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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,036 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Laura Esquivel Narrator: Maria Conchita Alonso Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2006 ISBN: 9780743564557
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The princess of Latin American literature returns with the legendary love affair between Hernán Cortés and his interpreter, Malinalli.

When Malinalli, a member of the tribe conquered by the Aztec warriors, first meets Cortés, she, like many others, believes the conquistador is the reincarnated forefather god of her tribe. Naturally she assumes that her task is to help Cortés destroy the Aztec empire and free her people. The two fall passionately in love, but Malinalli gradually comes to realize that Cortés’ thirst for conquest is all too human. He is willing to destroy anyone, even his own men, even their own love.

Throughout Mexican history, Malinalli has been reviled for betrayal of the Indian people. However, recent historical research has shown that her role was much more complex; she was the mediator between two cultures, Hispanic and Native American, and two languages, Spanish and Náhuatl.

An extraordinary retelling of this passionate and tragic love affair, bursting with lyricism and vivid imagery, Malinche finally unveils the truth behind the legend.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Ambitious and inventive.” 

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Lyrical…Esquivel details richly imagined complications for a woman trapped between the ancient Mexicas civilization and the Spaniards.” 

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Much like Esquivel’s timeless Like Water for Chocolate, this novel is a magical, spiritual story that highlights the strength of women and the intensity of relationships. Maria Conchita Alonso’s musical voice is an ideal vehicle for the telling of a vivid fictionalization of Mexico’s history…Alonso effervesces with a rich enthusiasm for both the story and its language, and the result is an engaging, passionate audiobook.”

    AudioFile

  • “The descriptions of Malinche’s beliefs in the roles of the ancient gods and her observations on Christianity are fascinating and well written.” 

    Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda | 2/9/2014

    " While I enjoyed the passionate, magical Like Water for Chocolate better, Malinche has been an enjoyable historical read. Esquivel paints a vivid portrait of indigenous life and beautifully captures the spirituality that motivates the main character's life. My favorite descriptions in the book are when Esquivel describes the process in which Malinalli aquires and manipulates the new language she is learning, Spanish, and compares those meanings against the meanings in her native language. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carola | 2/6/2014

    " Excellent, interesting, beautiful history of live, love and war. What could you sacrifice for love? Do you believe in some God?. A Mexican Indian that want help her people but also She wants to be loyal to her feelings. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessichay | 1/31/2014

    " I'm just about to start. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Héctor | 1/27/2014

    " After reading this book one wants to learn Nahuatl to experience the gentle kind poetic language of Mallinali. Esquivel did a great job portraying the wisdom of Mallinali's grandmother in this novel through the reminiscings of her grand daughter. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/27/2014

    " This was terrible and the worst part is that it is based on historical events that are absolutely captivating. Cortez took her as his translator/concubine and he used her to help him conquer Mexico. Not only that, but they had a son who is considered the first "Mexican" to exist, which is contentious for the indigenous population of Mexico. Malinche is still a divisive icon in Mexico- someone who enabled the forcible colonization of their land and people. This book has the potential to be amazing but the fact that I struggled through it on a beach vacation no less... what a disappointment. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caroline | 1/25/2014

    " It is a very deepgoing love story about a person who has got many layers. She will manage to make you travel to a world where many elements come together. The history of Mexico is always wrapped up in a veil of mystery. It also shows that trying to combine two cultures is not always straight forward. Loved also the drawings in this one. This is a read that will make you long for a time travelling machine and to get to that one spot that the main character longs for but only can dream of. For sure a book that anyone that is planning to travel to Mexico should read. It is in a way an alternative route into the heart of mysterious nation and its painful history. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Laila | 1/24/2014

    " Terrible, trite, overwrought. Esquivel brought no life to the characters. It read like an evangelical sermon, Mexicali style. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Yasmin | 1/22/2014

    " i wish i could give this one 2 1/2. I liked it alot until it moved completely into the Cortez story. I know when reading the jacket that I should have known what I was getting into but the first part of the book gives you more than just the story of spain "raping" the aztecs for gold. it did insight some emotions though in case you hadn't noticed. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Erica | 1/21/2014

    " I feel pretty conflicted about this novel. On the one hand, I am drawn to its proud retelling of history and beautiful religious imagery. On the other hand, I had a lot of trouble with the rape scenes, since they were not intended to be read as rape...there was just a lot of the main character being raped then falling for the man who raped her! She seemed so much stronger than that! But I definitely see this book as important book for those who've grown up with the malinche story, and really all of us who've grown up with stories demonizing women. The books ultimate message is one of love, healing, and growth. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alisa | 1/16/2014

    " This translation felt so choppy that it drove me crazy. Though it was an interesting book, I think that I just wasn't in the mood to read about the various Mexica gods or appreciate how much Malinalli suffered as the Tongue. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kelly | 1/16/2014

    " Terrible book. Great premise, and I had such high hopes from the author of Like Water for Chocolate, but this just didn't live up. Very verbose and difficult to get through...reading it felt like an assignment. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Andria | 1/13/2014

    " I can't give this a fair review, because I couldn't bring myself to finish it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebeca | 1/2/2014

    " Historia de Mexico, su raza y su cultura a travez de una india llamada Malinche,,,que mostro antes los conquistadores mas que su inteligencia el poder de convencer y manipular la situacion de nuestra raza en contra de esos arrebatadores conquistadores...muy buena, recomendada... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sabry | 12/24/2013

    " I started reading this book with all the emotion that I always start a book by Laura Esquivel, but I have to say that it was a disappointment.I was only able to read half of it and I did this forcing myself to get there. Boring. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katherine | 12/11/2013

    " This was a fast read - I remember enjoying the story, but it didn't blow me away "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katie | 12/10/2013

    " My expectations were perhaps too high since I thought "Like water for chocolate" was a wonderful magical realism. This book did not live up to that. I refused to give up but I skimmed lots of it. Perhaps the translation was bad but I did not see why this book was on the best seller list for long long time....the language was trite not "lyrical" "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Denise | 12/7/2013

    " Actually it was the English version I was reading, but it might as well have been the Spanish version. Another book club selection gone bad for me at least and I usually love anything in a historical setting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dell Cia | 12/6/2013

    " Good weaving of history and literature. Offers another pov of the conquest and why it was successful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 heartful | 12/1/2013

    " A fantastic evocation of a much explored historical period, excellent and moving characterisation. Lyrical and poetic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen Ballou | 11/17/2013

    " I was impressed with the author's detailed descriptions in this novel & found myself transported to another time and place. I felt Malinalli's pain at her abandonment by her mother and her pain at abandoning her own child, her horror at the images of war and finally her peace. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its ability to engross me so that my own surroundings did not even register while I was reading it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shelley | 11/15/2013

    " Spiritually enlightening. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angie | 8/15/2013

    " A much-needed version of La Malinche's story from her point of view. I truly enjoyed the story and its historical references. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 7/1/2013

    " great book! I love how they mix history and religion with this story about a native girl. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jenifer | 6/16/2013

    " This was just wierd. And not in a good way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janet | 5/1/2013

    " This was amazing. I enjoyed the time spent with her Grandmother, the best. We all are connected. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David Bachmann | 4/6/2013

    " Malinche, being prepared to do everything for her Cortez - romantic, realistic novel "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jacquie | 12/6/2012

    " Really disappointing and indulgent interpretation of this story. Ambitious idea, but Esquivel really falls short in honoring the complexities of the Malinche figure. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terry | 9/22/2012

    " I enjoyed the "history" component but a little too breathy! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Miriam | 9/11/2012

    " I learned a lot about my Aztec ancestors. Reading this book actually inspired me to take a History of Mexico course in college. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alma | 2/28/2012

    " This book didn't get good reviews but I really enjoyed it. It was flowery, not much of a plot, but the description of the Maya culture and symbolism of nature was beautiful. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lois | 12/23/2011

    " Not a favorite.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kika | 9/1/2011

    " Loved it. I'm a sucker for a tale of woman's war survival story. I mean, war from a man's perspective is kind of like, no kidding...but war from a woman's perspective sheds light on the hidden cost and sacrifice. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lily | 8/21/2011

    " It's kind of weird for me that I'm better at reading in Spanish than in German, but anyway. I love how Esquivel writes - because it's not hard for me to understand but also because it's such smooth, poetic language. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessichay | 8/1/2011

    " I'm just about to start. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amelia | 5/23/2011

    " The writing is lyrical but makes massive assumptions of the life and internal thought of Malinche and Cortez, none of which seem to be reflected in their actions. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sil | 5/3/2011

    " Creo que nunca odié tanto un libro.
    "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rachel | 2/12/2011

    " Her other book Water for Chocolate is SOOOO much better. I agree with the people who said this shoulda been amazing. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Brien | 1/12/2011

    " I had to stop after about 50 pages. It was boring, slow and overly dramatic. I don't recommend it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebeca | 7/28/2010

    " Historia de Mexico, su raza y su cultura a travez de una india llamada Malinche,,,que mostro antes los conquistadores mas que su inteligencia el poder de convencer y manipular la situacion de nuestra raza en contra de esos arrebatadores conquistadores...muy buena, recomendada... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Miriam | 7/25/2010

    " I learned a lot about my Aztec ancestors. Reading this book actually inspired me to take a History of Mexico course in college. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Minette | 6/22/2010

    " Beautifully written! Highly recommend the Recorded Books version narrated by Maria Conchita Alonso! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natalie | 5/16/2010

    " It was very interesting, I want to learn more about Malinalli (her name was Malinalli, Hernan Cortes was referred to as Malinche, I didn't know that.) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 5/15/2010

    " This book tells the story of Malinalli who had a relationship with Hernan Cortez and is seen as a traitor to her people. The story is a great read I really enjoy this book, gave me a little of history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maria | 2/23/2010

    " Delicious after coming from a trip to mexico "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jo | 2/9/2009

    " " Sorry I just didn't get this book. Too many god of blah..blah..I was totally lost.. " "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 1/26/2009

    " I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I had read it in the original Spanish. Oh well. Malinche is such a fascinating historical figure, but Esquivel's interpretation of her story is nothing at all like my imagination portrays her. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Josie | 7/24/2008

    " Historical fiction with a mystical-spiritual bent. Not my thing, but not horrible, either. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pamela | 1/24/2008

    " I really enjoyed how Laura Esquivel portrayed Malinalli-- her thoughts, beliefs, and actions- in this book. It was an enjoyable, easy to read narrative. I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in Latin American history, especially if he/she likes historical fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Krista | 9/28/2007

    " I'm glad I started listening to this before I learned about her legend among the Mexican people. I feel that Laura Esquivel did a nice job of representing Malinalli in a more positive light. "

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About the Author
Author Laura Esquivel

Laura Esquivel is the award-winning author of several books, including the New York Times bestseller Like Water for Chocolate, which sold over four and a half million copies in thirty-five languages and was adapted into a major motion picture.

About the Narrator

Maria Conchita Alonso is a singer, narrator, and award-winning actress fluent in four languages. Her film credits include The Running Man and Predator 2. She also has had guest roles in television, including Saints & Sinners. Born in Cuba but raised in Venezuela, she began acting in Latin America, working in television and Venezuelan films. She is also a popular singer with three Grammy nominations. She was praised for her narrations of children’s literature as well as adult fiction.