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May 27, 2016

Looking Back - Like Water for Chocolate


Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.



Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies by Laura Esquivel
Fiction
1989 (English translation 1992) Anchor Books (Doubleday)
Finished on March 30, 1996
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

With more than two million copies in print, Like Water for Chocolate has taken its place alongside such beloved first novels as The Joy Luck Club and How to Make an American Quilt as a treasured part of America's literary memory.

Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit.

The number one bestseller in Mexico and America for almost two years, and subsequently a bestseller around the world, "Like Water For Chocolate" is a romantic, poignant tale, touched with moments of magic, graphic earthiness, bittersweet wit - and recipes.

A sumptuous feast of a novel, it relates the bizarre history of the all-female De La Garza family. Tita, the youngest daughter of the house, has been forbidden to marry, condemned by Mexican tradition to look after her mother until she dies. But Tita falls in love with Pedro, and he is seduced by the magical food she cooks. In desperation, Pedro marries her sister Rosaura so that he can stay close to her. For the next twenty-two years, Tita and Pedro are forced to circle each other in unconsummated passion. Only a freakish chain of tragedies, bad luck and fate finally reunite them against all the odds.

My Original Notes (1996):

Wonderful! I read it in one day! Very quick, easy and light. A happy ending, too. Some interesting mystical, almost unbelievable events or interpretations. Very well done.

Rented the video - Terrible! Dubbing instead of subtitles. Made the acting seem forced. Disappointing! 


My Current Thoughts:

This may have been my first exposure to magical realism. I still have my copy and after thumbing through a few pages, I know I can (and will!) easily read this again in a day or so. I haven't read anything else by Esquivel. Any recommendations?

10 comments:

  1. This was probably my first exposure to magical realism, too, but I don't remember much about the story. Eventually grew to dislike magical realism in general, but would like to reread this one day.

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    1. JoAnn, I can remember little snippets of the story, but I think a lot of it would feel like reading a new book, if I decide to give it another reading (which I really do plan to do!). I don't mind magical realism, but haven't really read too many other books with that device/style. I think Bless Me, Ultima was another that I read right around this time and it also had magical realism.

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  2. I don't remember much about the book but I do remember loving it when I read it way back when.

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    1. Kathy, it was certainly popular back when it was first published. I wonder if it's now taught in school.

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  3. I bet I read it just about the same time you did. That, and Bridges of Madison County are two books I really enjoyed from those days.

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    1. Nan, I really enjoyed both books, too! Amazing! :)

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  4. I think it was my first exposure to magical realism, too, something I very much needed to grasp Japanese literature. Like you, I loved it, and could reread it again any day if there weren't others pressing on me. Oh dear, the joys and sorrows of being a book blogger.

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    1. Meredith, we'll have to save this one for a re-read together someday. I think we could do it over a weekend, quite easily. Maybe this winter...

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  5. I've always had a problem with magical realism. For the most part, I don't care for it but some authors do it so well that I can make exceptions. Might have to check this out.

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    1. Lisa, I don't mind magical realism if it's done well. Rudolfo Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima is another that I enjoyed.

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