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Swift As Desire


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A magical, sensual love story about a Mexian telegraph operator who sets the world to rights by benevolently mistranslating messages.

About the Author

Laura Esquivel is one of Mexico's most celebrated writers. She now divides her time between Mexico City and New York. Originally a screenwriter, she wrote the script for the award-winning film of her first book, Like Water for Chocolate.


Once again, Mexican novelist Esquivel mixes together an unexpected blend of ingredients, in this case Mayan and Aztec numerology, communication technologies (from telegraphs to computers), and human passions, to tell the story of one Mexican family during the 20th century. Jubilo, a master of all forms of communication whose mind is itself a sophisticated cryptographic machine, is a proud descendant of Mayans. Lucha, his passionate and beautiful wife, is upper class and well educated. Lluvia, their daughter, is born in the midst of divorce proceedings following an unspeakable family tragedy, but eventually she, too, demonstrates her father's gift for the reconciling powers of communication. Any new novel by Esquivel will be compared to her incomparable first novel, Like Water for Chocolate. This one is quite as full of passion, fascinating cultural history, and endearing characters and will be enjoyed by her many fans. Recommended for most libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/01.] Mary Margaret Benson, Linfield Coll. Lib., McMinnville, OR Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

The princess of modern Latin literature (second only to Isabel Allende) has written yet another quirky and sensual story with a moralistic twist, its cute-as-can-be characters arguing and loving with equal passion. But Esquivel's fourth novel lacks that certain something that enthralled readers of Like Water for Chocolate. Her writing is choppy, clich?-laden and has the feel of a translation (no translator is credited). Yet it invokes chuckles and sighs, and if a reader craves more of the sweet wackiness that made the author's first book so appealing, Swift As Desire certainly delivers. Since birth, J#bilo has had a zest for life and an uncanny ability to hear the words in people's hearts before they are able to (or just didn't want to) say them. He puts his talents to good use as a telegraph operator in 1920s Mexico and falls in love with beautiful, wealthy Luz. The couple marries, has children and enjoys a heavenly existence. But something happens during their idyllic life together that drives them apart. Now, their daughter Lluvia is nursing her father as he is bedridden with Parkinson's disease. Before J#bilo dies, Lluvia desperately wants to know the cause of her parents' separation. Through Morse code, she communicates with her father and uncovers the secret nothing juicy, just a sad story that could have been avoided if the lines of communication between husband and wife had been more open. Esquivel's storytelling abilities are in top form here, and, despite its unoriginality, the novel succeeds in conveying a touching message of the power of familial and romantic love. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Adult/High School-With a touch of magical realism, and a strong dose of sensuality that almost tips over into obsession, the author of Like Water for Chocolate (Doubleday, 1992) tells a love story like no other. Teens will be transported into a different culture, and a different way of thinking and of viewing the world when they meet Jubilo Chi. When he was a young child his Mayan grandmother taught him her language, and he became the sole interpreter between his grandmother and his Spanish mother. His translations, rather than literal, seek reconciliation between the warring women and eventually their suspicion turns to love. The power of words and of unspoken messages shape Jubilo's life and lead to his career as a telegraph operator. He also embraces the Mayans' intimate connection with the universe, especially the sun, and can often discern emotions using this connection. Eventually the family leaves his grandmother and Yucat n and moves to Mexico City, and at 17, Jubilo meets 15-year-old Lucha. Their attraction is immediate and eventually they marry. Their passion is boundless, but Jubilo's job provides only the bare necessities, and Lucha's desire for the fine things turns to discontent and the source of their troubles. After two children and many years of marriage, they separate, but their daughter, Lluvia, caring for her father, now old and ill, is determined to unravel the mystery of their inability to reconcile. How she does so provides the climax to this tale of love, laughter, desire, and remorse.-Molly Connally, Kings Park Library, Fairfax County, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"'Esquivel tells the story with earthy, observant sensuality... vividly evokes universal emotions in an exotic world'" -- Jessica Mann Sunday Telegraph "'A beautiful story, rich with love, that closely examines language, communication and misunderstanding' " Punch "'A haunting and hypnotic love story'" Harpers & Queen "'It's already heralded a litany of praise...the sensuality quota is full to capacity'" Ireland on Sunday "'Laura Esquivel serves up another rich confection'" The Times

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