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Like Water for Chocolate Hardcover – 1989

4.2 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Doubleday (1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385420161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385420167
  • ASIN: B007CGRI46
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 13.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,510,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a great fan of magical realism, having read a lot of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Joanne Harris, Louis de Bernieres and Isabel Allende, which is why I really thought I would love this book. And I did, up to a point. It is frivolous, fanciful and feminine, an exaggarated examination of the connection between our emotions, the food we eat and the people closest to us. As such, it is lovely. Esquivel does not hold back - The food is described almost as a living, mythical thing, and the process of making it is more like alchemy than cookery. Her principle is that in cooking a meal you have a venue through which your emotions are concentrated and expressed - Sadness, anger, jealousy, lust and of course, love, the ultimate goal. The recipes are mouthwatering, the characters are vivid and the atmosphere is intense and infectous.

But I still found myself closing the book with reservations. First of all, I found the language a little naive and simple at times, but this might be down to whatever was lost in translation. What bothered me more was the idea of this eternal hunt for love, which I found rather old-fashioned, and I did not connect with it. This might be because 'love' seemed to equate 'marriage', and also because we were repeatedly told that to live without having experienced love was to not have lived at all. Maybe I'm too modern for my own good, but I like to think there is a romantic inside me somewhere that enjoys these kinds of unrealistic, pretty notions. I guess the old fashioned, fairy-tale-esque tone (Finding the man of your dreams, marrying him, having perfect, earth-shattering sex and living happily ever after) seemed a little silly to me.
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Format: Paperback
A passionate story of love, heartbreak and family. The plot is magically woven around the kitchen. This is a book of recipies, love and life put together in a way which was totally unexpected. The story is quite surreal in parts which was a delight and refreshingly different.
I dont like to use the word romance in fear of putting you off. There is so much more to this novel. If your a 'foodie' like me then you'll love it. If you enjoy the slighty romantic notion of family dinners round the open fire. If you love the smell of someone cooking somthing wonderful as you walk through your front door then your going to really enjoy this. Its not all idyllic though, there was enough passion and anger and suspense to let me finish it in two days !
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By A Customer on 23 May 1999
Format: Paperback
Each chapter begins with the details for a wonderful Mexican dish. However, as the food is prepared by a passionate young woman, a tear or a drop of blood or alike transfers her feelings to the meal. The results on the guests are spectacular. Best suited to romantic food lovers.
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Format: Paperback
I was introduced to this book whilst working on the set of a student film production in Wales. Usually tedious affairs, filled with mind-numbingly long waits, Like Water for Chocolate gripped my imagination and anchored itself to me like a limpitt; I read it in a day. I would reccommend this book to any would-be romantics and foodies alike. The culinary similies and metaphores are a feast in themselves, and make for mouth-watering reading. I would not describe myself as a whimsical daydreamer, but this book relieved my boredom and transported me to a realm of magic and intrigue, flowing effortlessly from chapter to chapter as if part of the ebb and tide of the sea. Essential is not the word for it. Try ummissable.
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Format: Paperback
Just fantastic - this book always stays in the mind. I rate this as highly as Joanne Harris's 'Chocolat', Patrick Suskind's 'Perfume' and Isabel Allende's 'Paula'. If you like the lyrical, evocative text of these writers, you'll absolutely love this too. And the film is excellent if you ever get chance to see it.
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Format: Paperback
I was enticed to read this book purely because of the title, and it turned out to be one of the most well rounded, enjoyabel pieces of fiction I have ever read.
This book focuses on the love between Pedro and Tita, and the years apart they have to endure. It is interwoven with recipies and magical interludes. It is impossible to ever descripe this book, but I would recommend it to anyone, and encourage them to read it now. 'Like Water for chocolate' leaves you feeling warm, uplifted and full of hope.
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Format: Kindle Edition
A magical realism novel, apparently immensely popular in the author’s native Mexico.

The Magical Realism (MR) context makes this a difficult book to appraise, given that the normal aspects of novels, such as narrative flow, characterisation, character development, etc are absent. The book is in 12 parts, one for each month, and in each chapter a particular dish is linked to an incident in the life of the main character, Tita, whose emotions are invested in the dishes she makes.

The book takes place over some 25 years.

The device of hanging the narrative on a monthly dish is reasonable enough, though there is too much detail in the recipes and in the food preparation, and it’s sometimes like reading a cookery book. Otherwise the book was weak. The reader is expected to suspend his disbelief for the entire length of the book, and it quickly becomes wearisome. The symbolism is heavy-handed and juvenile.

It seems weird that we are told so little about the main characters - what’s Pedro like? we know nothing about him. Why should we care about him? Gertrudis - MR or not, we deserve something less cartoonish in the main character’s sister.

I tried to read this book having gained some sort of understanding of MR, but I found myself continually exasperated by the laziness of the author, who just seems to make it up as she goes along, and introduces, kills off and reintroduces characters whenever she feels like it. I’ve read other MR books, and quite enjoyed The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (though not 100 years of Solitude). Allende and Marquez put a lot more effort into their works in my view. In the House of the Spirits the MR is an occasional irritation and does not detract seriously from the book as a whole.
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