The Hummingbird's Daughter Prime –

The Prizewinning Writer Luis Alberto Urrea S Long Awaited Novel Is An Epic Mystical Drama Of A Young Woman S Sudden Sainthood In Late Th Century MexicoIt Is , And The Civil War Is Brewing In Mexico Sixteen Year Old Teresita, Illegitimate But Beloved Daughter Of The Wealthy And Powerful Rancher Don Tomas Urrea, Wakes From The Strangest Dream A Dream That She Has Died Only It Was Not A Dream This Passionate And Rebellious Young Woman Has Arisen From The Dead With The Power To Heal But It Will Take All Her Faith To Endure The Trials That Await Her And Her Family Now That She Has Become The Saint Of Cabora The Hummingbird S Daughter Is A Vast, Hugely Satisfying Novel Of Love And Loss, Joy And Pain Two Decades In The Writing, This Is The Masterpiece That Luis Alberto Urrea Has Been Building Up To

10 thoughts on “The Hummingbird's Daughter

  1. says:

    First read Luis Alberto Urrea s Hummingbird s Daughter nearly 13 years ago It is still incredible Something about Urrea s ability to evoke the landscape and capture a mood really drew me into this story The mix of the lyrical and the historical evokes the political and social upheaval of the period And then there is Urrea s writing style Maybe it s just me, but when I read magic realism I think revolution It is also super interesting to me that Urrea took stories about a distant family member, Teresita Urrea, combined that with historical research on her, and wrote a book that feels something like folklore 4.5 stars Wonderful to meet Luis Alberto Urrea at the Harvard Bookstore He uses his storytelling abilities during this event to talk about the inspiration behind his latest novel, The House of Broken Angels Can I convince him to come to a reading in Wyoming

  2. says:

    The Hummingbird s Daughter quickly made my list of 25 favorite books ever Every one of the 20 years Luis Alberto Urrea spent on this story was worth it There are few books I consider perfect, and this is one Urrea deftly makes every word, comma, character nuance and plot twist seem straightforward and simple, yet there s so much going on here He takes the barely sketched history of his aunt Teresita the Saint of Cabora who helped inspire the Mexican revolution and breathes life into a brave, compassionate, lively young heroine with a sense of humor This book has everything history, family conflict, coming of age, social issues, politics, sex, love, violence, religion, Native American healing and a delightful sprinkling of magical realism I was so impressed, I took a chance on recommending Urrea s Into The Beautiful North as the first read for the new book club I ve joined, though I knew nothing about it Mr Urrea didn t let me down yet another masterpiece about another young Mexican woman, a century later Mr Urrea has now joined the ranks of those authors whose books I ll read simply because their names are on the cover.

  3. says:

    Bella Melod a Mexicana de Santa de Cabor4.25 starsMexican author Urrea s mystical mural of a tale following a female saint, known as the Mexican Joan of Arc Everything the government doesis morally wrong Born the love child of a young wealthy Mexican rancher and a poor Indian girl named Hummingbird, who abandoned her shortly after birth, she was raped, beaten and apparently died at age 15 and came back to life Thereafter, she has near messianic powers of healing as well as precognitive visions Dubbed the Saint of Cabor, the poor adore her Both the Government and Church fear her power to bring all her peoples together and possibly cause a revolt against the oppression of the two entities.Had I known about Mexican history in the late 1800s when the book is set, in the years leading up to the revolution in 1910, I would have appreciated the allegorical parts Warm, well drawn characters populate a solid story line that I relished even though the novel never quite hit on all cylinders for me.

  4. says:

    Rating an irritated single star.Someone needs to explain to me why this book is great I don t think it s even good It s The Song of Bernadette for the 21st century, written in prose as flat and featureless as the deserts it describes In this it s no different from Franz Werfel s prose, at least as it is translated into English.I m as irritated by the untreated mental illness of the young girl as I am by the author s celebration of it as Divine Revelation or whatever Characters see the child as blessed instead of needing help And yes, yes, autres temps autres moueurs. I am not living in those times and therefore judge the work by my time s standards That s reasonable to do since the author is from the same time I am, not from the times he s chosen to write about.So very, very, very not recommended.

  5. says:

    This is a phenomenal, picaresque story Teresa Teresita Urrea, the Hummingbird s daughter, possessed me, made me want to dig my bare feet in the earth and rub rose petals and lavender all over my body She is now my beloved hero of contemporary literature Strong, courageous, formidable, guileless, beautifully vulnerable, compassionate, quick witted, and luminescent, Teresa is a modern day saint without the dismal, pious sobriety of one She is like a noble iconoclast She hikes up her skirts and rides a horse better than any man, eats like a lumberjack, and engages in astral projection She denounces organized religion and behaves like a pantheist She can heal with her hands, bandy words with politicians, and flirt with the infamous.The author based this work of fiction on real events in the life of an eponymous blood relation, circa 1880 when the story also takes pace He spent 20 years in the research and writing, which is evident in the stirring, complex, yet easily digestible, mouth watering narration of this novel.Teresa is the illegitimate daughter of wealthy and married south of the border rancher Don Tomas and a fourteen year old peasant Indian woman who fled Sinaloa for greener pastures Raised initially by her mean spirited aunt, her adventurous spirit eventually delivers her to the house of her father at a tender, young age The protective, flinty Huila, a medicine woman who works for Don Tomas, apprehends Teresa s destiny and mentors her in the art and botanical science of healing Huila is also aware that Teresa has a native and inherited shamanic talent way beyond midwifery and organic medicine.Filled with a sprawling and vivid cast of characters vaqueros, caballeros, Indians, pilgrims,politicians, the wealthy as well as the indigent, apostates as well as the devout, this is a colorful, astutely comical allegory that is ripe with thought, action, and spirit It is a story of familial love and redemption and the vastness of the soul It is a tale of adventure that you won t want to end Rumor has it that a sequel and a film is in the works Luis Alberto Urrea is an exuberant storyteller oozing an alchemical mixture of warmth, humor, satire, and vigorous vitality His style is a reminiscent witch s brew of the best of outlaw and magical realism The Milagro Beanfield War Lonesome Dove a dose of Garcia Marquez a glittering sprinkle of Isabelle Allende But it is its own mystical and magical epic story of community and faith, of an unforgettable daughter and the people who loved her.

  6. says:

    A young Indian girl in Mexico who was known as The Hummingbird gave birth to Teresita in 1873 The mixed race baby was the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy rancher After being abandoned by her mother, Teresita was watched over by the healer Huila who taught the girl about medicinal herbs and midwifery.Teresita was brutally attacked as a teenager, and was thought to be dead During her wake she returned from the dead She possessed miraculous powers of healing, and thousands of pilgrims flocked to her home Teresita was called the Saint of Cabora and the Mexican Joan of Arc This was an unsettled time in Mexican history under the dictator Porfirio Diaz Teresita attracted unwelcome attention from the Mexican government and the Catholic Church who feared her influence on the poor.The book was written in lyrical, earthy language and included lots of adventure and humor It had a large cast of characters from all walks of life, and vivid descriptions of Mexico Teresita was a real person in the author s ancestral family who stood up for the rights of the Indians in Mexico She was a strong woman who possessed great compassion Her calling involved the power of healing and a fervent faith in God, aided by a dose of magical realism The book was a winning combination of history, fiction, and Indian legends.

  7. says:

    I really slogged through this I m not sure why I had such a difficult time reading it I m glad that I did I ended up enjoying it but I wasn t wild about it It s well written, I liked some of the characters including Huila and Teresa many of the characters were interesting, although often infuriating I read as a skeptic but that shouldn t have detracted from my enjoyment as it hasn t with other similar themed books The book was disturbing, violent and depicted many atrocities that humans commit upon one another, but I ve read plenty of books such as those and loved them despite the gore and tragedy.This book did inspire me to research the peoples in these places and this time that are described in this novel This book is a work of fiction but is based on a real woman from an actual place and time, and the history is interesting I think I d rather have read a non fiction book about the subject.So, I don t know whether it s because while reading my tolerance for human frailties was especially low or what it was, but the story just didn t grab me.However, it s epic in scale and has some beautiful descriptions and I wouldn t want to dissuade anyone from reading it, especially because I m glad that I read it for my book club otherwise I would not have read it, or stuck with it had I started I guess this doesn t sound like a rousing endorsement but I would recommend this book if you re interested in Mexico s history and peoples.

  8. says:

    This is a marvellous book that I would recommend to everyone who Is a fan of Magical RealismIs interested in Mexican HistoryIs intrigued by Catholic sainthood and Wants to learn about curanderas healers or medicine women Although parts of it, like descriptions of the extreme poverty, are very difficult to read, there is so much beauty in the book to balance it out This compelling novel is based on the real life person Teresa Urrea, who was the great aunt of the author Luis Alberto Urrea Urrea spent 20 years writing this novel and researching the life of this remarkable woman who was and is revered as a Saint, but was at one point considered The most dangerous girl in Mexico by the authorities She was never canonized by the church This is a very powerful book that I love

  9. says:

    This review has been revised on completion Teresita, the Hummingbird s daughter, existed She is an acknowledged saint In this book you learn about her life in Mexico, until she was forced to leave at the age of 19 You learn about Mexico food, lifestyle, religious beliefs and customs and about the Mexican Civil War that took place in the last decade of the 1800s You learn about her role in this war Teresita was a distant cousin to the author Although based on known fact, it is a novel This book is a beautiful example of what can be achieved through historical fiction I have listened to the audio version of The Hummingbird s Daughter, and I loved it It is narrated by the author, so I was a bit skeptical I mean, he is not a trained narrator On the other hand, being the author, means he knows what lines he wants to emphasize He suceeded It is SO good The writing is full of imagery Since I listened to an audio, I sucked on every sentence I feel the imagery is stronger because of this So if I you choose to read the book, my advice sould be read it slowly A word of warning the imagery is both gtusome and beautiful You might need a strong stomach for some ot it There is quite a bit os Spanish thrown in I did not have any trouble with that, although I do not know Spanish By the end of the novel I adored the way the author narrator inbibed the Spanish dialect into the novel.The imagery is what will remain most vivid in my memory of this novel Three examples Her hair reached to her bottom which was like a plump peach There is a child, born smiling, after the prolonged suffering of childbirth There is the first time Teresita enters the patron s house and is confronted with the grandfather clock, with its pendulum and rythmic beating For her it is a tree with its heart thumping And the flowers that you experience in all their colors and fragrances and shapes and sizes Perhaps it is because the imagery of horrible, heartwrenching depictions for example sores with pus and vermin and stench contrasts so abruptly with beauty, that I was blown away Beyond the wonderful imagery, the book teaches about past events and about a different culture One need not be a devout, believing person to appreciate the events Teresita is not unbelievable she cannot cure everyone She was educated in the science of herbs Being a true sceptic, I never had trouble accepting strange mystical events There is always another explanation to fall back on Perhaps I so liked the book because the messages imparted were realistic and yet upplifting at the same time Good and bad were intertwined The value of family is wonderfully shown And I grew to love Teresita s father All his weaknesses only made him human I understood his preference for bees over humans When he pats the pig on the head You will meet Huila and so many others, whom you will grow to love.Luis Alberto Urrea has written a follow up book entitled Queen of America A Novel, The theme is significantly different While the first is about the indigenous people of Mexico and their lives at the end of the 19th century, the latter is about the Spanish immigrant ewperience in the in newly industrialized America of the 20th century Both follow Teresita, the Saint of Cabora.

  10. says:

    Certain authors excel at crafting gritty and realistic recreations of the world we live in others are expert at transforming our world into a magical and fantastical one Luis Alberto Urrea, in an astounding feat of alchemy, does both Within the novel s sprawling 499 pages, his depiction of Teresita Urrea his real life great aunt, anointed the Saint of Cabora becomes increasingly intoxicating and unputdownable.In a sprawling yet controlled epic, we meet Teresita the illegitimate daughter of a teen mother called hummingbird and the patron Tomas right after she is deserted and left in the so called care of a mean hearted aunt She is adopted by Huila, an old curaranda, who takes her under her wing and teaches her about desert herbs and plant medicine and the power of the unconscious It is not long before she comes to the attention of Tomas, who accepts her as his daughter.In a sensuous whirlwind of description, the land comes alive and our senses are besotted the noxious smells of pig sties the sharp smell of sweat, and the mouth watering smells of Mexican foods, the bursting beauty of desert flowers and plants, the braying burros and squabbling crows You feel as if you could step into the scene that s how perfectly it s depicted When the novel levitates into magical realism, we ve already signed on for the ride and put ourselves into Mr Urrea s very capable hands The power of his words is that we do not merely escape from the world by entering this new one rather, we gain a greater grasp of what it is to be human As Teresita begins to heal with her hands and her father s ranch is overrun by pilgrims, we stand in amazement with the People the Greek chorus that is indelibly embedded into the pages of this book.All of the narrative plays against the backdrop of a changing Mexico approaching revolution, removal of Indians from their ancestral lands, southwestern border disputes, the Diaz government s darkening suspicions and paranoia, the controlling hand of organized religion all contrasted against one uneducated but wise girl s healing message of love and healing.The Hummingbird s Daughter has it all facts and legends that Mr Urrea, a reporter, gathered from 20 years of research into his childhood, Western mythology, Catholic hagiography, Mexican folklore and , interwoven with down to earth descriptions of poverty, warfare, torture, and grittiness The result is pure effervescence, a testimony to the power of storytelling at its finest.