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Publisher's Summary

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, 1974 Rodolfo Anaya (P)2004 Recorded Books LLC

Critic Reviews

"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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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Modern classic - but prepare to think

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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Simple story that reminds us of our Spiritual root

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Mysticism, Catholicism, Naturalism

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Southwestern classic

My favorite all time book. Recommended reading for anyone living in the SW who wants to learn more about the cultural traditions of the area. Great read for those interested in SW culture, spirituality, religion, naturalists, dream symbology, family...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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One Word: Excellent

This was a great book. there are many literary elements that can be explored as well as a deep culture that is explored by the author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Such An Experience

I had to read this for an assignment. I finished the assignment before I finished the audiobook, and I went back to finish the book. I absolutely loved this. I'm glad to have had the chance to visit the world of Antonio Marez and to understand the trials he has gone through to become a man.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Story, Awesome Narration

This was a very beautiful, philosophical story. I enjoyed the magical realism & the bond between Antonio & Ultima. The narration was superb. One of the best I've heard by far.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    out of 5 stars

Wonderful Reading of a Great Novel

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Bilingual Treasure!

At first I wondered why so much of the book is in Spanish. I understand the Spanish, but what about other listeners? Did the translator slack off? No, the book was written like this, and a Spanish translation is available. The author was born in the USA and spoke Spanish at home. As the book is a masterpiece, beautifully written, it is well worth the trouble to get a print copy and a Spanish dictionary and look up the Spanish. Then listen again to Robert Ramirez's beautiful narration. It's not too slow! It's quite perfect. . . . The first two hours gave me some long thoughts about the Mexican kids I grew up with in Bakersfield, California, Alfonso Valdez carrying his flute every day, Elvira's sparkly earrings and sparkly eyes. Then being stationed in Madrid, working in San Francisco beside a great mix of people. And now collecting hugs in the library, hearing Spanish at church, I hesitate to use my doubtful Spanish because I know their English is as good as mine -- or better! Still, on meeting strangers, admiring a baby, asking the whereabouts of Padre Mauricio, a few words can help a lot. Whatever the second language, our understanding of the spoken word is many times better than the words we can come up with. . . . In this book, I love how the wise little boy is observing very adult events and growing in love and respect toward the wise old woman, Ultima, who comes to live with his family. She is a healer; she knows herbs and healing and spells. Some would call her a white witch, doing good works, all love. AND NOW I WILL ASK FOR A REFUND BECAUSE DESPITE LONG WORK WITH AN AUDIBLE TECHIE, THIS BOOK JAMS MY IPOD USING FORMAT 4. I WILL HAVE TO GET THE PRINT BOOK. !Que lastima!

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I've loved this book since high school.

This has always been a favorite book. I no longer have time to sit and read, so I love that I can listen any time.