With hundreds of thousands of copies in print, Bless Me, Ultima has been called the most widely read Mexican-American novel in the English language. Richly evocative, it has earned its place among the classics of modern literature, even drawing favorable comparisons to Herman Melville's legendary Moby Dick.
©1973, 1994 Rodolfo Anaya; (P)2004 Recorded Books LLC
"Besides winning the Premio Quinto Sol national Chicano literary award, this novel of a young boy in New Mexico in the 1940s has sold more than 300,000 copies in paperback since its 1973 debut....LJ's reviewer asserted that 'the novel has warmth and feeling'." (Library Journal)
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Rudolfo Anaya's "Bless Me, Ultima" can't seem to decide if it's a childhood coming of age story, almost Shakespearian tragedy, or good vs evil morality tale.
It is a good portrayal of what it's like to grow up Chicano in the 20th Century, with parental ambitions, pressures and conflict in the local village shaping young thought. It will make you think about what is good, what is evil, and how everyone else's perceptions shape your own.
If you're looking for easy entertainment, go elsewhere. If you want to think a bit, this one could be for you.
Performance by reader was a little comic. The story in itself is beautiful. Reminds me of the stories that old Indian Chiefs would share with the young ones. A way to teach spiritual roots, legends, a sense of respect to all, to earth, to the living, and spirits.
I'm a geologist and I use Audible books to while away long hours on the road... My pickup truck is my reading room!
This is one of the books that establishes the "mystic" tradition in Latino culture - along with Castaneda's Don Juan books. I've always thought that this aspect of Mexican/Mexican American culture is overemphasized. However, this book wraps the mysticism around an entertaining plot that builds slowly to a dramatic denoument. The ending binds up all of the book's spiritual themes into an epiphany of sorts. Certainly an essential part of any anthology onthe American Southwest.
Although I read the book years ago, I wanted to review the novel. At the same time, I’ve gotten back into calligraphy and so wanted an audio book. There are sadly few works of Latino/a literature on Audible.com but Bless Me, Ultima is one of them. Listening to the wonderful reading by Robert Ramirez brought me a different and deeper appreciation of Rudolfo Anaya’s novel. I would highly recommend discovering or rediscovering this text through its audio form.
Published in 1972, the Bildungsroman novel Bless Me, Ultima is a Chicano literature classic. The basic story is narrated by Antonio Márez, who is only six years old at the novel’s beginning. He is a child torn between ways — between the Lunas –his mother’s Catholic farmer family and his father’s wild vaquero background; between Spanish, the language of home and English, the language of education; between the Catholic religion and the traditional earth religions of the curandera and his native ancestors. Though Ultima, the curandera who comes to live with the family at the story’s beginning, Tony becomes entangled in a series of battles between good and evil, personified in the struggle between Ultima and three evil witches and their father. He is also witness to three deaths which change him and cause him to question all he has faith in (except for Ultima) and realize he must define his own faith.
The story of Bless Me, Ultima is well known, but it takes on added dimension through Ramirez’s reading. I normally tend to read quickly, but listening to to audiobook forced me to slow down and appreciate the quiet beauty of text and its evocative depiction of the New Mexican landscape. I listened to the book as though the adult Tony were telling me this story of his childhood. There is reverence in Ramirez’s voice as reads Anaya’s words about the wisdom and magic of Ultima. It was like being in a dream and I was sorry when the novel ended and I had to awaken.
Expressions of the past made me smile... Memories of living at my grandparents ranch with my uncles and aunts on the farm... Loved the story as it reminded me of my roots...
Disappointing book about a very interesting place, and mix of cultures. However, the writing is choppy, with lot's of cliches, and the characters are not developed. By the end of the book, I was bored, and didn't care about the outcome.
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