Outstanding essayists in Latin American literature and film explore Laura Esquivels critical reputation, contextualise her work in literary movements, and consider her four novels and the film based on Like Water for Chocolate from diverse critical perspectives. The Editor's "An Introduction to Esquivel Criticism" reviews twenty-years of global praise and condemnation. Elena Poniatowska, in an essay provided in the original Spanish and in translation, reflects on her first reading of Like Water for Chocolate. From unique critical perspectives, Jeffrey Oxford, Patrick Duffey, and Debra Andrist probe the novel as film and fiction. The Reverend Dr Stephen Butler Murray explores the author's spiritual focus, and cultural geographer Maria Elena Christie uses words and images to compare Mexican kitchen-space and Esquivel's first novel. Elizabeth Coonrod Martinez and Lydia H Rodriguez affirm divergent readings of The Law of Love, and Elizabeth M Willingham reads contested national identity in Swift as Desire. Jeanne L Gillespie and Ryan F Long approach Malinche: A Novel through historical documents and popular and religious culture.
In the closing essay of the volume, Alberto Julian Perez contextualises Esquivel's fiction within Feminist and Hispanic literary movements. A glossary and translations recommend the work to English-speaking readers and those new to studies of Hispanic fiction and film. This book is the first in-depth review and assessment of twenty years of Esquivel criticism. The comparative and theoretical views presented of each of Esquivel's four novels and the film of Like Water for Chocolate provide suggestions for future literary research.
Elizabeth M Willingham is Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages at Baylor University (Waco, Texas). She has published on Latin American womens fiction, Laura Esquivels fiction, Medical Humanities, Historical Language, and medieval Miracle and Arthurian literature. She has served as president and executive director of the Southwest Council of Latin American Studies.