marlowe1: (Serenity)
90.House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende - I remember loving this book and for the most part I read this book and I loved it all over again, but there is a definite classist undertone to the book and I am not certain that is completely purposeful. There seems to be a doubling of classist attitudes in this book where on one hand there is the purposeful depiction of class inequality with the treatment of the peasants at the plantation and the growth of Communism in the nation (which is obviously Chile). On the other hand, all of the heroines are privileged to the point of being misery tourists for most of the book and Estaban gets way too much love even as he is a bullying rapist. The most evil character is the grandfather's grandson from the peasants who is a child molester. It's almost like Allende is saying that there is a revenge rape deal going.

I still think that most of this is the point of the book. Maybe I am just finding more ambiguity in the book. I don't like the women in this book as much as I did when I first read it. They all mean well when it comes to class relations but they are also all full of unexamined privilege and their love affairs (even the platonic one) with the peasants all feel a lot like they are fetishizing the poverty instead of loving these men as equals. In fact, the only reason why the daughter finally marries her lifelong love (the one that Estaban tries to kill when he finds out) is because he has to flee the country and they can live in wealth in Canada.

I felt that this one was warmer than 100 Years in Solitude but maybe there is a great deal of remove from both of these books and that magical realism exists to deal with things that we cannot talk about.

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Tim Lieder

July 2017

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