Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Bless Me, Ultima (original 1972; edition 1999)

by Rudolfo Anaya

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,116953,104 (3.67)62
Title:Bless Me, Ultima
Authors:Rudolfo Anaya
Info:Warner Books (1999), Edition: 0025-Anniversary, Paperback, 290 pages
Collections:Read Fiction

Work details

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya (1972)

Recently added byAmyKathleen, Selayna, private library, americancornercta, VT_IEC, Lizzbrarian, bibliophileofalls
Legacy LibrariesThomas C. Dent

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 62 mentions

English (94)  Dutch (1)  All languages (95)
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
RGG: A mystical story of 1940's chicano New Mexico; young boy as protagonist; heavy emphasis on Catholicism and questioning of belief.
  rgruberhighschool | Apr 5, 2015 |
Great book very cultural and you can really relate to it. Especially growing up in New Mexico. Many interesting characters. Sad ( )
  Chavila | Mar 12, 2015 |
Rudolfo Anaya is now recognized as one of the founders of Chicano Literature. Bless Me, Ultima took me right back to many of the things I miss about New Mexico.

Tony is six when La Grande Ultima, a curandera too old to live on her own anymore, comes to live with the Marez-Luna family. She recognizes something special in him and takes him with her when she goes to help others in the village, and on herb gathering trips. Tony soon realizes there is more than meets the eye in most situations and learns to observe what happens around him.

The big themes are mysticism vs. religion, machismo vs. courage, vendettas which take on a life of their own, and family. It seems too much for a little boy to take in, and in many ways, it is. But I never faltered in the belief that Tony would survive, and thrive, through the chaos which made for difficult situations over the course of a year.

Three brothers come home from WWII, and leave again. Tony begins training with Ultima shortly before he begins catechism training after school in the village Catholic church which causes him to question God as he mulls over the other gods he experiences. I truly love this book. ( )
  AuntieClio | Mar 6, 2015 |
Antonio is growing up during the 1940's in New Mexico. He is surrounded by family that is humble and hardworking. His most notable family member is that of the family matriarch, Ultima. She is a very respected woman and also curandera. She and Antonio share bonding moments in the book discussing old ways and complimentary styles of healing with surrounding herbs and weeds of the land. Many literary components and religious citations throughout the book. Culture, heritage, religion, family, power struggles, life and death, medicine and coming of age components to discuss with class.
Interesting that it would be good for a read aloud in a middle class but would be good to try in 5th.
NO illustrations but would love to see a picture. book. ( )
  Adrian.Gaytan | Feb 11, 2015 |
Ultima, a curandera – a sort of spiritual healer in the Mexican culture – comes to live with Antonio’s family in a small New Mexico town. She helps him to understand the world around him, both physically and spiritually, and to find his own place and purpose in it.

Much of Antonio’s struggle is rooted in the differing cultures represented in his own family. His mother is from the Luna family, farmers, people rooted and cultivated in the earth. His father is a Marez, ranchers, people who wander the earth following the wind. But on a deeper level, Antonio is confused about the spiritual element to the world. What is the essence of God? And do deities beyond the traditional notions of faith exist, ones that are tied to the natural world? Ultima guides Antonio through these conflicts and helps him begin to construct his own ideas out of all of the elements of his history and experience.

Rudolfo Anaya’s book is two things. First, [Bless Me, Ultima] is New Mexico, examining all of the conflicting extremes, both physical and spiritual, that identify the place and its people. Secondly, the book is a profoundly spiritual book. Anaya examines so many of the basic quandaries which face a person striving to live by faith, wondering, through Antonio, whether there is more than God at work in the world. The answers for Antonio are a blend of the world he can touch and the world that exists beyond, much like his own nature is a blend of the two diverse people that his parents represent.

The poetry of Anaya’s writing is on display on nearly every page. One sample, the first paragraph of the book, should be enough to hook you:

“Ultima came to stay with us the summer I was almost seven. When she came the beauty of the llano unfolded before my eyes, and the gurgling waters of the river sang to the hum of the turning earth. The magical time of childhood stood still, and the pulse of the living earth pressed its mystery into my living blood. She took my hand, and the silent magic powers she possessed made beauty from the raw, sun-baked llano, the green river valley, and the blue bowl which was the white sun’s home. My bare feet felt the throbbing earth and my body trembled with excitement. Time stood still, and it shared with me all that had been, and all that was to come.”

Bottom Line: A beautifully written book, profoundly spiritual, and perfectly in tune with the place of its birth.

4 ½ bones!!!!! ( )
1 vote blackdogbooks | Dec 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rudolfo Anayaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ramirez, RobertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Con Honor Para Mis Padres
First words
Ultima came to stay with us the summer I was almost seven.
And that is what Ultima tried to teach me, that the tragic consequences of life can be overcome by the magical strength that resides in the human heart.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Bless Me, Ultima is about a young boy named Antonio who lives in Guadalupe with his family and an old curandera, Ultima. Antonio was born into a Catholic family. As Antonio grows every day, he learns the ways of good and evil, confussion with religion, the differnce between the Marez side of the family and the Lunas side, and the ways of the river and the earth. Antonio strugles with many friends dieing because of an evil man named Tenorio. Tenorio owns three daughters who are witches. The man seeks revenge for the death of two of his daughters torwards Ultima and Antonio. He calls Ultima the brueja, or witch. This leads to Antonio's confussion with God. "Why hasn't God prevented my friends from dieing? Why did Tenorio det away with killing them? Why are you letting evil get away with out being punished? I have so many questions to ask You, but none are getting answers. Is God still alive, did he even exist?" Antonio wonders.
Cico, one of Antonios friends took him to see the golden carp pass in the river. Cico does not believe in God, but the golden carp as his god. He thinks our God is a jealous god because he does not want us to believe in any other God. Antonio wondered if the golden carp was a god of beauty.
His fathers side, Marez, is all about adventure, the wind, and the llano. The mothers side, Lunas is all about religion, the earth and staying put in one place. Antonio's mom wants him to becone a farmer or a priest, a man of learning. She brings this on Antonio alot. There always seems to be competition between the mom and dad because they are totally two different people. Antonio has a hard time deciding who he wants to be, a Marez or Luna. He finally realizes that he can be both though and learns his destiny that way. As he gets to now Ultima better he learns more of how his future will be.
Antonio goes on a journey with Ultima to help cure his uncle from the curse that one of Tenorio's daughter layed upon him. Antonio had a connection with his uncle and felt everything he felt. He learned the power that Ultima has from the curing of her herbs she uses for medicine. At the end of the story he figures out the connection with Ultima and her owl. The owl is her soul/spirit.
I would recommend this book it makes you think alot and is in depth with many things. The book has many events through each chapter that makes one want to keep reading to find out what happens next!


Rudolfo A. Anaya is the winner of the $1,000 Second Annual PREMIO QUINTO SOL national Chicano literary award. Mr. Anaya was born in New Mexico. He attended public schools in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, and was graduated from the University of New Mexico . .

writing his novel, Mr. Anaya has said: "I have been writing for the past ten years. I have written volumes of poems, stories, novels, burned some, saved a few. Out of a suitcase full I have, it seemed that ULTIMA distilled into something worthwhile. Writing is not easy . It is a lonely, and oftentimes unappreciated endeavor. But I had to keep creating, I had to keep trying to organize all the beautiful, chaotic things into some pattern. Writing is never quite learned. I have to rewrite and rewrite each manuscript before I'm satisfied. By the way, my writing is completely self-taught. I have never taken a writing course. It's easy . You just have to sit down and write, write, write, and write . . . hasta que te lleva la madre, y las almorranas."

The illustrations for BLESS ME, ULTIMA are by Dennis Martinez, also a native New Mexican, now residing in Los Angeles, California. He teaches art in the Los Angeles Public Schools.

Cover design : Octavia I. Romano-V.
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Six-year-old Antonio embarks upon a spiritual journey under the watchful guidance of Ultima, a healing woman, that leads him to question his faith and beliefs in family, religion, and other aspects of his Chicano culture.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
74 avail.
22 wanted
4 pay6 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.67)
0.5 5
1 13
1.5 2
2 24
2.5 7
3 113
3.5 30
4 149
4.5 11
5 96


2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 97,922,959 books! | Top bar: Always visible