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