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
From Publishers Weekly
The princess of modern Latin literature (second only to Isabel Allende) has written yet another quirky and sensual story with a moralistic twist, its cute-as-can-be characters arguing and loving with equal passion. But Esquivel's fourth novel lacks that certain something that enthralled readers of Like Water for Chocolate. Her writing is choppy, clich-laden and has the feel of a translation (no translator is credited). Yet it invokes chuckles and sighs, and if a reader craves more of the sweet wackiness that made the author's first book so appealing, Swift As Desire certainly delivers. Since birth, J£bilo has had a zest for life and an uncanny ability to hear the words in people's hearts before they are able to (or just didn't want to) say them. He puts his talents to good use as a telegraph operator in 1920s Mexico and falls in love with beautiful, wealthy Luz. The couple marries, has children and enjoys a heavenly existence. But something happens during their idyllic life together that drives them apart. Now, their daughter Lluvia is nursing her father as he is bedridden with Parkinson's disease. Before J£bilo dies, Lluvia desperately wants to know the cause of her parents' separation. Through Morse code, she communicates with her father and uncovers the secret nothing juicy, just a sad story that could have been avoided if the lines of communication between husband and wife had been more open. Esquivel's storytelling abilities are in top form here, and, despite its unoriginality, the novel succeeds in conveying a touching message of the power of familial and romantic love.
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