Distant Neighbors: Twentieth-Century Mexican Literature

Laura Esquivel ( 1951 - )

Like Water for Chocolate


  • Born in 1951 in Mexico, the daughter of a telegraph operator and his wife.
  • Married Alfonso Arau, a film director; has one daughter.
  • Currently lives in Mexico City.


  • Wrote screenplays before she wrote novels; Chido One, nominated for Ariel Award as best screenplay.
  • Writer and director for children's theater; spent eight years as a teacher.
  • First novel, Like Water for Chocolate, won international acclaim; translated into thirty languages.
  • Spanish language film based on Like Water for Chocolate, won eleven awards from the Mexican Academy of Motion Pictures, including best picture.
  • English translation of the novel and sub-titled film equally successful in the United States; film, the largest grossing foreign film ever.

Major Writings

Chido One (screenplay), 1985
Como agua para chocolate: novela de entregas mensuales con recetas, amores, y remedios caseros (novel), 1989. Tr. as Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments, with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies by Carol and Thomas Christensen, 1991.
Little Ocean Star (screenplay for children), 1994.
Ley del Amor (novel), 1996. Tr. as The Law of Love by Margaret Sayers Peden, 1996.
Intimas Suculencias: Tratado Filosofico de Cocina (novel), 1998.
Between Two Fires: Intimate Writings on Life, Love, Food & Flavor. Tr. by Stephen Lytle, 2000.
Swift as Desire (novel), 2001

Critical Sources and Reviews

  • Biographical and critical information in the following Gale publications: Contemporary Authors, Volumes 143, and Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series, Volume 68.  Gale Literary Database (Contemporary Authors Online) can be accessed online through a subscribing library at www.galenet.com.  

    Other Gale resources include the Dictionary of Hispanic Biography (contains portrait); Hispanic Literature Criticism (contains portrait); and Major Twentieth Century Writers.

  • Some reviews of Like Water for Chocolate:
    • New York Times, February 17, 1993 ("The Art of Novel as Cookbook by Marialisa Calta); March 31, 1993 ("At Dinner With Laura Esquivel" by Mollie O'Neill)
    • Los Angeles Times Book Review: November 1, 1992
    • Ms., November/December 1993, p. 75
    • Nation, June 14, 1993, p. 846
    • New Republic, March 1, 1993
    • New Yorker, June 27, 1994
    • Time, April 5, 1993, pp. 62-63
    • Tribune Books (Chicago), October 18, 1992
    • Washington Post, September 25, 1992

Retired Discussion Series

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