BOOKS by LATIN AMERICAN FEMALE WRITERS

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Like Water for Chocolate by L. Esquivel

Like Water for Chocolate by L. Esquivel

About the Book: “Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them all by ourselves,” writes Esquivel in this sumptuous, magical realist Mexican melodrama. The heroine Tita's emotions spill into the delicious food she prepares.

About the Author: Laura Esquivel (born September 30, 1950) is a Mexican novelist, screenwriter and a politician who serves in the Chamber of Deputies (2012-2018) for the Morena Party. Her first novel Como agua para chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate) became a bestseller in Mexico and the United States, and was later developed into an award-winning film.

"The country under my skin" by G. Belli

"The country under my skin" by G. Belli

About the Book: Until her early twenties, Gioconda Belli inhabited an upper-class cocoon: sheltered from the poverty in Managua in a world of country clubs and debutante balls; educated abroad; early marriage and motherhood. But in 1970, everything changed. Her growing dissatisfaction with domestic life, and a blossoming awareness of the social inequities in Nicaragua, led her to join the Sandinistas, then a burgeoning but still hidden organization. She would be involved with them over the next twenty years at the highest, and often most dangerous, levels. Her memoir is both a revelatory insider’s account of the Revolution and a vivid, intensely felt story about coming of age under extraordinary circumstances. Belli writes with both striking lyricism and candor about her personal and political lives: about her family, her children, the men in her life; about her poetry; about the dichotomies between her birth-right and the life she chose for herself; about the failures and triumphs of the Revolution; about her current life, divided between California (with her American husband and their children) and Nicaragua; and about her sustained and sustaining passion for her country and its people.

Abouth the Author: Gioconda Belli (1948) is a Nicaraguan author, novelist and poet. She was an active participant in the Sandinista struggle against the Somoza dictatorship, and her work for the movement led to her being forced into exile in Mexico in 1975. Returning in 1979 just before the Sandinista victory, she became FSLN's international press liaison in 1982 and the director of State Communications in 1984. During that time she met Charles Castaldi, an American NPR journalist, whom she married in 1987. She has been living in both Managua and Los Angeles since 1990. She has since left the FSLN and is now a major critic of the current government. Belli graduated from the Royal School of Santa Isabel in Madrid, Spain and studied advertising and journalism in Philadelphia. In 1988, Belli's book La Mujer Habitada (The Inhabited Woman), a semi-autobiographical novel that raised gender issues for the first time in the Nicaraguan revolutionary narratives, brought her increased attention; this book has been published in several languages and was on the reading list at four universities in the United States.

Antigua and My Life Before by M. Serrano

Antigua and My Life Before by M. Serrano

Abouth the Book: Josefa Ferrer, a famous Chilean singer and star, awakens one morning to read in the Santiago newspaper that her best friend, Violeta, has been involved in a brutal act of violence. Overwhelmed with regret and plagued with guilt for not having foreseen the tragedy, Josefa feels compelled to tell Violeta's life story-one marked by lost ideals, disillusionment, and grief-which is ultimately Josefa's story, too. Through the interwoven lives of these two women, Marcela Serrano explores how the demands of a woman's role as mother, wife, lover, and friend are frequently at odds with her own dreams and aspirations, and how easily the fragile bonds of friendship and family can be strained to the breaking point. For Josefa and Violeta, it is only in Antigua, under the watchful eyes of "the others" -a chorus of female ancestral spirits who testify to the women's defining moments of strength and courage-that Josefa and Violeta will discover that even in the aftermath of violence and betrayal they have control over their destinies and their redemption. Exquisitely crafted and written in beautiful, lyrical prose, Marcela Serrano's unforgettable novel about friendship, forgiveness, and second chances speaks to every woman who has experienced the wrenching divide between professional ambition and family responsibility, who has been torn between the excitement of illicit passion and the security of marriage, who has craved the thrill of success while yearning for solitude in an often chaotic, invasive world.

About the Author: Marcela Serrano (born 1951) is an award-winning Chilean novelist. In 1994, her first novel, Nosotras que nos queremos tanto, won the Literary Prize in Santiago, and her second book, Para que no me olvides, won the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize for women writers in Spanish. She received the runner-up award in the renowned Premio Planeta competition in 2001 for her novel Lo que está en mi corazón. Carlos Fuentes has quoted her description of the modern woman as "having the capacity to change skin like a snake, freeing herself from the inevitability and servitude of more obsolete times".[1]

"The house of spirits" by Isabel Allende

"The house of spirits" by Isabel Allende

About the Book: Spanning four generations, Isabel Allende's magnificent family saga is populated by a memorable, often eccentric cast of characters. Together, men and women, spirits, the forces of nature, and of history, converge in an unforgettable, wholly absorbing and brilliantly realised novel that is as richly entertaining as it is a masterpiece of modern literature.

About the Author: Isabel Allende (1942) is a Chilean-American writer. Allende, whose works sometimes contain aspects of the "magic realist" tradition, is famous for novels such as The House of the Spirits (La casa de los espíritus, 1982) and City of the Beasts (La ciudad de las bestias, 2002), which have been commercially successful. Allende has been called "the world's most widely read Spanish-language author. In 2004, Allende was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2010, she received Chile's National Literature Prize. President Barack Obama awarded her the 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom. Allende's novels are often based upon her personal experience and historical events and pay homage to the lives of women, while weaving together elements of myth and realism. She has lectured and toured many American colleges to teach literature. Fluent in English as a second language, Allende was granted United States citizenship in 1993, having lived in California with her American husband since 1989.

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