Laura Esquivel, Author, Jordi Castells, Illustrator, Ernesto Mestre-Reed, Translator , trans. from the Spanish by Ernestro Mestre-Reed. Atria $22.95 (191p) ISBN 978-0-7432-9033-3

Through the eyes of the historical native woman of the novel's title, Esquivel (Like Water for Chocolate ) reveals the defeat and destruction of Montezuma's 16th-century Mexicas empire at the hands of Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés. Malinche, also called Malinalli, was sold into slavery as a child and later became "The Tongue," Cortés's interpreter and lover—remembered by history as a traitor for her contribution to the brutal Spanish triumph. In her lyrical but flawed fifth novel, Esquivel details richly imagined complications for a woman trapped between the ancient Mexicas civilization and the Spaniards. Esquivel revels in descriptions of the role of ancient gods in native life and Malinalli's theological musings on the similarities between her belief system and Christianity. But what the book offers in anthropological specificity, it lacks in narrative immediacy, even while Esquivel also imagines Cortés's point of view. The author also packs the arc of Malinalli's life into a relatively short novel: she bears Cortés an illegitimate son, marries another Spaniard and has a daughter before her sad demise. The resulting disjointed storytelling gives short shrift to this complex heroine, a woman whose role in Mexican history is controversial to this day. 13-city author tour. (May)

Reviewed on: 02/27/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-4165-3588-1
Paperback - 191 pages - 978-0-7432-9035-7
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-7432-9991-6
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-84739-718-8
Hardcover - 191 pages - 978-0-7432-8571-1
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4498-9623-2
Hardcover - 189 pages - 978-0-7432-9034-0
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7435-6455-7
Paperback - 189 pages - 978-0-7432-9036-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-933499-38-3
Hardcover - 268 pages - 978-0-7862-8613-3
Compact Disc - 978-0-7435-5513-5
Paperback - 978-987-04-0363-0
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