“Malinche” by Laura Esquivel (Mexico)


There were mixed reactions from readers about this book. Some liked it while others found it tedious. Those who liked it enjoyed the historical characters and the descriptive passages about the customs and ways of life of the Indian peoples. They also liked the relationship between Malinalli and her grandmother, which they described as tender. They felt it was in strong contrast with her relationship with Cortes, which they found highly ambiguous. Readers who didn’t like the book said that, although they found the story interesting and even moving at times, they didn’t like the style of writing. They felt there were too many descriptive passages and not enough dialogue. As a result, they found it difficult to warm to any of the characters. They agreed that the saving grace of the story came at the end when Malinalli finds for a while a happy family situation. Overall, the book averaged a 6.5 out of 10.


A retelling of the tragic love affair between the conquistador Cortez and the Indian woman Malinalli, his interpreter during his conquest of the Aztecs. Malinalli’s Indian tribe has been conquered by the warrior Aztecs. When her father is killed in battle, she is raised by her wise-woman grandmother… Read more

Nicola’s Book Club reading list

Season 16 – “Journeys in Time” (Sep 2012 – Jan 2013)

“Malinche” by Laura Esquivel (Mexico)
“Pure” by Andrew Miller (U.K.)
“Black Mamba Boy” by Nadifa Mohamed (Somalia) *
“Map of the Invisible World” by Tash Aw (Malaysia)
“Departing at Dawn” by Gloria Lisé (Argentina)

* The book club favourite
In italics, Nicola’s Coup de Cœur

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