This is a combination of myth and sensual realism, in a love story where a Mexican telegraph operator sets the world to rights by benevolently mistranslating messages.
Jubilo seems to have had every virtue: as son, father and friend, his gifts of communication, generosity and warmth were legion. And if his characterisation as husband leans rather too heavily on adoringly possessive Latin who makes love like a divine demon--well, let's overlook the stereotyping. His passion for his wife Lucha and their two children, his dedication to his work as a telegraph operator and his general bon vivance made him a man for all worlds. And yet, and yet... a photograph found by chance leads Lluvia to the heart of the matter.
Esquivel's frequent, interspersed reflections and observations, intruding on the narrative flow, tilt towards the trite and obvious, and are often surprisingly clumsily expressed. But the award-winning author of the bestselling Like Water for Chocolate presents her characters with such affection and zest, and such bountiful sensuality, that the book's shortcomings can be overlooked. --Ruth Petrie
The storey follows the life of Don Jublio, who has the gift of commumication. From words, he could hear true message behind it all and so would often dabble in the lives of others as a diplomat on matters of love, bringing people back together.
As he lies on his death bed we learn how his loving relationship with his wife was destroyed and how his daughter tries to reconcile them both before it is too late.
I often read paragraphs 2 or 3 times, to think about the meaning of what was written or to enjoy the poeticness of the words. Here is one example.
'Love is a verb. One demonstrates one's love through one's actions. And a person can only feel loved when someone else shows their love with kisses, hugs, caresses and gifts. A lover will always promote the physical and emotional well-being of the person he loves.'
Esquivel continues with examples of the above.
'So we see that the verb to love can be conjugated in two ways. By hugging and kissing, or by supplying material goods'
It's a great read, which stirs up a wide range of emotions inside you.
Júbilo is part Mayan Indian, part Spanish, and learns at an early age to translate for his Spanish mother and Mayan grandmother, thus bringing them together for the first time. Júbilo has this effect on everyone, an ability to mediate and communicate, or as the narrator, his daughter Lluvia says 'his words are pure alchemy.'
He becomes a telegraph operator, and codes, signs and the conducting of messages, and electricity became metaphors for Laura's theme of the importance of communication and the transforming power of words. Beautifully life affirming, with all the exotic attraction of its Mexican setting.
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