“House Of The Spirits” is an inferior reflection of “100 Years Of Solitude.” It really is the same book. The same ripped-off book.
Told in a weird narrative that flip flops from first person to third – (and sloppily too) – “House of the Spirits” is about 4 generations of a very turbulent family in South America. The main character is Esteban Trueba, who is as fierce with his temper as he is with his genitals (he’s rapey.) He literally runs the town of Tres Marias with an iron fist, having built it up from nothing into a strong, industrial corner of the country. He’s a jerk and almost nobody likes him but he forces himself on people because he hates being alone. Think of a more violent and vengeful Michael Scott from “The Office.” Nobody has a choice either – he’s the boss and what he says goes. Or they get hurt/raped. Tough way to live.
His wife is Clara, a woman with super powers and an aloof but ignorant demeanor. Her very existence is way too akin to the wild machinations that drove many a plot in “Solitude.” Everything she does is far-fetched and stretched as she goes around reading minds and performing acts of telekinesis like Jean Grey from The X-Men.
Her late sister was Rosa The Beautiful, who like “Solitude’s” Remedios The Beauty, is so ridiculously captivating that she dies young because no one so gorgeous should have to deal with the rigors of time hurting their peerless looks.
Clara has twins who, like the twins in “Solitude,” are absolutely nothing alike and take different paths in life. Ferula is her sister-in-law, a virgin spinster like Amaranta in “Solitude.” Her son-in-law is Jean Satigny, a foreign, girly snob who has hands as soft as baby smiles – you know, like Pietro Crespi in “Solitude.” Wait…WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON HERE?!
“Solitude” was written in ’69, “House” in 82. “Solitude” won the Nobel Prize, “House” was a bestseller. “Solitude” has the word “solitude” on almost every 400-plus page, “House” has it a lot. “House” wants to be “Solitude” so bad! But it has one simple problem: It’s not as good as “Solitude.”
I want to ask Isabelle Allende something: Do you have any books that YOU’VE written? I like your style, so perhaps I’ll check your stuff out again. I just wanna make sure that you’ve written something that wasn’t written already. I don’t need any “The Picasso Riddle,” “The Baron of Monte Carlo”…you know, more rip offs. I need a real, original book from you and if you can do that, I’ll take a look. Just don’t bullshit me anymore.
The weird part is, I really liked the book because, heck…I loved “100 Years Of Solitude!” So I guess I like chocolate cupcakes because I like chocolate cake. One is the lesser form of the other.
So, I’m not recommending this book. I want to expand my mind and learn new things, not go 400 pages repeating someone else’s work. Now, I’ll see the movie starring Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close and Winona Ryder. Oh, and Antonio Banderas, somehow the only freakin’ Hispanic actor in the whole damned thing.