30 September 1950|
Mexico City, Mexico
|Genre||Magical realism, science fiction|
In her first novel Como agua para chocolate (in English Like Water for Chocolate) released in 1989, Esquivel uses magical realism to combine the ordinary and the supernatural, with narrative devices similar to Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez and Chilean author Isabel Allende. Como agua para chocolate is set during the Mexican Revolution of the early Twentieth Century and features the importance of the kitchen and food in the life of its female protagonist, Tita, and the largely female cast of characters. The book is divided into twelve sections, each named after a month of the year, and each section begins with a traditional Mexican recipe. The chapters outline the preparation of the dish and ties the cooking to a significant event in the protagonist's life. Esquivel has stated that she believes that the kitchen is the most important part of the house and characterizes it as a source of knowledge and understanding that brings pleasure. The title Como agua para chocolate refers to a colloquial phrase used in Mexico that refers to an extremity of feeling as it refers to a boiling point in terms of anger, passion, or sexuality." The idea for the book came to Esquivel "while she was cooking the recipes of her mother and grandmother." Reportedly, "Esquivel used an episode from her own family to write her book. She had a great-aunt named Tita who was forbidden to wed and spent her life caring for her mother. Soon after her mother died, so did Tita." The book has been a tremendous international success and was the Number 1 best-selling book in Mexico for three years. The novel has been translated into more than 20 languages."
Like Water for Chocolate was developed into a film, which was released in 1994 concurrently with the book's English translation by Carol Christensen and Thomas Christensen. In the United States, Like Water for Chocolate became one of the largest grossing foreign films ever released in the US. Esquivel earned the Mexican Academy of Motion Pictures award; she received eleven in all, from Ariel Awards.
Esquivel's second novel, La ley del amor (1996, in English The Law of Love), is set predominately in twenty-third century Mexico City and combines elements of the romance and science fiction genres and repeats Esquivel's recurring "theme of romantic love, particularly love thwarted."
Her Between Two Fires (2000) featured essays on life, love, and food. Her most recent novel, Malinche (2006), "explores the life of a near mythic figure in Mexican history: the woman who served as Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez's interpreter and mistress" as he fought to overthrow the Aztecs. Reportedly, although "since the 15th century, Mexican history and folklore have interpreted her actions as traitorous to her people, in Esquivel's book, we learn of Malinche's rich cultural heritage." Esquivel characterized La Malinche as a strong woman - an ambassador and a genius. The novel includes an Aztec codex (by Jordi Castells) which acts as Malinche's own diary.
She was born the third of four children to Julio César Esquivel, a telegraph operator, and Josefa Valdés.
In March 2009 Laura Esquivel ran as preliminary candidate of the Local Council in District XXVII of Mexico City for the PRD. Her candidacy was supported by the current Izquierda Unida, which combined various PRD groups. Despite irregularities, all ballots were recovered, confirming her victory.
- Como agua para chocolate (1989) (English: Like Water for Chocolate)
- La ley del amor (1995) (English: The Law of Love)
- Íntimas suculencias (1998)
- Estrellita marinera (1999)
- El libro de las emociones (2000)
- Tan veloz como el deseo (2001) (English: Swift as Desire)
- Malinche (2006)
- A Lupita le gustaba planchar (2014)
- "Like Water for Chocolate (review)". Retrieved 2011-10-24.
- Cooking up passion the woman behind Like Water For Chocolate views the kitchen as the center of seduction for her stirring tale of love on the sly. Candice Russell. Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL). Features Arts & Leisure, Pg. 1D. April 25, 1993.
- Kitchen is home's heart for 'Chocolate' author Esquivel. Deirdre Donahue. USA Today Life; Pg. 8D. November 18, 1993.
- Biography of Laura Esquivel
- Best of the literary crop. Christy Karras. The Salt Lake Tribune. Features; Books; Entertainment; Sunday Arts. December 9, 2006.