Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Malinche by Laura Esquivel

Malinche by Laura Esquivel tells the story of Malinalli, a young Native American woman who becomes the translator, or "Tongue", and lover of Hernan Cortés. The story itself is quite interesting, but I found the quality of the writing patchy. Esquivel tells the story with a great deal of spiritual or mystical language that, at times, is distracting to the narrative. However, at other times, the language is strikingly beautiful:

All birds take their shape from fire, the grandmother said as the dry branches burned. Thought also has its origin in fire. The tongues of flame pronounce words as cold and exact as the fieriest truth that lips can utter. Remember that words can remake the universe. Any time that you feel confused, watch the fire and offer it your mind.

As to their divine character, words transformed in the empty space in the mouth into the center of Creation, repeating there the same act with which the universe had been made, by uniting the feminine and the masculine principles into one. ...The mouth, as feminine principle, as empty space, as cavity, was the best place for words to be engendered. And the tongue, as masculine principle, sharp, pointed, phallic, was one to introduce the created word, that universe of information, into the minds in order to be fertilized.

The search for the gods is the search for oneself. And where do we find ourselves? In the water, in the air, in the fire, in the earth.


1 comment:

bethany said...

I've read Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate. This one on Malinche has really been calling my name, since I have always been intregued by the person Malinche and why she did what she did.