leans more towards the romantic novel you can read the summary of Eat Pray Love.

Stephen Trueba

He is the patriarch of the family and also acts as the narrator of the story, this character that we see from when he is very young to very old undergoes a brutal evolution during the novel. He starts out as a boy with hopes and a desire to earn money and achieve a social position that deserves him to marry Rosa and he succeeds and becomes an authoritarian being both as a father and as the patron of Las Tres Marías.

He is a conservative man, there are even moments in Isabel Allende's novel that he comes to be despised and later becomes the long-awaited Esteban Trueba. 

Esteban Trueba is madly in love with Rosa and aims to be a rich man and in the novel of The House of the Spirits he is the strongest and most important character in the novel. in one episode he decides to go to the mines to find gold or silver because he wants to become successful. He is admitted into the family and becomes engaged. He was a man with a temperamental character and a very bad temper and throughout the novel he achieves the hatred of the readers but ends up being loved equally because the character transforms.

But Rosa's character disappears from the story when a poisoning occurs that was for Rosa's father for political reasons. 

Esteban Trueba has like two facets, one that is the boss or authoritarian father and the other that is the sensitive facet, who loves Clara unconditionally, then loves her for the rest of her life and never manages to have her at all, that she feels fall in love with him as he has fallen in love with her and that generates frustration.

This pairing Clara, who is Rosa's younger sister, occurs when Esteban's mother on her deathbed demands that she marry again and have an admired family. Esteban remembers Rosa's family and knows that she had several sisters and goes to the family to take possession of one that is available and so it happens. He chooses Clara who, being a clairvoyant, already knew that hers was coming for her and to propose her marriage.

Esteban tries it with Clara in every way, as an authoritarian or sensitive husband, forcing her or understanding her but he never manages to tame her and that causes him infinite irritation.

The House of Spirits

Clara Trueba

Clara Trueba is the matriarch of this family and is the character that everyone falls in love with. From the beginning of the book when Clara is still little, she shows signs of being a strange, lonely and special girl, with psychic powers, telepathy, the gift of prediction, she has the gift of communicating with the dead or spirits.

This gift develops throughout her life as part of everything that happens to her and then she can dominate them and use them for her own benefit. These abilities of Clara give Isabel Allende's book a magical or mystical air that makes it possible to fit it into elements of magical realism, but they are everyday, normal, routine events, that is, it is assumed as one more characteristic of Clara.

These paranormal events are an accompaniment to the story of the book, giving it a particular essence. She is a character that captivates because from the first moment she has a huge inner world, and she always stays closed in on herself without sharing some things not even with her husband or her children. 

This makes her a sensitive woman who will be the glue of the family because she is the one who understands each member and shows understanding in each event, capable of changing places in each situation of others, always trying to help and being supportive. A gorgeous character who is loved from start to finish. 

The House of Spirits

Clara is practically the central character and with whom the entire story of The House of the Spirits begins. She is a girl of about five or six years old with an innocence typical of a child spoiled by a wealthy family. The mass in the church that hot Sunday is the beginning of the narrative where the girl Clara launches a curse in the middle of a religious meeting and then begins the family's struggle to protect Clara from bad comments, criticism, signs. of the townspeople who experienced that episode in the church. 

rose the beautiful

Rosa la bella is the most beautiful woman in the world according to the description in the book. She has green hair and all the men take their breath away from her when they look at her. Rosa's beauty is so penetrating and strong that men feel intimidated and despite having many lovers, they move away because they cannot imagine a life trying to defend themselves from so many suitors that Rosa could accumulate.

But this ends when Esteban Trueba arrives in Rosa's life, putting an end to the parade of anguished suitors. 


Férula is a beautiful woman as well and she is Esteban's sister who took care of her mother and guaranteed her accompaniment in the long agony that their mother suffered until her death. Férula was never able to get married precisely because she was aware of her mother and she later lived worried about her brother Esteban and about the fact that her mother asked her to look for a good woman to form a respectable family. Férula meets Clara and they become friends, even confidants. She trusts each other and they accompanied each other to any event or episode in the life of this family.

Férula's approach to Clara was exceptional, she was even almost her shadow to the point of bathing her, helping to dress her, combing her hair, among other things. It could be thought that Ferula was in love with Clara and on one occasion they came to fight for Clara's love because the approach of both was something that began to border on the strange.

In an episode of the soap opera The House of the Spirits, Clara and Férula were sleeping in the same bed and Esteban suddenly arrives and beats Férula out of the house, runs after her and yells at her as a stranger and a lesbian. 

At that moment, out of rage, Férula curses Esteban for having separated her from Clara and tells him that he will get smaller over time. This curse begins to take effect and in reality Esteban, who was a very tall and corpulent man, began to become smaller. It is important to note that The House of the Spirits is a work framed in magical realism.  

Second generation

The children of Clara and Esteban are the second generation of the Trueba family, and they are characteristically arrogant. It is part of the trunk of the novel and each one of them symbolizes a different personality and represents something on a general and personal level. In this second generation, the most beautiful forbidden love story of the novel that steals the heart like nothing and captivates each one in its own way is shown. 

These children of Clara and Esteban begin to disassociate themselves from their high and conservative social class and begin to embrace other ideals such as solidarity, equality, justice, political ideologies of the time such as Marxism and it begins with a change in the family. That is to say, they mark a change both historically and within the family and are the turning point in the novel, going from being a costumbrista or family novel to being a harder and more demanding novel.

The names of these children are Blanca, Nicolás and Jaime who are twins.


She is a young woman who does not generate much history because she is a somewhat calm woman and who falls madly in love with a boy named Pedro Tercero, who is a peasant from the area. She becomes pregnant by this young peasant, but another lover of Blanca finds out about these affairs of hers with this unwanted young man from the countryside and runs to tell the story to Esteban Trueba who gets angry and threatens Pedro's life but only ordered them to cut off the three fingers with a young man from the area, who we will talk about later because he is someone special.

Being pregnant, Blanca Esteban, dismayed by such a situation, looks for a man and forces Blanca to marry him with the intention that the girl has a last name and is not born a bastard without a family. the girl is Alba.

Blanca has the support of her mother who sees that her daughter and Pedro Tercero really love each other and challenges Esteban for having forced her to marry a man who only seeks to benefit from the family's opulence. 


Alba is a girl who comes to represent the almost central character along with Clara, who is even the one who narrates the history of the family and the four generations in The House of the Spirits. She is a girl loved by all who was never told that her real father was Pedro Tercero and that her father who recognizes her as such is a count who was paid to occupy that place and honor the family, from the point of view of view of Esteban Trueba.

Esteban's tranquility in relation to the family never ends because Alba, his favorite granddaughter, falls in love with a young man named Miguel who is a revolutionary and even goes against Esteban's political line. Alba, in love with Miguel, joins the political theme and follows the guidelines of her beloved revolutionary. Alba becomes ill and in the period in which her health is compromised she begins to have nightmares and she clearly remembers Esteban García when he tried to rape her when she was just a 14-year-old girl.

Regarding the political issue, Esteban Trueba, after Salvador Allende wins, begins to buy weapons to formalize the coup d'état and be a direct part of that political event, but Alba, consenting to Miguel's tendency, her lover, hides the weapons together with Jaime, his uncle. Esteban Trueba to avoid what he was planning.

Stephen Garcia

Esteban García is the dark character in Isabel Allende's novel The House of the Spirits. He is Pancha's grandson, that is, he is the son who had the product of Esteban's rape of Pancha, the young peasant who was the first victim of the boss, Esteban. He is the young man blinded for wanting to take revenge for said violation of his grandmother and he was the same one who cut off the fingers of Pedro Tercero sent by Esteban himself and who later asked Esteban for money for the fingers and Esteban denied him the reward.

Esteban García, blinded by hatred, was always looking for ways to stay close to Esteban Trueba's entourage to fulfill his goal of revenge, and this time he approaches Trueba requesting a letter of recommendation for a job. Esteban García, in addition to the rape of his grandmother, reproaches Esteban Trueba for not having taken care of his father, as a result of the rape. 

This young man also tried to rape Alba when she was just a girl.

Jaime and Nicholas

Jaime and Nicolás with the twins, Blanca's brothers and Esteban and Clara's children. Despite being characters of the second generation and with little relevance, their participation is also quite important in The House of the Spirits. Jaime dedicated himself to studying to be an important and renowned health professional, but he falls in love with the beautiful girlfriend of his brother, Nicolás.

Even Jaime, as a doctor, ends up performing an abortion on Nicolás's girlfriend, his brother. The girl is called Amanda and a series of episodes of rivalry between the twins begins for her. Jaime somehow as a doctor is also involved in politics but supports the socialist side and supports the presidency of Salvador Allende going against the guidelines of Esteban Trueba his father.  


In Esteban's life there are many events typical of the life of a man who is dispossessed of the woman he loved and for whom he gave so much to be someone in life. When Esteban loses Rosa, he feels contempt for everyone until he complains to God for having taken Rosa from his side.

After that, it is when he undertakes the reconstruction of the Las Tres Marías farm with workers and personnel at his command for such a recovery work that also made it productive. she becomes a despot and is unbearable for her workers who knew that Esteban was not a man with whom they could waste time.

Somehow, Esteban had lost the meaning of his life and the course of what he had originally planned, and he even began raping peasant women at random, but the first woman he raped begets Esteban's son. The novel follows Esteban's bastard son, who later has a son and is the one who takes charge and seeks revenge for his grandmother Pancha's rape.

In The House of the Spirits, Pancha, as a peasant woman who was raped by Esteban and who had a son and then a grandson who took revenge, represents a very important and crucial character in the story.

Bull transit

Tránsito Toro seems to be a slightly less important character and is even shown as a piece without much importance, but The House of the Spirits is in charge of keeping the thread of each and every one of its characters until the end, achieving the complete satisfaction of the reader. As was said at the beginning, Esteban was a man who liked sex and for this reason he had been in charge of raping women right and left when Rosa had died.

Once he settles down with Clara and on some occasions he was not available to please him, Esteban visited brothels looking for someone who would satisfy him with wild sex. 

In this part comes the story of Transito Toro, who after an intimate encounter with Esteban she dares to ask him for a loan to start and invest in a business, because her desire is to leave the current job and become an important and productive woman. otherwise. 

Esteban at that time is quite accessible, calm, relaxed and had made some good cattle sales on the farm, that is, he was pleased and with some extra money and agreed to lend the money to Transito. That episode in Esteban's life stayed there, closed, he forgot that loan because he never thought that Transito would pay him back the money as she herself let him know at that very moment.

She assured him that she would return the money to him because she was sure that it would be productive and that she could do it easily later on. This then turns into quite an interesting episode for the reader when the denouement occurs.

Third generation

This third generation is carried out by the only granddaughter who is Alba, who is the final point or climax of the novel. In addition to being the narrator of history, Alba lived through one of the hardest periods in Chilean history, which was the Marxist blog in 70 and the subsequent coup d'état that led to the Pinochet dictatorship. It is about a moment in the very hard country in which Alba lives her youth.

We see her grow from birth but really the most important role will be at the end of the book where she lives hard times. It could be said that she is the character with the worst time in the entire novel if she is seen in an outfit. She stars in two last chapters that are heart-stopping. The last two chapters make it impossible to leave the book in the last hundred pages, as it is one of the plots of a novel that has the most impact.

Essential elements

As for important things to mention about the book, the sense of humor that appears in the development from the beginning to its last pages stands out, no matter how tragic Clara's life is. There are many plots and things that are explained in a humorous and pleasant way for the reader that makes him live the story and is very well defined in the extravagance of some characters. 

On the other hand, The House of the Spirits is a story told by the granddaughter of the whole family and is told in the present about the past. Throughout the novel, the events that are going to happen later are anticipated, either by the narrator himself or by Clara's predictions. This makes the novel constantly self-spoiling, which is surprising at first because there are times when events are anticipated.

These elements initially confuse the reader but they do not detract from emotion or attention, quite the opposite. That is to say, although it is known that at some point something is going to happen, the anxiety is felt when trying to discover when it is going to happen and when it is about to happen the reader feels as if he did not even know how much he enjoyed the moment he read in La house of the spirits 

The epilogue of the novel is told or narrated by the granddaughter, Alba, and this is a closing or finishing touch for the culmination of The House of the Spirits, which is quite impressive. 

The novel inspires to be read several times because it is a reflection that Clara makes of the family, her life and the events that marked her. She, in the end, is a consequence of everything she lived through. The epilogue turns out to be something to make the reader fall in love. 

political elements

As we could well read in this article, The House of the Spirits is directly linked to the political events of that time and is formed in the center of a family whose characters are creating parallel stories that undoubtedly keep the thread of events for better or worse. worse. 

The story goes that Esteban Trueba was a wealthy businessman who became a Democratic senator but within his family he had some members who opposed him by being revolutionaries or seeking to support socialist lines. 

They confiscate Esteban Trueba's Hacienda Las Tres Marías or the house on the corner as it was known and this torments and frustrates him and makes him irritated to the point of going with long weapons to defend his lands, his property. The peasants take the property hostage and decide to go against Esteban Trueba, that is when Blanca, who knows that Pedro Tercero has a lot of strength and power over the peasantry, intervenes and looks for him to beg him to let his father live, that is how they save to Esteban Trueba.

Luisa Mora, meanwhile, is a clairvoyant sister who is a close friend of Clara's and who appears throughout the novel The House of the Spirits enters the scene to approach the house on the corner and warn Esteban Trueba, the boss as he was known, that a tragedy was about to occur in the family. This tragedy involves Alba and the country, and this is about the military coup in which President Allende dies and causes Alba to be imprisoned because she had begun to protect refugees who work to escape after the military coup.

But nobody believes Luisa Mora, they even call her crazy. 

At that moment, Jaime receives a call from the presidency and leaves with the president, and everyone who is there knows that they are going to die. The president tells him what is happening, the military have given him a coup. It is a painful part of the novel and heroic because Jaime ends up dying in the saddest way as the torture is described. Jaime was a doctor, but not a military man, but because of his relationship with the president, in the end he is assassinated.

This is where the great transformation of Esteban Trueba comes, who cannot believe that his son has been murdered. 

No character is by chance

An epic moment in the novel occurs when Jaime is taken to a place where they have the people they are going to shoot, where they are kept standing for long days without food or water, and they even defecate on them. At this moment a soldier in an act of charity made him sit down for a while so that Jaime could rest and Jaime feels somewhat surprised by the soldier's attitude and the soldier tells him that he does it because he once saved his mother in an operation. 

This scene is important because this is the same soldier who tells Esteban Trueba that the military murdered his son and that is when he begins to doubt whether he really did the right thing in supporting the military coup. It is quite contradictory because in the end Esteban supports the men who murdered his son. 

In the case of Alba, she is very hurt by Jaime's death and begins to shelter fugitives and take them to the embassies in her own car that she paints with bright colors so that they can be identified. Blanca hides Pedro Tercero in the house and there is a moment when Blanca confesses to her father that she has hidden Pedro Tercero for many years and he, already a little civilized by the love between them, decides to take them out of the country. 

Alba meanwhile does not want to leave because there is Miguel who is her great love and is a revolutionary and begins to protect people who are fleeing from the military dictatorship. Finally one day at night they enter the house of Esteban Trueba and he is surprised by not understanding what is happening when he sees that Alba had been protecting people fleeing from the military dictatorship.

It is then that he takes Alba and they meet Esteban García who waits for her, rapes her, tortures her, becoming pregnant. Alba did not understand all the hatred and the evil that he did to her but Esteban, upset with so much hatred, ends up falling in love with her.

Esteban García even cuts off three of Alba's fingers and sends them to Trueba. After this, Tránsito Toro enters the scene, who had made a lot of money with that loan he asked Esteban and Esteban finds out that Tránsito was very well linked with the military and begs him to save Alba, which was the only thing he had left in life. Tránsito begins to look for influences among his friends and manages to free Alba. They leave her lying on a piece of land and hand her over to Trueba. 

The house of the spirits: Final

Without the intention of going too much into the plot or developing complete chapters in order to leave something to the imagination and that they can enjoy the story when they have Isabel Allende's novel at hand, here we are going to mention some curious facts about this ending that everyone will love. they expected the best but in the same way cause an impressive sensation.

It is a prologue narrated by Alba that narrates the union between the letters of her grandmother Clara about the four generations of the Trueba. In the end, the story of The House of the Spirits tells that Alba is pregnant as a result of her rapes and even so she forgives Esteban García. 

Alba believes that deep down Esteban García is not a bad man, but a soul victim of mixed feelings in which the dominant one is the frustration for wanting to take revenge at any cost on Esteban Trueba, his grandfather, who did not recognize his father and that he raped his grandmother.  

Basically the message of the story could be compiled in a series of feelings through a family and its generations who continue to produce and grow having all different criteria. 

The story is parallel to the political history of Chile and also the parallel characters all intertwine to continue a plot that never lets the reader fall into boredom. 

The House of the Spirits movie

Next, let's talk a little about the film that, after the publication of the novel, was released on the big screen in 1993, with a staff of actors and actresses who expressed their satisfaction with the roles in this story. The house of the spirits and its actors they had the direction of Bille August and we will mention them below. 

  • Meryl Streep as Clara
  • Jeremy Irons as Esteban Trueba
  • Teri Polo as Rosa
  • Winona Rider as Blanca
  • Antonio Banderas as Pedro the Third
  • Vincent Gallo as Esteban Garcia
  • Maria Conchita Alonso as Traffic Bull
  • Sarita Choudhury as Pancha
  • Glenn Close as Ferula

As can be seen, this short list of first actors and actresses is made up of highly recognized characters in Hollywood and the film falls into the romantic and drama genre with a duration of 140 minutes. 

The story is told in such a natural way that some unreal or unconventional events in a family go unnoticed, such as Clara's levitation in some episodes, or the movement of objects near her or when she had a visitor.

They call this magical realism.

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