cover image Tan Veloz Como El Deseo: Una Novela

Tan Veloz Como El Deseo: Una Novela

Laura Esquivel. Anchor Books, $13.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-385-72163-9

Mexican author Esquivel is best known for the stupendous success of her first novel, the charmingly erotic, recipe-filled Como agua como chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate, Anchor, 2001. reprint), which was spun into a profitable magic realist Hollywood film. The author, who started her career as a screenwriter, seems to love working with various forms of media; she included a CD of ambient music with her second novel, La ley del amor (The Law of Desire, Random House Espanol, 1997). Her third novel, an examination of estranged love, is a welcome improvement over the New Age theme of its not-so-successful predecessor. Here, Esquivel turns down the otherworldliness a notch and explores the old-fashioned poetics of love and communication one of the characters tells his love story with an archaic telegraph hooked up to a computer. While Chocolate's story is about a daughter's relationship with her mother, Tan veloz's narrator Lluvia pours her heart out about her father Jubilo, who has Parkinson's disease and has lost his ability to speak. Trying to figure out what went wrong in her parents' marriage, she discovers her mother had sacrificed her upper-class status in a rush to lose her virginity by marrying the literally magnetic Jubilo, an aspiring telegraphist and simple man with Mayan blood who can sense people's electrical energies. He willfully gives part of his soul with each tapped message he sends and loves a job that doesn't produce enough to satisfy his wife's material needs. In an effort to make some quick money for a desperate friend, Jubilo wins a high-stakes poker game with the evil and rich Don Pedro, whose vengeance thwarts the couple's love. Esquivel's quirky voice is reminiscent of Judy Blume's blushing-adolescent erotica but transforms that style into an elegantly adult one. The rich setting of earthy Mexico as a backdrop for a family's love-gone-wrong story makes for a smooth, simple read for devotees of a quality romance. Recommended for all bookstores and public libraries. Adriana Lopez, ""Criticas""