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Publisher's Summary

Instead of entering the world crying like the 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 his 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 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, just as Jubilo used to do for other people?Swift as Desire is Laura Esquivel's (Like Water for Chocolate) loving tribute to her father, who worked his own lifelong magic as a telegraph operator. In this enchanting, bittersweet story, touched with graphic earthiness and wit, she shows us how keeping secrets will always lead to unhappiness, and how communication is the key to love.
©2001 Laura Esquivel; (P)2001 Random House, Inc., Random House AudioBooks, a Division of Random House, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

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5 out of 5 stars
By Dennis on 12-09-07

Desire Under the Palms

Laura Esquivel tells the unforgetable story of Jubilo a man born with the unique ability to bring people together. He could also see into the hearts of men if sun spots didn't interrupt the flow of electricity that provided him with his power. He works as a telegrapher in a South American country when the telegraph was the fastest means of communication, and Esquivel uses his job as a methphor to demonstrate his abilities.

The story opens with Jubilo, bed-ridden after a stroke left him speechless, being tended to by his daughter because his beloved wife and he were estranged. The question is: How could a loving and kind man, endowed with the gift of laughter and joy, be separated from the only woman he ever loved? Esquivel carries the reader back to his youth and caressingly explains the irony of fate that made him uncommunicative.

The book is in the tradition of "Love in the Time of Cholera", but not as dense.

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