Isabelle Allende

The House of the Spirits

Trueba continued polishing his reputation as a rake, sowing the entire region with his bastard offspring, and storing up sins that barely nicked him because he had hardened up his soul and silenced his conscience with the excuse of progress.

Despite her tender age and complete ignorance of matters of this world, Clara grasped the absurdity of the situation and wrote in her notebook about the contrast of her mother and her friends, in their fur coats and suede boots, speaking of oppression, equality, and rights to a sad, resigned group of hard-working women in denim aprons, their hands red with chilblains.

Clara's childhood came to an end and she entered her youth within the walls of her house in a world of terrifying stories and calm silences. It was a world in which time was not marred by calendars or watches and objects had a life of their own, in which apparitions sat at the table and conversed with human beings, the past and the future formed part of a single unit, and the reality of the present was a kaleidoscope of jumbled mirrors where everything and anything could happen. It is a delight for me to read her notebooks from those years, which describe a magic world that no longer exists. Clara lived in a universe of her own invention, protected from life's inclement weather, where the prosaic truth of material objects mingled with the tumultuous reality of dreams and the laws of physics and logic did not always apply.

It was as if they had opened a valve and all the pain, fear, and anger of those days had issued from their chests and rolled onto the street, rising into a terrible shout to the thick black clouds above. Another shouted, 'Compañero President!' and everyone answered in a single wail, the way men grieve: 'Here! Now and Forever!' The poet's funeral had turned into the symbolic burial of freedom.

He did not know that she had seen her own destiny, that she had summoned him with the power of her thought, and that she had already made up her mind to marry without love.

In the lovers' postures, he could see the abandon typical of those who have known each other for a long time. What he was looking at did not resemble an erotic summer idyll, as he had supposed, but rather a marriage of body and soul.

With the stroke of the pen the military changed world history, erasing every incident, ideology, and historical figure of which the regime disapproved.