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Customer Review

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magical, mystical allegory, April 17, 2009
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This review is from: The Hummingbird's Daughter (Paperback)
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 more 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 more 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.
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 17, 2009 2:23:01 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 9, 2009 8:56:24 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2009 6:11:16 AM PDT
Eagle Vision says:
Great review. I will have to get this one for my wife.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2009 5:57:03 PM PDT
just kath says:
Marilyn is right.. fantastic writing !

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2009 3:41:01 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 9, 2009 8:56:11 AM PDT]

Posted on Jun 3, 2009 2:28:55 AM PDT
Hi, I just got this book in the mail. It looks wonderful. As soon as I catch up on some things, I plan to start this book. Bonnie

Posted on Jun 20, 2009 9:53:10 PM PDT
TrulyJan says:
Yet another excellent review, switterbug! I'm going to be ordering this one
soon and plan to put it on top of my TBR pile. It sounds wonderful :-).

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2009 5:44:49 PM PDT
Thank you, J.K. and Bonnie for your kind words. This book will make you soar! BTW, I saw a hummingbird today, outside my house. A green one.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2009 2:37:02 AM PDT
Hi Bug, I am about to start this book tomorrow. It looks formidable but your review has made me want to read it. By the way, just a little editorial suggestion for your review - I think you mean 'comprehends' when you say 'apprehends'. I'll keep you posted on my reading. Haven't read too much I'd rave about lately. I'm really looking forward to reading a great book. Bonnie

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2009 1:16:14 PM PDT
TrulyJan says:
Well, I finally got my TBR pile down enough to order this book. It's on its
way and I can't wait to dive into it.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 31, 2009 7:22:10 PM PDT
J,K.--let me know how you like it--no, I mean--LOVE it!
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