LOVESICK by Ángeles Mastretta


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 A south-of-the-border Gone With the Wind by one of Mexico's bestselling authors (Mexican Bolero, 1990) describes a spirited girl's love affairs played out against the backdrop of the 1911 revolution--with all the quirky trappings of magic realism and a few postmodern asides as well. Borrowing freely from the mannerisms of Gabriel Garc°a MÖrquez and Laura Esquivel, Mastretta casts a beguiling spell. In a series of loopy thumbnail biographies and quickly sketched scenes, he describes the Cuenca and Sauri families and the progressive, artistic, and Europeanized society of Puebla that they belong to. When young Emilia Sauri pushes snotty Daniel Cuenca into a pond and then jumps in after, we know that one day they'll be tearing at each other's clothes in overheated desire--which they do, with great regularity, as the revolution looms, explodes into war, succeeds, then tragically fails to change anything. But while Daniel grows up to be a revolutionary, Emilia apprentices in medicine with his father, which leaves them poles apart--a pattern echoed in the relationship between Emilia's mother, Josefa, whose world revolves around love, and her sister, Milagros, for whom justice is the soul's rallying cry. Jealous of Daniel's other mistress--politics--Emilia nearly marries the wonderful Dr. Antonio Zavalza, then leaps to join Daniel as he makes plans and plots with various generals, including Zapata and Villa, whose ragtag armies she ministers to. In the end, she refuses to choose at all, living with the doctor, entertaining amorous visits from Daniel, and having many children--by whom? It all feels very much as if arranged by an author determined to have life conform to desire. Vivid, with a knack for memorable aphorism and magical detail, yet curiously unmoving at its ``lovesick'' heart, this is one epic that, with good casting, may play better on the screen than on the page. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1997
ISBN: 1-57322-062-0
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Riverhead
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1997


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