Laura Esquivel (born September 30, 1950) is a Mexican author making a noted contribution to Latin-American literature. She was born the third of four children of Julio César Esquivel, a telegraph operator, and Josefa Valdés.
In her first novel Como agua para chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate), released in 1989, Esquivel uses magical realism to combine the ordinary and the supernatural, similar to Isabel Allende. The novel, taking place during the revolution in early twentieth century Mexico, shows the importance of the kitchen in Esquivel's life. Esquivel believes that the kitchen is the most important part of the house and characterizes it as a source of knowledge and understanding that brings pleasure. The "title refers to a colloquial phrase used by the Spanish that means an extremity of feeling. It refers to a boiling point in terms of anger, passion and sexuality." The idea for the book came to Esquivel "while she was cooking the recipes of her mother and grandmother." Reportedly, "Esquivel used an episode from her own family to write her book. She had a great-aunt named Tita, who was forbidden to wed. Tita never did anything but care for her own mother. Soon after her mother died, so did Tita." "The book has been a tremendous international success: The No. 1 best-selling book in Mexico for three years, it's also been translated into 23 languages."
Like Water for Chocolate was developed into a film, which was released in 1994 concurrently with the book's English translation. In the United States, Like Water for Chocolate became one of the largest grossing foreign films ever released in the US. Esquivel earned the Mexican Academy of Motion Pictures award; she received eleven in all, from Ariel Awards.
Esquivel's second novel, The Law of Love (1996), takes place in the twenty-third century Mexico City and combines romance and science fiction. Reportedly, "the theme of romantic love, particularly love thwarted, appears repeatedly throughout her novels, as does the setting in Mexico."
Her Between Two Fires (2000) featured essays on life, love, and food. Her most recent novel, Malinche (2006), "explores the life of a near mythic figure in Mexican history-the woman who served as Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez's interpreter and mistress" as he fought to overthrow the Aztecs. Reportedly, although "since the 15th century, Mexican history and folklore have interpreted her actions as traitorous to her people, in Esquivel's book, we learn of Malinche's rich cultural heritage." Esquivel characterized La Malinche as a strong woman - an ambassador and a genius. The novel includes an Aztec codex (by Jordi Castells) which acts as Malinche's own diary.
Esquivel was once married to doctor Alfonso Arau. She currently lives in Mexico City.
In March 2009 Laura Esquivel ran as preliminary candidate of the Local Council in District XXVII of Mexico City for the PRD. Her candidacy was supported by the current Izquierda Unida, which combined various PRD groups. Despite irregularities, all ballots were recovered, confirming her victory. Laura Esquivel is currently the official candidate not only for the PRD, but also for the PT and Convergence, the actress Dolores Heredia being her substitute.