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The Hummingbird's Daughter: A Novel | [Luis Alberto Urrea]

The Hummingbird's Daughter: A Novel

It is 1889, and civil war is brewing in Mexico. A 16-year-old girl, 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 death 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".
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Publisher's Summary

It is 1889, and civil war is brewing in Mexico. A 16-year-old girl, Teresita, the 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 death 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.

©2006 Luis Alberto Urrea; (P)2006 Hachette Audio

What the Critics Say

"Epic." (The New Yorker)
"Urrea meticulously captures day-to-day life among the poor farmers and their populist beliefs in their saint." (Bookmarks Magazine)
"[The Hummingbird's Daughter] is wildly romantic, sweeping in its effect, employing the techniques of Catholic hagiography, Western fairy tale, Indian legend and everyday family folklore against the gritty historical realities of war, poverty, prejudice, lawlessness, torture and genocide. Urrea effortlessly links Teresita's supernatural calling to the turmoil of the times, concealing substantial intellectual content behind effervescent storytelling and considerable humor." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (280 )
5 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.2 (125 )
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3 star
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1 star
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Story
4.3 (122 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Steph Venice, CA, USA 10-27-06
    Steph Venice, CA, USA 10-27-06 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
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    "My New Favorite Book"

    This is one of the best books I've purchased from Audible. It is read by the author, and he does such an amazing job with voices and accents. I won't go into detail about the book itself, you can easily read the synopsis. I do highly recommend this book, I was so sad when I finished it. It leaves you wanting more.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angie Kansas City, MO, United States 12-26-06
    Angie Kansas City, MO, United States 12-26-06 Member Since 2005

    Immigration lawyer in Kansas City. I like Character driven dramas, fantasy (monsters, magic and witches oh my!) and coming of age stories. Favs include: The Book Thief, The Game of Throne series, Harry Potter Series, Dresden Files, Nightside series, anything by Neil Gaimen, 100 Years of Solitude.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    368
    ratings
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    585
    167
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    48
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    Overall
    "Magical Realism at its best!"

    I can't say enough good things about this book. The story was wonderful and inventive, and also based on a real person, a relative of the author. Magical realism has been made famous by the like of Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende. This book fits right in with these greats. The story is epic and captivating. The characters are rich and enchanting and by the end you love every one of them.

    This book takes place in Mexico in the years prior to the Mexican Revolution. It is a great depiction of life on a hacienda. There is a benevolent Patron with a heart of gold but a wandering eye, that sires him many legitimate and a few illegitimate children. There is political strife, magical medicine women, and a popular saint of the rural Mexican people, the main character, Teresita.

    The author mixes English and a little Spanish effortlessly. This book is a must listen.

    The narrator/author was fantastic. I honestly almost didn't buy this book when I found out the author was reading it because I have never heard an author-read book that I really liked. However one of the reviews said that he/she liked it better than the Kite Runner so I thought I would give it a try. While I did agree that this book is the same caliber or better than the Kite Runner, do not mistake that comparison to mean that they are anything alike. But I digress, the narrator/author in this case was perfect. He knows the language and accents obviously and makes each character come to life. I can't wait to read/listen to more from this author.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JoyfulAtHeart 02-26-07 Listener Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
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    3
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    "Worth reading"

    I really enjoyed listening to this book. Although I found it a little slow in the beginning, it ended up pulling me in. By the time I reached the end, I was sorry it was over.

    I think it is awesome that the author researched this "aunt" of his, the "Saint of Cabora", and told her story. According to his end-notes, most of the details in the story are based on actual diary/journal entries, eye-witness acounts, as well as information he was able to get from family members. The book is very well researched. I enjoyed the bits of herbal & healing folklore in the story, portrayed through the healer, Huila.
    This is definitely a book to enjoy.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rio Delta Wild Harlingen, TX 04-17-07
    Rio Delta Wild Harlingen, TX 04-17-07 Member Since 2004

    I enjoy mysteries, NOT thrillers, contemporary fiction, especially about diverse cultures, and sometimes history, if it doesn't involve too many dates. I often listen to a book multiple times, discovering unnoticed details in the retelling.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "enter the soul of Mexico's past"

    One can view Diego Rivera's magnificent paintings to glimpse the many civilizations of Mexico, to see diversity and vibrance. Urrea's writing is as colorful and dynamic as Rivera's paintings. Urrea takes us further, into their souls, into their everyday lives and history. He shows us how they change as they travel through life. Thank you, Luis Urrea, for the depth and beauty of this unforgettable work. You, the listener, will cry when you hear this work, you will feel joy to the center of your being, wonderment, and you will laugh. I, now, am even more grateful that some of the diversity of Mexico remains with us to this day. How do you capture the sound and smell and feel of Mexico, Urrea? It is magic, to be sure, curandismo de la palabras, yo creo. (words of magical healing, I believe)

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G.G. Seattle, WA 02-03-07
    G.G. Seattle, WA 02-03-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
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    295
    7
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    "A beaufiful story, read by the author"

    This is the most beautifully written novel I have read in a long time. Descriptive, original, historical, and moving only begin to describe it. I fell in love with the characters early on, and they did not disappoint. If you are put off by the length, fear not. You will finish this book quickly, as it's near impossible to put down. The author reads his work as no one else could, moving back and forth effortlessly between English, Spanish, and the native language. I had this book in print as well, but I especially enjoy the audio version when there are a great many foreign words I would not know how to pronounce.

    Treat yourself to this extraordinary novel. It is worth every moment of your time.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M 05-01-07
    M 05-01-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
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    "In my top 10!"

    I love this book! I am putting it right up there with Poisonwood Bible in my Top 10 favorite books. The author narrates this audiobook and he's wonderful. In fact, this is one of those books that you should never read because you'll miss the beautiful tempo and language pronunciation that the reader offers.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gordon Kenmore, WA, USA 07-13-07
    Gordon Kenmore, WA, USA 07-13-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    79
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    216
    16
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    3
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    "Engrossing story, richly detailed"

    The author says this book took 20 years to write - and it shows. Thoroughly engrossing, beautifully written, and fully realized with a depth of detail that makes lesser writing seem thin and contrived. The narration by the author is a great bonus.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joyce hendersonville, NC, USA 03-13-07
    Joyce hendersonville, NC, USA 03-13-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    72
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    "just wonderful"

    This inspiring story, magnificently narrated by the author, is not to be missed. It starts a bit slowly, but if you can hang in there, you get caught up in a tale of courage, faith and love all set against the political background of the Mexican revolution. I loved it!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Marietta, GA, United States 01-31-07
    Barbara Marietta, GA, United States 01-31-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    393
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    5
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    "Educational, moving and fun"

    As others have said, the author does a wonderful job reading this book. He has a non-professional, slightly halting way of speaking and odd, midwestern pronunciation of certain words ("water"), but his characterizations are spot-on and his enthusiasm and empathy help sell the story. I'm very, very glad that Mr. Urrea learned and researched this bizarre tale of his family's history and has shared it with us.

    It's a very long story, and some parts of the story revealed in a Publisher's Weekly review don't take place until the end of part 2 (of 3). Things definitely drag from time to time, but it isn't difficult to follow, and the overall story is fun to hear and filled with soundbites of pre-Revolutionary Mexico not known to the average American. Mr. Urrea's philosophical musings and his gift for grasping both the diversity of cultures and the interplay of indigenous religions and Catholicism make for a very thought-provoking listen.

    For dedicated Audible listeners only.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Rawlins, WY, USA 09-07-08
    Sarah Rawlins, WY, USA 09-07-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    29
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    0
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    "Definitely Must Hear/read this!"

    My fiance and I listened to this on roadtrips this summer. We fell in love with the story and were sad when it was finally over. Not a book you read just once!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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