The House of the Spirits

by: Isabel Allende

Key Facts

Main ideas Key Facts

full title · The House of the Spirits

author · Isabel Allende

type of work · Novel

genre · Magical realism

language · Spanish

time and place written · 1981, Venezuela

date of first publication · First publication in Spanish, 1982. First publication in English, 1985.

publisher · Plaza & Janes, in Spanish. Knopf, in English.

narrator · Alba and Esteban Trueba

climax · None, although there are many moments which appear to be a climax, notably each birth and each death

protagonists · Clara, Blanca, and Alba

settings (time) · The twentieth century

settings (place) · Tres Marias and the capital of an unspecified Latin American country

point of view · The point of view switches between the first person of Esteban and a third person omniscient narrator who turns out to be Alba

falling action · Chapter fourteen, The Terror, when Alba is abducted by Esteban Garcia, and Esteban Trueba realizes how much damage he has caused

tense · Past and future

tones · Calm and dispassionate, even while presenting extremely violent, passionate, and unbelievable events (characteristic of magical realism)

motifs · Class struggle; political upheaval; women's roles and rights; the power of writing; fate and free will; genealogy and inheritance; revenge

foreshadowing · Throughout the novel