Swift as Desire

Swift as Desire

3.59 (2,238 ratings by Goodreads)
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Instead of entering the world crying, like other babies, Jubilo was born with a smile on his face. He had a gift for hearing what was in people's hearts, for listening to sand dunes sing and insects whisper. Even as a young boy, acting as an interpreter between his warring Mayan grandmother and Spanish-speaking mother, he would translate words of spite into words of respect, so that their mutual hatred turned to love. When he grew up, he put his gift to good use in his job as a humble telegraph operator. But now the telegraph lies abandoned, obsolete as a form of communication in the electronic age, and Don Jubilo is on his deathbed, mute and estranged from his beloved wife, Lucha, who refuses to speak to him. What tragic event has come between such two such sensuous, loving people to cause their seemingly irreparable rift? What mystery lies behind the death of the son no-one ever mentions? Can their daughter bring reconciliation to her parents before it is too late, by acting as an interpreter between them in Morse code, just as Jubilo used to do for other people? In this magical, bittersweet story, touched with graphic earthiness and wit, Laura Esquivel shows us how keeping secrets will always lead to unhappiness, and how communication is the key to love.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 128 x 192 x 16mm | 340.2g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Black Swan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0552999547
  • 9780552999540
  • 761,591

About Laura Esquivel

Laura Esquivel is one of Mexico's most celebrated writers. She now divides her time between Mexico City and New York. Originally a screenwriter, she wrote the script for the award-winning film of her first book, Like Water for Chocolate.show more

Review quote

"'Esquivel tells the story with earthy, observant sensuality... vividly evokes universal emotions in an exotic world'" -- Jessica Mann Sunday Telegraph "'A beautiful story, rich with love, that closely examines language, communication and misunderstanding' " Punch "'A haunting and hypnotic love story'" Harpers & Queen "'It's already heralded a litany of praise...the sensuality quota is full to capacity'" Ireland on Sunday "'Laura Esquivel serves up another rich confection'" The Timesshow more

Review Text

From the bestselling author of Like Water for Chocolate comes another magical fable, this time about a South American telegraph operator. Written in honour of her father Jubilio, who held the same profession, Esquivel's new story concerns one Jubilo, a boy who is born with the gift of happiness and of innately understanding people's wishes, those that often go unarticulated. It's an invaluable if unusual skill and as a boy he mends the rift between his mother and grandmother (each of whom speaks a different language) by translating what will appease rather than inflame a highly combustible situation. Later, as an adult, he often chooses to wire messages containing the unspoken desires in someone's heart rather than the more prosaic reality. It's only with his beloved wife Lucha that his uncanny intuition strangely falters and leads him into dangerous waters that threaten their relationship. As the novel begins Jubilo, now an old man, lies dying, inexplicably estranged from his wife as his daughter Lluvia tries to discover the cause of the rift between her once devoted parents. using the same methods once employed by her father, she finds that beneath a cool facade there is every reason to nurture hope and the novel's unashamedly emotional conclusion will leave few unaffected. Written in the third person. the last pages return to the intimate, first person perspective of the opening chapter as Esquivel pays affectionate homage to her own father. It's a romantic, bittersweet tale of real charm and spirituality that emphasises the importance of communication and the corrosive effect that secrets can have upon a relationship. Leavened by wit and a sensual appreciation that threads its way beguilingly through the narrative, it's a refreshingly original meditation on the way in which the world can, both literally and metaphorically, be transformed through the revelatory power of love. (Kirkus UK)show more

Back cover copy

Instead of entering the world crying, Don Jubilo was born with a smile on his face. He put his gift for hearing what was in people's hearts to good use in his job as a telegraph operator. But the telegraph is now obsolete, and Don Jubilo lies mute on his deathbed, estranged from his beloved wife. What tragic event has come between two such sensuous, loving people, to cause their seemingly irreparable rift? Can daughter Lluvia bring reconciliation by acting as an interpreter between them before it is too late? In this bittersweet novel, Laura Esquivel shows us with warmth and humour how secrets will always lead to unhappiness, and how communication is the key to love.show more

Rating details

2,238 ratings
3.59 out of 5 stars
5 20% (450)
4 34% (765)
3 32% (722)
2 12% (261)
1 2% (40)
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