We had a great turnout and discussion for Isabel Allende’s “The House of the Spirits.” We started by discussing the introduction of our first strong female character “Rosa the beautiful” and her green hair. This image sets up the magical realism in Allende’s story. We also agreed that she was the first of the many women in this book with eccentric qualities our favorite being Clara. Some of us felt sympathy for the oppressive and sometimes violent Esteban Trueba because he was the hardworking caregiver of the family and in love with Clara until the very end, but this did not excuse his raping of poor young women prior to marrying Clara. Throughout the novel it is clear that these characters and the people of this unspecified country are caught in an endless cycle of violence. History gets repeated not only in the family’s situations, but the country’s politics as well. At the same time we see characters experience relationships that start in hate and end in comradery or vice versa. Perhaps this is Allende’s lesson in forgiveness? The writing of the family and country’s history becomes the final story, but the learning of past mistakes in order to prevent future tragedies is hindered by retribution. -Elvira
Please join us next month for Mario Vargas Llosa’s “The Green House,” scheduled for May 9 from 7pm-8:30pm at the Main Library (1703 Orrington).