Allende’s debut novel blends history and domestic drama to tell the story of four generations of a family. The setting is a Latin American country a lot like the author’s native Chile, where her cousin Salvador Allende was overthrown in a CIA-assisted coup in 1973. The author herself went into exile, and she began the book as a letter to her dying grandfather while she was living in Venezuela. The result is a novel that operates in a variety of registers. There are magical realism elements here, but to read the book on such terms exclusively is to miss its larger significance. Rather, this is a work in which the political is the personal and characters are defined by not only who they are but also where they’re from.


AUTHOR ISABEL ALLENDE IN CONVERSATION WITH JOHN FREEMAN

When: Thursday, March 16, 2023, 5 p.m. Pacific time.

Format: Freeman will lead a free hour-long conversation with Allende, which will include a reading by her and questions from the audience. Produced by Alta Journal for streaming on Zoom.

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Atria Books
THE HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS, BY ISABEL ALLENDE
Atria Books Bookshop.org
$16.74