In both the novels, ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and ‘The House of The Spirits’ by Isabel Allende, the fantastic meets the real, as fantasy and reality closely intermingle. This genre of ‘magic realism’ used by both the authors creates an imaginary world, which is extremely different from the worlds that we live in and this perhaps could make it difficult for readers to completely understand and interpret the details given in the novels. However, the narrative strategies employed by both these authors act as the main unifying force in the novels and the peculiar descriptions of the events and characters make it easier for us, as readers, to get the best possible perceptions of the storylines.

Although in both the novels, the narrators are different, the way the narration is done is very similar and in both, the authors are able to create immense curiosity in the minds of the readers. In ‘The House of The Spirits’, Isabel Allende has used three different narrative voices. The first voice is in fact in ‘first person’ narration and in the opening lines only, the reader becomes aware of the basis of the whole story, i.e. Clara Trueba’s notebooks, from which the plot has been reconstructed. However, after the opening sentences, the narrative voice quickly changes back to third person and the narrator seems to know everything about the Trueba family, although not entirely from personal experience, rather again from accounts of the past. Thus, there is immediately a link drawn between the narration in the opening sentences, and the one that is throughout the novel. The reader, however, is not aware of this narrator until the end of the novel, where it is revealed that the whole story has indeed been told by Clara’s granddaughter, Alba. Alba, however, is not the only one narrating the story, as her grand father, the protagonist, Esteban Trueba also relates the story to the readers in ‘first person’. This narration proves to be extremely important as it tells the readers about the innermost feelings of all the characters in the novel, including Esteban himself. Thus, it is not only an objective account of the Trueba family’s history, it is indeed the whole recollection of the past as told by someone who has lived it himself.

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Similarly, in ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’, it remains largely unclear throughout the novel as to who is actually narrating the story. However, in this case, there is only one narration used, that of an omniscient ‘third person’ who tells the reader the story of the entire one hundred years of solitude as lived by the Buendia family. The readers in this case may interpret the narration as that of the matriarch, Ursula Iguaran’s or perhaps of the gypsy, Melquiades’. However, this remains arguable, as there is hardly any ‘first person’ narration used to support the readers’ assumptions.


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