When Malinalli, a member of the tribe conquered by the Aztec warriors, first meets Cortés, she -- like many -- believes that he is the reincarnated forefather god of her tribe. Naturally, she assumes that her task is to help Cortés destroy the Aztec empire and free her people. The two fall passionately in love, but Malinalli gradually comes to realize that Cortés's thirst for conquest is all too human. He is willing to destroy anyone, even his own men, even their own love.
Throughout Mexican history, Malinalli has been reviled for her betrayal of the Indian people. However, recent historical research has shown that her role was much more complex; she was the mediator between two cultures, Hispanic and Native American, and two languages, Spanish and Náhuatl.
"The resulting disjointed storytelling gives short shrift to this complex heroine, a woman whose role in Mexican history is controversial to this day." - PW.
"This novel is not as accessible as Esquivel's earlier work, and the quality of the prose is uneven, sometimes lyrical and sometimes stilted." - Booklist.
"Despite its lyricism, this odd marriage of spirituality and psychology will be a slog for all but the most devoted New Agers." - Kirkus.
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Laura Esquivel was born in Mexico City in 1950. Her first novel, Like Water for Chocolate, has sold more than four and a half million copies around the world and remained on the New York Times bestseller list for more than a year. She currently lives in Mexico.
Laura Esquivel: ess-qui-vell
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