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Laura Esquivel

Laura Esquivel Laura Esquivel[1†]

Laura Beatriz Esquivel Valdés (born September 30, 1950) is a celebrated Mexican novelist, screenwriter, and politician. Her renowned debut novel "Like Water for Chocolate" achieved bestseller status in Mexico and the United States, later adapted into an award-winning film.Esquivel's narrative style, akin to magical realism, intertwines ordinary life with the supernatural, reminiscent of fellow Latin American authors. Beyond literature, she served in Mexico's Chamber of Deputies from 2015 to 2018[1†][2†][3†].

Early Years and Education

Laura Beatriz Esquivel Valdés was born on September 30, 1950, in Cuauhtémoc, Mexico City, Mexico[1†][2†]. She was raised in a middle-class family[1†][2†]. Her father was a telegraph operator[1†][4†].

Esquivel began her educational journey by training as a teacher[1†][4†]. She received a teaching degree from the Escuela Normal de Maestros[1†][2†]. During her early career, she worked as an elementary teacher, where she began to write, particularly developing materials for children to perform[1†][4†].

She is qualified in Pre-School Education (1996-1968), as an Instructor of Theatre Workshops and Children’s Literature (1997), Script Assessment in Tlaxcala and Oaxaca (1998 - 2002) and as an Instructor of Workshops of Writing Laboratories in Oaxaca, Michoacán and Spain (1999)[1†]. These qualifications and experiences laid the foundation for her future career in writing and screenwriting[1†].

Esquivel also studied Theatre and Dramatic Creation at the Centro de Arte Dramático A.C. (CADAC), specializing in Children’s Theatre[1†]. This experience further honed her creative skills and deepened her understanding of storytelling[1†].

Career Development and Achievements

Laura Esquivel began her career as a kindergarten teacher, where she wrote plays for her students[5†][6†]. This experience sparked her interest in writing and led her to write for children’s television programs during the 1970s and 1980s[5†][7†][5†][6†]. Her work in television motivated her to dedicate herself to writing scripts for cinema[5†][1†].

In 1983, she founded the Centro de Invención Permanente and took on its technical direction[5†][1†]. This center was dedicated to the creation of innovative content, further enhancing Esquivel’s creative skills[5†][1†].

Esquivel’s breakthrough came in 1989 with the release of her novel “Like Water for Chocolate” (“Como agua para chocolate”)[5†][1†]. The novel became a bestseller in Mexico and the United States and was later developed into an award-winning film[5†][1†][7†]. The novel is structured as a year of monthly issues of an old-style women’s magazine containing recipes, home remedies, and love stories[5†][1†]. Each chapter opens with the redaction of a traditional Mexican recipe followed by instructions for preparation[5†][1†]. Each recipe recalls to the narrator a significant event in the protagonist’s life[5†][1†].

Esquivel’s novels often explore the relationship between men and women in Mexico, and she uses magical realism to combine the ordinary and the supernatural[5†][1†]. Her work reflects the influences of other Latin American authors such as Alejo Carpentier, Gabriel García Márquez, and Isabel Allende[5†][1†].

In addition to her literary career, Esquivel also served in the LXIII Legislature of the Mexican Congress in the Chamber of Deputies for the Morena Party from 2015 to 2018[5†][1†]. Her political career demonstrates her commitment to public service and her desire to make a positive impact on society[5†][1†].

First Publication of Her Main Works

Laura Esquivel’s literary career took off with the publication of her first novel, “Como agua para chocolate” (Like Water for Chocolate) in 1989[8†][1†]. This novel became a bestseller in Mexico and the United States, and was later developed into an award-winning film[8†][1†]. The novel is structured as a year of monthly issues of an old-style women’s magazine containing recipes, home remedies, and love stories[8†][1†]. Each chapter opens with the redaction of a traditional Mexican recipe followed by instructions for preparation[8†][1†].

Here are some of her main works:

Each of these works has contributed significantly to her reputation as a leading figure in contemporary Latin American literature[8†][1†][11†][10†][9†].

Analysis and Evaluation

Laura Esquivel’s work is characterized by a unique blend of magical realism, historical context, and deep emotional resonance[12†]. Her novels often intertwine the ordinary and the supernatural, creating a rich tapestry of narratives that captivate readers[12†].

Her first novel, “Like Water for Chocolate”, is a prime example of her distinctive style. The novel mixes the history of the Mexican Revolution, relations between the United States and Mexico, and the magical realism of the passionate recipes of the heroine, Tita de la Garza[12†]. This hybrid form of storytelling resulted in a novel of enduring popularity that continues to be taught in high school and college literature classes in Spanish or in translation[12†].

Esquivel’s second novel, “The Law of Love”, is considered the first multimedia novel[12†]. The setting spans from the sixteenth century Mexico of Hernán Cortés’s conquest of the Aztecs to the twenty-third century future in the same location[12†]. The novel combines romance with Mexican and Mesoamerican culture and science fiction, more magic than Magical Realism[12†]. Though the story and structure are highly imaginative, the complicated plot may try the reader’s patience and credulity[12†].

Her third novel, “Swift as Desire”, takes a magical approach to the telegraph[12†]. The protagonist, who is of Mayan Indian heritage, has an uncanny ability to understand other people’s unexpressed feelings[12†]. As he lies dying, he is unable to speak, so his daughter uses a telegraph and Morse code to communicate with her father[12†]. The novel is both a testament to Esquivel’s father and a panegyric to a technology that was as revolutionary in its day as the Internet was in the late twentieth century[12†].

Esquivel’s novel “Malinche” was produced at the suggestion of Santillana, a Mexican publishing company[12†]. Malinche, also known as Malintzin or Doña Marina, was Aztec booty given as a gift to Hernán Cortés to be his slave[12†]. She served as his interpreter for his dealings with the Aztecs, and thus was an indispensable component of the Spanish conquest of Mexico[12†]. Malinche is considered the mother of the Mexican race because of the son she produced as a result of her liaison with Cortés, but she is also considered a traitor to the nation’s indigenous people because of her liaison with the enemy and her assistance in the domination of native tribes[12†].

Esquivel’s works have significantly contributed to her reputation as a leading figure in contemporary Latin American literature[12†][13†][14†].

Personal Life

Laura Beatriz Esquivel Valdés was born the third of four children to Julio César Esquivel, a telegraph operator, and Josefa Valdés, a homemaker[1†][15†]. She grew up in Mexico with three siblings[1†][16†]. Her father’s death in 1999 was the inspiration for her novel "Tan veloz como el deseo"[1†].

Esquivel has been married twice. Her first marriage was to the actor, director, and producer, Alfonso Arau[1†][10†][15†]. The two collaborated in several film productions[1†][10†]. She was married to Arau from 1975 to 1995[1†][16†]. She currently lives in Mexico City with her current husband[1†][10†].

Esquivel’s personal life has greatly influenced her writing. The idea for her novel “Como agua para chocolate” came to Esquivel "while she was cooking the recipes of her mother and grandmother"[1†]. Reportedly, "Esquivel used an episode from her own family to write her book. She had a great-aunt named Tita who was forbidden to wed and spent her life caring for her mother"[1†].

Conclusion and Legacy

Laura Esquivel’s work has had a significant impact on contemporary literature, particularly in the realm of magical realism[1†]. Her novel “Como agua para chocolate” has been translated into thirty-five languages and has sold over 4.5 million copies worldwide[1†][17†]. This novel, along with her subsequent works, has contributed to what is known as the Mexican boom femenino[1†][17†].

Esquivel’s unique narrative style, which combines the ordinary and the supernatural, has been compared to that of other prominent Latin American authors such as Alejo Carpentier, Gabriel García Márquez, and Isabel Allende[1†]. Her work often explores themes related to Hispanic culture and traditions, particularly the cuisine and family traditions in Mexico[1†][18†].

In addition to her literary contributions, Esquivel has also made significant contributions to Mexican politics. She served in the LXIII Legislature of the Mexican Congress in the Chamber of Deputies for the Morena Party from 2015 to 2018[1†].

Esquivel’s work continues to be studied and appreciated for its rich exploration of culture, tradition, and the human experience. Her legacy is one of creativity, passion, and dedication to both her craft and her community[1†][17†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Wikipedia (English) - Laura Esquivel [website] - link
  2. eNotes - Laura Esquivel Biography [website] - link
  3. don Quijote - Laura Esquivel - Mexican Writers [website] - link
  4. The Modern Novel - Laura Esquivel [website] - link
  5. Popular Networth - Laura Esquivel - Net Worth 2022/2021, Salary, Age, Bio, Family, Career [website] - link
  6. Biography Gist - Laura Esquivel- Wiki, Age, Height, Net Worth, Husband (Updated on February 2024) [website] - link
  7. Biography - Laura Esquivel [website] - link
  8. Goodreads - Author: Books by Laura Esquivel (Author of Like Water for Chocolate) [website] - link
  9. Encyclopedia.com - Esquivel, Laura [website] - link
  10. SunSigns - Laura Esquivel Biography, Life, Interesting Facts [website] - link
  11. Penguin Random House - Laura Esquivel [website] - link
  12. eNotes - Laura Esquivel Critical Essays [website] - link
  13. Iris Publishers - Food Anthropology and National Identity in Mexico,

Analysis of the Literary Work of Laura Esquivel [website] - link 14. Academia - Food Anthropology and National Identity in Mexico, Analysis of the Literary Work of Laura Esquivel [website] - link 15. Encyclopedia.com - Esquivel, Laura 1950- [website] - link 16. Famous Birthdays - Laura Esquivel - Age, Family, Bio [website] - link 17. Cambridge University Press - A Companion to Latin American Women Writers - Chapter: Laura Esquivel (1950– ) (Chapter 13) [website] - link 18. IvyPanda - Essay Example - Hispanic Culture in "Como Agua Para Chocolate" - 956 Words [website] - link

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