Cathedral Reads 2023
Cathedral Reads, our summer reading program for adults, will be centered around The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende.
Cathedral Reads Discussion
August 13, 10 a.m., Reynolds Hall
We celebrate our summer of reading with a wrap up, round table discussions, good coffee and fun food. We’re looking forward to reading this powerful novel together, and we hope that you will join us for some or all of our activities this summer!
Join Cathedral Reads this summer to dive into the novel that established Isabel Allende as a legendary writer and discover the power of magical realism, a way of sharing stories that accesses deeper truths and allows us to see the love that is central to our lives, even in the darkest moments.
The House of the Spirits recounts three generations of the Trueba family and the violence and love at war in both the family and their country. Esteban, the patriarch, pursues political power no matter the human cost, while his beloved wife Clara lives a mystical life deeply connected to the spirit world. The impact of their choices plays out dramatically in their daughter Blanca’s life, until ultimately their strong-willed granddaughter Alba harnesses her grandmother’s understanding of the power of telling our stories and emerges to lead her family and their country into the future.
Isabel Allende has said, “There is something magic in the storytelling. You tap into another world. The story becomes whole when you tap into the collective story, when other people’s stories become part of the writing, and you know that it’s not your story only.” Allende’s life has been marked by violence, but also by love. Just before she wrote House of the Spirits, her home country of Chile experienced The Caravan of Death, the event which marked the beginning of dictator Augusto Pinochet’s regime. “There is sorrow, pain, and death,” she says, “but there’s another parallel dimension, and that is love.” In The House of the Spirits, Allende shows us how the magic of storytelling provides a portal into that realm of unconditional love.
Experience Cathedral Reads
Cathedral Reads Small Groups
Sign up to attend, time and location TBA
Cathedral Reads Lectures
July 18 Recordings (Download Agenda)
July 25 Recordings
Learn more about magical realism and Allende’s world through the work of the Spanish/Mexican painter Remedios Varo who paints mystical women who align with Allende’s characters; the narrative technique; and the historical/political background of the novel.
Our guide to the nuances of the novel will be Lois Parkinson Zamora, professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Houston, where she holds a Moores Distinguished Professorship. Dr. Zamora is renowned for her work about the visual arts and their relationship to literature and is a leader in the comparative study of literature of the Americas. To learn more about Dr. Zamora’s esteemed career, visit: www.uh.edu/~englmi/site