Monthly Archives: October 2021

Ep076 – House of the Spirits Part 1 by Isabel Allende

House of the Spirits Part 1 by Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende’s debut novel, House of the Spirits, is a journey in magical realism. House of the Spirits follows four generations of the Trueba family against the backdrop of an unspecified South American country (Chile). In this first discussion of the story, Isaac and Reid dig into the first five chapters of the story, which focus on Esteban Trueba, as he rebuilds his family’s estate, marries Blanca, and begins to raise his family.

Discussed this Episode

  • The rudeness of Esteban. Esteban is not a nice person, and how to do write a “bad” character? Make them do bad stuff. Show them doing bad things. Here Esteban exhibits all of the worst traits of toxic masculinity. He rapes at least one servant. He is incredibly violent, directly striking servant or others; or indirectly by hiring others to do violence on his behalf.
    • You have to make a character redeemable. Perhaps the only redeemable quality is that Esteban is good at management, and he was able to bring the family estate back from ruin.
    • Additionally, Esteban doesn’t see himself as a bad person. He believes everything he does is perfect. That the hard work he does justifies taking whatever he wants.
  • Point of View mixture.  The book is interestingly written in both first and third person perspective. Several sections are written in first person from the point of view of Esteban and his grandchild Alba. The remainder of the story is written in third person.
    • The third person perspectives are written in a storytelling tone that dives into the details of the characters. The narrator in the third person moments gives opinions and insights to the characters and relationship between the characters.
    • The first person perspectives are in past tense and Esteban and Alba reflect on their family. These two points of view carry the weight of the events that have not yet happened. There is much sadness, doubt, and concern – or most of the time with Esteban, we just get his perspective of how he is the savior to the world.

Leave it to the Prose

Leave it to the Prose is a podcast dedicated to the discussion of science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction. Every other week Issac and Reid discuss a work of fiction (short story or longer form) from the perspective of a reader and a writer.

Upcoming Episodes

  • 11/1 – House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende part 2
  • 11/8 – Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey




Ep075 – The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

Before Lord of the Rings there was The Hobbit. To many The Hobbit is the cornerstone work of fantasy writing, introducing readers to the high fantasy realm of Middle Earth. JRR Tolkien originally published The Hobbit in 1937 and ever since it has remained among the popular works of fantasy. The Hobbit is the story of a hobbit who is accompanied by many dwarves to get to an ancient dwarven kingdom and reclaim a treasure.

Discussed this episode

  • Episodic Nature. The Hobbit in many ways follows an episodic structure where each chapter has little to do with one another besides that every encounter that occurs is on the path towards The Lonely Mountain. Every 40 pages the dwarves encounter a new enemy or puzzle and it is either their over powered wizard or tiny hobbit that saves the day.
  • Narrative Voice. The story is told by a storyteller, who at times breaks the forth wall to explain certain details of the world. In the beginning hobbits are explained, and then later on ways of elves and dwarves and men and dragons. The Hobbit plays to a younger audience because there is helper text that the storyteller is happy to dive into.
  • What is focused on. There are interesting choices that Tolkien makes when diving into details. For example the dwarves encounter a stash of ancient swords, of which two are given powerful names. Gondolin as an ancient elven kingdom is mentioned. There is an old raven. But the elven king doesn’t get a name (within the text). It is interesting how there are certain aspects of the larger wold Tolkien chooses to intertwine within this story and what elements are left out.

Also Discussed

  • This is not our first work of Tolkien discussed, do check out our episode on The Fall of Gondolin.

Upcoming Episodes

  • 10/25 – House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende Part 1.
  • 11/1 – House of the Spirits Part 2.
  • 11/8 – Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey

Leave it to the Prose

We are leave it to the prose, a book discussion podcast where we break down the critical aspects of a work of fiction from a reader and writer perspective.