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Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel


There's food, herbs and recipes, magic and romance, family squabbles and hints of bitter sweetness, with ghosts even; it is heartwarming as it is magical. These elements prevalent on Latin American literature always draw me in. Language aside, perhaps it is its proximity to our own culture that enables me to appreciate it as if looking on cloudy mirrors.

Tita, the youngest in the De La Garza family, is bound by tradition to remain at the ranch and take care of her mother, never to marry. She falls in love with Pedro who cannot get enough of the delicious dishes she cooks. To be close to her, Pedro marries her sister in desperation. Will their love ever prevail against all odds?

The book is magic realism in full throttle. A tall tale that precariously flits between hilarity and tragedy leaving one in a suspended disbelief. Very enjoyable to read. Each chapter starts with a recipe, a sprinkle of wisdom, and a slice of life in the Mexican culture that resonates to the unfolding story. Tita's moods affecting her cooked dishes transcends in over-the-top fashion to likewise inflict those who eats it, creating succeeding mayhem. In the outskirts of the ancestral home, the countryside is under an upheaval of its own convoluted politics.

It is a sumptuous novel graced with women of different strengths and of palpable passion, with an air of nurturing and spiritual powers that breathe life to the hearth, the heart of every home.

Summary:

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.

Title: Like Water for Chocolate
Author: Laura Esquivel
Genre: Magic Realism, Fantasy
Published: 1995
Publisher: Anchor
Rating:  (4 cups - It gives a unique flavor for readers and would most likely appeal to women with its spattering of dishes, romance, home remedies and life lessons.)

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