Severo and Nivea del Valle's daughter, Esteban's wife, and Blanca, Jaime, and Nicolas's mother. The key female figure in the novel, Clara is the connection between the Trueba and del Valle families. She is clairvoyant and only sporadically attentive to domestic chores, but she holds her family together through her love and predictions. She is always surrounded by animals and flowers. Clara marries Esteban because she understands that it is her fate. After he hits her she never talks to him again, but she maintains a civil relationship with him until her death.

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Esteban Trueba

The patriarch of the Trueba family. He narrates sections of the novel in the first person. Esteban builds a vast fortune through hard work, a violent temper, and Conservative politics. He marries Clara and becomes a senator. Esteban's penchant for turning his violence on his workers and his family creates deep tensions in the family, which are finally resolved through his love and respect for his granddaughter Alba.

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Blanca and Pedro Tercero's daughter, Clara and Esteban's granddaughter. Alba reunites the family after her grandparents' estrangement, through her love for them and their love for her. She devotes her life to her family and to her love for Miguel. Alba becomes the object of all of Esteban Garcia's hatred. In the epilogue, Alba emerges as the voice behind the third person narration of the story.

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Clara and Esteban's first born. Blanca falls in love with Pedro Tercero at a young age and throughout her life defies her father to meet with him as often as possible. Blanca is caught with Pedro Tercero and they are forced to separate for a time, during which Blanca is forced to marry Jean de Satigny. Blanca leaves Jean just before giving birth to her daughter by Pedro Tercero, Alba. Blanca raises Alba in her parents' house and continues meeting Pedro Tercero, but refuses to run away with him until after the military coup when they flee together to Canada.

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Pedro Tercero

Pedro Segundo's son. As a young boy, Pedro Tercero falls deeply in love with Blanca and continues to love her throughout his life. As he reaches adolescence, Pedro Tercero becomes a revolutionary and a songwriter. He is greatly respected by the peasants and his music is very popular with revolutionary students. First for his revolutionary activities and then for his relations with Blanca, Pedro Tercero is banned from Tres Marias, but he continues to meet Blanca in secret. He eventually pays for these meetings with three of his fingers, but he still does not give up Blanca. When the Socialists come to power, Pedro Tercero joins the government. At Blanca's request, he saves Esteban's life. After the military coup, Esteban saves his life and helps him to escape to Canada with Blanca.

Pedro Segundo

Pedro Garcia's son. Pedro Segundo is the foreman and caretaker of Tres Marias. Although he works closely with Esteban for much of his life, he never becomes friends with Esteban, but he does develop a close friendship with Clara. Pedro Segundo never joins the revolutionaries, nor does he denounce them. He leaves Tres Marias after Esteban discovers that his son Pedro Tercero is Blanca's lover.

Esteban Garcia

Pancha and Esteban Trueba's grandson. Esteban Garcia despises Esteban Trueba for not allowing him to be acknowledged. As a boy, he turns Pedro Tercero in to Esteban. Later, he requests Esteban's help to enter the police force and eventually rises to become the leader of the military coup, in the process venting much of his anger on Alba.

Pedro Garcia

Father of Pedro Segundo. Pedro Garcia is one of the oldest residents of Tres Marias. Wise in the ways of nature, Pedro Garcia rids the property of the ant plague and sets all of Esteban's bones when they are broken in an earthquake.


Esteban Trueba's older sister. Ferula is jealous of Esteban. After Dona Ester's death, she moves in with Esteban and Clara. Ferula and Clara become great friends. Ferula secretly desires Clara. When Esteban discovers Ferula in bed with Clara, he throws Ferula out of the house forever. As she leaves, Ferula curses Esteban. Many years later, Ferula dies in one of the city's poor neighborhoods. Clara washes Ferula's body herself

Rosa the Beautiful

The oldest del Valle daughter. Rosa is exceptionally beautiful, with transparent skin, yellow eyes, and green hair. She is engaged to Esteban Trueba but dies before they can marry, accidentally poisoned by brandy intended for Severo.


Amanda's younger brother. Miguel first sees Alba at her birth, and when he meets her again eighteen years later he falls in love with her. Their relationship lasts through the end of the book. Miguel is also a revolutionary who joins the guerrillas after the military coup.


One of Esteban and Clara's twin boys. Jaime studies medicine and devotes his life to helping the poor.


Jaime's twin brother. Nicolas inherits Uncle Marcos's penchant for travel and invention. He pursues spiritual enlightenment, embarrassing Esteban, and is sent out of the country.


The housekeeper and nurse of the del Valle family, Nana is especially close to Clara. After Severo and Nivea's deaths, Nana moves to the Trueba household as their housekeeper.


A peasant girl at Tres Marias. She is raped by Esteban Trueba, taken into his house as a housekeeper, and then thrown out when she becomes pregnant. She is the mother of an illegitimate son of Esteban Trueba's, who is the child's namesake. Pancha passes on to her son Esteban Garcia and then her grandson Esteban Garcia her resentment toward Esteban Trueba.

Jean de Satigny

Blanca's husband. Jean de Satigny is a French immigrant who wants to join de Trueba family through business or marriage. He is able to marry Blanca thanks to his revelation of her affair and her subsequent pregnancy. When Blanca discovers his sexual eccentricities, she leaves him.

Nivea del Valle

The mother of Clara, Rosa, and thirteen other children. Nivea is a suffragette. She dies, decapitated, in a car accident.

Severo del Valle

Clara's father. Severo is a businessman who becomes a politician with the Liberal party.

Uncle Marcos

Nivea's favorite brother, and Clara's favorite uncle. He is an explorer and inventor who stays with the del Valle family between trips. Although Uncle Marcos dies early on, he leaves his books and stories, which pass on to every del Valle-Trueba child.

Dona Ester Trueba

The proud Dona Ester Trueba is a direct descendant of one of Peru's oldest families. In her youth she fell in love with and married the lower class immigrant Trueba. The money she brought to the marriage quickly ran out, her husband died, and she is afflicted by severe arthritis which confines her to a wheelchair. She dies shortly after Esteban has finished restoring Tres Marias.

Transito Soto

A prostitute that Esteban Trueba first encounters while restoring Tres Marias. Transito borrows money from Esteban to move to the city and establish a brothel there. In good faith, Transito returns the favor to Esteban many years later by helping him secure Alba after she is captured.


A lower class woman, active in university counter-culture. She has a relationship with Nicolas and gets pregnant. Jaime, who is in love with her, performs the abortion. Shortly after the abortion, Amanda disappears from the story. She reappears twenty years later when Jaime helps to save her from illness due to drug addiction.

Ana Diaz

Ana Diaz is student revolutionary who first meets Alba during the occupation of the university. Later Ana helps Alba to survive in the military dictator's detention centers.

Father Jose Dulce Maria

A revolutionary priest from Tres Marias. He teaches and repeatedly helps Pedro Tercero.

The Candidate

Never given any other name in the story, The Candidate runs for president for the Socialist Party every single year, never expecting to win. Over these years he and Jaime become friends. He is as surprised as the Conservatives are when he wins the election. He does his best as president, but he has great difficulties running the country in the face of the Conservative's attempts to undermine his government. He is one of the first people killed during the Military Coup.

Rumanian Rostipov

An itinerant doctor who diagnoses Clara's mutism. He realizes that Clara has stopped speaking because she does not want to speak.

Professor Sebastian Gomez

Sebastian Gomez is a professor at the university that Alba and Miguel attend. He helps them to organize the occupation of the school.

The Poet

Never given a more specific name, the Poet is friends with Clara and a frequent visitor at the big house on the corner.

The King of the Pressure Cookers

One of Blanca's many suitors. Esteban does not like him because he appears to be Jewish.


The del Valle's dog.