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Bless Me, Ultima Paperback – April 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books; 0025-Anniversary edition (April 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446675369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446675369
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (397 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

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. Here, however, the book gets the hardcover treatment, with a few illustrations added for color. LJ's reviewer asserted that "the novel has warmth and feeling" (LJ 2/1/73) and a place in all fiction collections, especially those serving Chicano populations.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Rudolfo Anaya is professor emeritus of English at the University of New Mexico. He was one of the first winners of the Premio Quinto Sol National Chicano literary award. Winner of the PEN Center USA West Award for Fiction for his novel Alburquerque , he is best-loved for his classic bestseller Bless Me, Ultima . His other works include Zia Summer, Rio Grande Fall, Jalamanta, Tortuga, Heart of Aztlan , and The Anaya Reader . He has also written numerous short stories, essays, and children's books, including The Farolitos of Christmas and Maya's Children .

More About the Author

Rudolfo Anaya is professor emeritus of English at the University of New Mexico. He was one of the first winners of the Premio Quinto Sol National Chicano literary award. Winner of the PEN Center USA West Award for Fiction for his novel Alburquerque, he is best-loved for his classic bestseller Bless Me, Ultima. His other works include Zia Summer, Rio Grande Fall, Jalamanta, Tortuga, Heart of Aztlan , and The Anaya Reader. He has also written numerous short stories, essays, and children's books, including The Farolitos of Christmas and Maya's Children.

Customer Reviews

Saw the movie and read the book years ago.
a gonzalez
The story of a young boy finding himself and making choices that would effect his life was another great story.
kate
Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down.
LARRY

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Vincent on September 16, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Set in NM on the border between a small village and the huge llano (plains), Bless Me, Ultima is Rudolfo Anaya's much acclaimed and award-winning coming-of-age novel from the Hispanic perspective. Antonio is torn betw his father's cowboy side of the family who ride on the llano and his mother's village and farming relations. Many conflicts are presented here: Hispanic vs American culture, Catholicism vs paganism, parents' expectations vs the child's desires, Spanish blood vs native blood.
Antonio's life is forever altered when his aunt Ultima, a curandera (healer) comes to live with the family; she teaches Antonio many things, most importantly how to gather the self-knowledge that will help carry him into adulthood.
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70 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Jorge Giraldo on February 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Bless me Ultima" is a wonderful story based on the "Chicano" or Northern New Mexico native people culture, religion, and customs that tells us about the relationship between a six year old boy called Antonio and an Old wise Lady called Ultima who is a "curandera" or healer, and how Anotonio faces a lot of difficulties and has to deal with curses, healings, dead people and mean friends and becomes a man of learning throughout his chilhood with Ultima's help.
Since the author is from Northern New Mexico and the book takes place in two real small villages called Las Pasturas and Puerto de Lunas wich are located North of New Mexico i think Rodulfo Anaya put a little bit of his life experience into the story to remark the origins of a culture that tends to dissapear as new Chicano generations come to this world which makes the book more exciting and more valuable.
I really enjoyed reading this book because i could follow the story very well considering that english is my second languaje and that i'm still having some problems with grammar and sentence structures and because i like reading mythical stories and i'm very familiar with them. Another aspect of this book that i liked and i found familiar was that New Mexican culture and Colombian and Latin Americna culture in general have a lot of things in common such as believing in ghosts, witches, curses, spirits, etc; and that the religion is the same and that there are not really too many differences within it.
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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Lauren Wu on December 2, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have just finished reading Bless Me, Ultima in my English class and I can say that it is a good choice.
The book is about a young Mexican boy, Antonio Marez, growing up in New Mexico during the mid 1940s. It begins when he is six years old, and Ultima, a curandera or healing woman, comes to live with his family because she is getting too old to live by herself. Through Ultima's gentle guidance and support, Antonio faces his uncertainties and learns to go on with life.
Antonio's parents are opposites, his father being a Marez, people of the llano (the desert land in New Mexico), and his mother being a Luna, farmers and people of the moon and the earth. His father wants Antonio to grow up free to roam the land and become a vaquero, as he once was. His mother wants Antonio to be a priest, a man of learning. Antonio is torn between them regarding his future.
Throughout the story, Antonio also faces confusion over religion and spirituality. Ultima believes in God, but she also believes and works magic. But there is no evil in Ultima and Antonio is confused over Catholicism. His mother wants him to become a priest, and though he does believe in God, he wants understanding from Him, answers to his many questions.
From a very young age, Antonio witnesses death. Death of a war-crazed man, Lupito. Death of a good family friend, Narcisco. And finally the unjust death of Ultima, killed by an evil man vowing revenge on Ultima for the death of his two daughters who were brujas (witches).
Through the trials he is faced with and the death of his beloved mentor, Ultima, Antonio learns to go on with life and leave the past behind. He realizes the power of good over evil and understands that truth is more powerful than that which is prescribed by custom.
Read more ›
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By bixodoido on March 15, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Bless Me, Ultima is ultimately a novel about belief. In Southwestern America, there are many systems of belief which compete for the devotion of an individual--Catholicism brought by the Spanish, polytheism which has existed for thousands of years, and the worship and adoration of nature itself. This book is a story of a young man, Tony, and his quest for truth. He encounters all of these systems of belief, and endures a great deal of suffering in his youth. These experiences mold him, and the book focuses on his attempt to find the great truth amidst so much hardship and among so many types of faith.

Anaya is a great storyteller, and this book certainly does not lack in action. The supernatural element is very strong, and very compelling, and the novel leaves a strong impression of unity and harmony with nature, even in the face of a very real and very powerful evil. This struggle of faith is very well represented in the book.

I do have a few objections to the book. First of all, Tony is a VERY young man, yet he seems to have a maturity level that few adults ever achieve. He speaks very correctly, and ponders things which no seven year old kid has probably ever dreamed of. Also, the actual story is sometimes a little shaky, such as when Narciso is murdered and the jury rules it a suicide (though they found no gun anywhere near where he was shot to death). These are relatively small objections, though, and do not detract from a good book.

This novel is worth reading, even if most of the characters ask questions that don't end with a question mark. Hey, no writer is perfect. It is certainly worth reading, and provides an interesting insight to the unique culture of the Southwest.
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