Friday, April 28, 2006

Laura Esquivel on La Malinche

Her new book, "Malinche," follows the relationship between La Malinche, or Malinalli as she is called in the book, and Spanish explorer Hernan Cortez, who uses Malinalli as his translator in his quest to overthrow the Aztec emperor Moctezuma and then tosses her aside after conquering Mexico. Hurt and disillusioned, Malinalli discovers true love with Cortez's lieutenant and eventually even forgives Cortez.

Like her previous books, "Malinche" is full of love and longing, with the same plain language that makes for a quick read but at times betrays the author's origins in television.

The book is also something new for Esquivel, serving as a political and historical text. As Cortez's translator, La Malinche has often been called the ultimate traitor, yet her role in Mexican history is more nuanced, Esquivel maintains.

"She is a person who we have yet to judge fairly," Esquivel says, adding that it wasn't hard to imagine why La Malinche helped Cortez. It was about cycles.

For the Aztecs, "there were always cycles that ended, and then came a struggle and a new cycle," Esquivel says. "A woman, in this time, being a slave, would have hoped that a change was coming."

You can find the review here

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