Books: From Chile with Magic the House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

by Isabel Allende Translated by Magda Bogin; Knopf; 368 pages; $17.95

Chopin performed on the piano by invisible hands, a horse-size dog with crocodile claws who feeds on marmalade, chairs that dance and saltcellars that scamper across the dining table. These are some of the fantastic images in The House of the Spirits, a first novel by Isabel Allende that has captivated readers in Latin America and Western Europe. Published in Spanish in 1982, it quickly became a best seller in Spain and many Latin American countries. Foreign-language versions that appeared last year have sold 400,000 copies in France and kept the book on the best-seller list in West Germany since the...

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