Beloved Books becoming Films // The House of the Spirits

Official Promotional Poster

What a book! The House of the Spirits (La casa de los espíritus, 1982) is the debut novel by Isabel Allende. This book was first conceived by Allende when she received news that her one hundred year-old grandfather was dying so she began to write him a letter that ultimately became a best selling novel immediately after it was published! Between reality and fantasy, love and hate, guilt and forgiveness, this is a MUST-READ.

Plot & Main Characters
The story details the life of the Trueba family, spanning four generations, and tracing the post-colonial social and political upheavals of Chile. The story is told mainly from the perspective of two protagonists (Esteban and Alba) and incorporates elements of magical realism [source: Wikipedia]. Esteban Trueba and his wife, Clara del Valle Trueba, their daughter Blanca, her lover Pedro and their daughter Alba are the key characters of this novel among others of secondary but great importance, such as Ferula, Esteban's sister, Esteban Garcia, Esteban Trueba's bastard son, and Rosa del Valle, Clara's older sister and Esteban Trueba's fiance before marrying Clara. I know, it seems confusing, but, trust me, you will be surprised how quickly you read it!

Cover of the 1993 Bantam first English

What a movie! With a unique cast and shooting locations in Denmark and Portugal, this German-Danish-Portuguese production is a real masterpiece. However, I have to warn you that it is not entirely based on the book. There are some significant differences, which were probably made to fit everything in and still give the magical feeling of the story.

Jeremy Irons as Esteban Trueba

Esteban (Jeremy Irons) and Clara (Meryl Streep)

Winona Ryder as Blanca

Antonio Banderas as Pedro Garcia

Lovers, Pedro and Blanca

Ferula (Glenn Close) and Clara (Meryl Streep)

The del Valle family: Vanessa Redgrave as the mother, Armin Mueller-Stahl as the father, Teri Polo as Rosa and Grace Gummer - Meryl Streep's daughter - as young Clara!

I first read the book, then watched the film, then read the book again and then the film twice and I think it is time to read it again and maybe watch the movie... again!

I cannot decide which I prefer so I suggest you experience both... Thank you so much for reading,