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Malinche [compact disc]
Esquivel, Laura
Adult Fiction ESQUIVE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Through the eyes of the historical native woman of the novel's title, Esquivel (Like Water for Chocolate) reveals the defeat and destruction of Montezuma's 16th-century Mexicas empire at the hands of Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes. Malinche, also called Malinalli, was sold into slavery as a child and later became "The Tongue," Cortes's interpreter and lover-remembered by history as a traitor for her contribution to the brutal Spanish triumph. In her lyrical but flawed fifth novel, Esquivel details richly imagined complications for a woman trapped between the ancient Mexicas civilization and the Spaniards. Esquivel revels in descriptions of the role of ancient gods in native life and Malinalli's theological musings on the similarities between her belief system and Christianity. But what the book offers in anthropological specificity, it lacks in narrative immediacy, even while Esquivel also imagines Cortes's point of view. The author also packs the arc of Malinalli's life into a relatively short novel: she bears Cortes an illegitimate son, marries another Spaniard and has a daughter before her sad demise. The resulting disjointed storytelling gives short shrift to this complex heroine, a woman whose role in Mexican history is controversial to this day. 13-city author tour. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Malinche (1505-29) is infamous in Mexican history and folklore as a traitor to her people, having sacrificed her Indian heritage to become interpreter-and later, mistress-to the conquistador Hernando Cortes. Esquivel (Like Water for Chocolate) puts her own twist on the story with her imagined life of a young woman sold into slavery by her own mother and subsequently caught between the worlds of Montezuma and the Spanish conquerors. While the descriptions of Malinche's beliefs in the roles of the ancient gods and her observations on Christianity are fascinating and well written, the novel is too short to encompass the story Esquivel wants to tell us, which makes the narrative at times problematic. Raped by Cortes, Malinche comes to love him so suddenly that there is almost no transition for the reader; later, and just as quickly, she becomes enamored of another man who rapes her. Malinche, a.k.a. Malinalli and Marina, is a remarkable character who deserves more detailed treatment. Recommended with reservations for public libraries. [Malinche appeared earlier this year in Spanish.-Ed.]-Mary Margaret Benson, Linfield Coll. Lib., McMinnville, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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