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Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Like Water For Chocolate (original 1989; edition 1994)

by Laura Esquivel

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,372175371 (3.86)425
Title:Like Water For Chocolate
Authors:Laura Esquivel
Info:Anchor (1994), Unknown Binding
Collections:no longer own, Read
Tags:Fiction, Cooking

Work details

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (1989)

  1. 50
    The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (krizia_lazaro)
  2. 10
    The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry (ReadHanded)
    ReadHanded: Food, recipes, and magic realism
  3. 10
    Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai (MaidMeri)
    MaidMeri: Desai's book is a much, much lighter read, but like Esquivel's, full of trivial yet delightful details and sub-plots. Other similarities include cooking, being repressed by one's family and eccentric, strong female characters.
  4. 10
    Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses by Isabel Allende (rhigueras)
  5. 21
    Chocolat by Joanne Harris (infiniteletters)
  6. 00
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Becchanalia)
    Becchanalia: A breathtakingly rich masterpiece following 7 generations of the Buendía family in a fictional Colombian town bursting with magical realism.
  7. 00
    The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (DetailMuse)
  8. 00
    The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister (DetailMuse)
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    Lovesick by Angeles Mastretta (chrisharpe)
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    The Flamenco Academy: A Novel by Sarah Bird (persky)
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    The River Midnight by Lilian Nattel (starfishian)
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    Magic Spells by Christy Yorke (infiniteletters)
  13. 00
    The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea (starfishian)
  14. 01
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  15. 01
    Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan (Becchanalia)

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» See also 425 mentions

English (154)  Spanish (12)  Dutch (4)  Norwegian (1)  Italian (1)  Piratical (1)  German (1)  All languages (174)
Showing 1-5 of 154 (next | show all)
I’ve never been inspired by novels written either by South American authors or set in South America. However, Esquivel is Mexican, and as that’s very definitely part of North America, she didn’t fall far enough south for me to approach this novel with foreboding. Reading the first few pages was enough to make me realise that there’s enough originality here to inspire me to keep going.

By interweaving cooking and romance, Esquivel has definitely done something different. But while the style of the novel was original, the plot was as predictable as any Latino novel you may care to name: this is the story of Tita and the lifelong lust (sorry) love she has for a man who she is not married to.

Now, either I’m wrong about love and it is all about sex after all, or even Nobel Laureates like Garcia Marquez are selling us a huge lie. The only character in this novel who displays what I equate with love is a doctor who not only physically rescues Tita from domestic abuse, but is the only man who treats her with courtesy, respect and tenderness.

While Tita thinks this is all very well and allows a certain fondness to develop for Dr. John, she can’t help feeling that a quick grope in the scullery with Pedro is actually what life is worth living for. This seems about as shallow as relationships can get for me, but Esquivel (and Garcia Marquez in particular) portray this as the epitome of love. So much so that Pedro ends up dying in the act, a kind of symbolic sacrifice of himself to sex.

Along the way however, Esquivel writes well and interweaves elements of magic realism into the story in very approachable ways for those who might not be ready for the full-blown (un)reality of Ben Okri or Toni Morrison. There’s a lot of symbolism throughout and, if you’re into cookery, you’re going to love the way that every one of the 12 sections opens with a recipe the preparation of which leads into the story and forms part of the narrative. ( )
  arukiyomi | Jul 25, 2015 |
A page turner right from the start.
This book grabbed me and did not let go untill I had read the last page. Nearly read it in one sitting, if I hadn't had to eat.

Why was it such an interesting book? I'm not sure. It was not so much about the recipes for me, but more the unusualness of the book in total. It gave an insight in Mexican life, traditions and cooking, but also showed the harshness.
It was a story about love, loss, hate, sacrifices. Ususally the kind of story I avoid, because I dislike women's ficction, chicklit, romance, whatever you call it. But this one was good. I especially liked the extra power Tita's feelings gave to the food she was preparing. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Apr 4, 2015 |
Scrumptious and sensuous. Evocatively crafted. Esquivel has a tendency to explain glaringly obvious symbolism (i.e., as I wring the life out of this quail, so does my mother wring the life out of me) and her magical realism is a wee bit over-the-top, but this novel has earned every bit of its stellar reputation on both sides of the border. The weaving of the details of cooking with the drama of family life is nothing short of brilliant. ( )
  JMlibrarian | Mar 3, 2015 |
Fiction, Love Story
  SOCALibrary | Feb 24, 2015 |
In turn-of-the-century Mexico, fifteen-year-old Josefita de la Garza - nicknamed Tita - lives on the family ranch with her mother Mama Elena, and her two older sisters - Rosaura and Gertrudis. According to family tradition, Tita - as the youngest daughter of an affluent rancher - must never marry but stay home and take care of her mother until she dies. For Tita, this family tradition is restricting and very old-fashioned - but as much as she hates it, Tita is still bound by that tradition. Instead, she turns all her pent-up desire toward cooking - expressing herself through the food that she prepares.

When Tita falls in love with her next door neighbor Pedro - and he with her - Tita's tyrannical mother steps in and invokes family tradition, denying Pedro's request for her youngest daughter's hand in marriage. Instead, Mama Elena offers Pedro the hand of her daughter Rosaura and, in order to stay close to Tita, Pedro accepts her offer. And so the story spans the next twenty-two years, detailing Tita and Pedro's unconsummated passion for each other; as well as their bittersweet and complicated romance.

I must say that I debated with myself whether or not to read this, but in the end I'm so glad that I chose to read it. Mareena had gotten the book for me as a 'just because' gift for July of 2012 - but having watched the 1992 movie with one of her friends a while ago - she wasn't too sure if I would actually want to read it. So, the book languished on my TBR pile for a little over two years.

I actually enjoyed this book very much. I found that the story was whimsical and almost fairytale-like in places. It was really quite captivating to me, and I give this book an A+! ( )
  moonshineandrosefire | Dec 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 154 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (35 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laura Esquivelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Christensen, CarolTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Christensen, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mendelaar, FrancineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pernu, SannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peteri, HarriëtTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To the table or to bed
You must come when you are bid.
First words
Take care to chop the onion fine.
"The truth! The truth! Look, Tita, the simple truth is that the truth does not exist; it all depends on a person's point of view."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The original Spanish title was “Como agua para chocolate”.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038542017X, Paperback)

Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in tum-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:28 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

With more than two million copies in print, this beloved novel has become a treasured part of America's literary memory. Now, for the first time, this "tall-tale, fairy-tale, soap opera romance, Mexican cookbook, and home-remedy handbook all rolled into one" (San Francisco Chronicle) is available in trade paper with the original art from the hardcover.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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