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Swift as Desire by Laura Esquivel

Swift as Desire (2001)

by Laura Esquivel

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A moving tale about Jubilo, a man with a gift for hearing and for communication who works as a telegraph operator and how he loses the ability to communicate with the wife he loves. As he is ill and dying his gift for seeing in to people's hearts becomes apparent in his daughter. A vivid story with lively characters that tells how important communication is. ( )
  Tifi | Apr 15, 2016 |
found today 8/2/2013 1 of 20 books for $10
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
Swift as Desire focuses on Lluvia, a middle aged mother desperately trying to replay her entire life in order to understand her parents’ mutual anger for one another. Júbilo, her father, was born with an unmatched ability to communicate and understand through feeling rather than words, but is now confined to a bed and unable to speak due to Parkinson’s. Lluvia’s mother Lucha was a privileged beauty who gave up everything in order to marry Júbilo, but has now become cold and calculating. The story finds Lluvia desperate to understand her parents’ past and reconcile them before her father’s imminent death.

The story skips around in time, leaving the reader on edge throughout the entire book. The characters develop smoothly, and leave a deep impression. Nothing is as it seems with the family, which makes an unforgettable read. If readers are looking for another Like Water for Chocolate, they won’t find it here. Instead, they will find a brutally honest look into the closed doors of a marital relationship and a couple falling apart. It should be noted that the characters are both loveable and hateable- sometimes simultaneously! If you can get past their (sometimes) annoying exteriors, some good can be found in all. ( )
  LaurenAileen | Dec 28, 2010 |
A tribute to her telegraph operator father, Esquivel's novel about Jubilo, gifted with the ability to hear more than just the words that people say, and his wife and daughter, this doesn't compare to her famous Like Water for Chocolate. Jubilo lies blind, incapacitated by severe Parkinson's Disease and dying. His daughter Lluvia, in whose home he is, brings his friends in to try and entertain her father and in so doing, uncovers the reason why her two very passionate parents haven't been speaking to each other since before her birth. Jubilo and Lucha led a turbulent life with each other, complicated by the fact that Jubilo's second sense about people failed him at crucial times with his wife. The story of Jubilo's life, especially after meeting Lucha, is alternated with his present and his daughter's careful caretaking. Uncovering the mystery that drove her parents apart and helping them to repair their hearts before Jubilo dies is part of what drives Lluvia as she bustles around her father's bedside.

Unfortunately the writing here is choppy and lackluster and it takes a real effort for the reader to continue along with the storyline. The mystery itself isn't alluded to until quite a ways into the story and still isn't compelling enough to make the pages turn quickly. Lucha as a character is a rotten, whiny, spoiled brat and there's little to no explanation as to why she would be so appealing to Jubilo and to other men around her. Jubilo as a character is gifted with his almost magical powers (more a heightened sensitivity) and yet Esquivel doesn't choose to show him using this intuition much at all and refers to it most only when it fails him, which makes his character feel more allegorical than real. There are plot lines that seem as if they should be major themes but they peter out for lack of life. All in all, this was a disappointment. ( )
  whitreidtan | Dec 18, 2009 |
An okay novel about love and understanding through communication. Júbilo is a telegraph operator with the ability to read/see and interpret other people's thoughts and feelings. Júbilo realizes that this is a gift tthat will help to make peoples lives better and drastically improves the relationship between his mother and paternal grandmother. Unfortunately, his gift did not always work in his favor as is apparent in his relationship with his wife which is steamy yet has its moments of turbulence. The book has many slow parts that made it hard for me to continue reading, it took me almost a full week and its only 200 pages. ( )
  JulieQ | Jun 13, 2008 |
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In memory of my father, Julio Cesar Esquivel
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He was born happy and on a holiday.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0609608703, Hardcover)

Laura Esquivel's Swift as Desire, an enchanting and sensuous romance, reflects upon an undying love and the will to overcome an unspeakable tragedy. As in her bestselling novel Like Water for Chocolate, Swift as Desire is rich with metaphor, coated with magic, and very much about the power of desire. Júbilo, a telegraph operator blessed (or cursed) with the ability to hear what people feel, radiates joy from his birth. He spends his life mediating for others and salvaging their relationships, until disaster strikes his own life and causes him to question, even loathe, his supernatural gift.

He who knew that no matter how quiet the air was, there were always hearts beating, planets spinning in the heavens, bodies breathing, plants growing; and all producing sounds, but he hadn't heard anything! He hadn't heard anything!

Writing the novel as a tribute to her father (himself, a telegraph operator), Esquivel integrates her belief in the power of words. Swift as Desire is an engaging and enjoyable story that anyone with the slightest interest in a sensually romantic novel will find quite desirable, indeed. --Yvonne Schindler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:11 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Instead of entering the world crying like other babies, Jubilo was born with a smile on his face. He had a gift for hearing what was in people's hearts, for listening to sand dunes sing and insects whisper. Even as a young boy, acting as an interpreter between his warring Mayan grandmother and his Spanish-speaking mother, he would translate words of spite into words of respect, so that their mutual hatred turned to love. When he grew up, he put his gift to good use in his job as a humble telegraph operator. But now the telegraph lies abandoned, obsolete as a form of communication in the electronic age, and Jubilo is on his deathbed, mute and estranged from his beloved wife, Lucha, who refuses to speak to him. What tragic event has come between two such sensuous, loving people to cause their seemingly irreparable rift? What mystery lies behind the death of the son no one ever mentions? Can their daughter bring reconciliation to her parents before it is too late, by acting as an interpreter between them, just as Jubilo used to do for other people?… (more)

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