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The Hummingbird's Daughter (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Luis Alberto Urrea

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1,058507,934 (4.15)187
Member:brinkidink
Title:The Hummingbird's Daughter
Authors:Luis Alberto Urrea
Info:Back Bay Books (2006), Edition: Reprint, Paperback
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The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea (2005)

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A sprawling, beautiful novel based on the life of "Santa" Teresa Urrea, an historical figure whose work among the poor and indigenous peoples of Sonora helped foment the Mexican Revolution. Urrea has a gift for lyrical language and page-turning narration. I also highly recommend his nonfiction book _The Devil's Highway_. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
2005, Back Bay Books/Little, Brown

Oh, what a treat you're in for if you haven't yet picked up The Hummingbird's Daughter. Written with a prose style so sharp and clean it flies along like the sprite in its title, this novel is a historical fiction piece based on a real woman.

Set during the time of the Mexican revolution, the story follows Teresita Urrea, a woman whose ability to heal others garners her the adoration reserved for saints. Starting with her early life, the narrative follows her family's upheaval as they relocate the household to a place still attacked by Apache warriors.

There the father builds their new home, expands his business, and through it all, watches helplessly as his daughter--who only late was acknowledged as his child--draws around her the people who all seek some type of healing.

Just as Teresita was denied her father's attention for the first years of her life, her teenage years are also not what might typically be found in the story of a saint. She suffers as much as any of the seekers who call her name. There are atrocities, some of which she witnesses being visited on others, and some of which are visited upon her. It is not always clear whether she will prevail.

Fortunately (for readers, anyway), there is a second book that continues this story. Urrea (the author) has also provided a glimpse into the strange and miraculous events that occurred while he researched this work; being able to read about these events arcs your thoughts back to the story and the compelling family met on these pages.

Pick this one up. You won't regret it, I promise.

5 stars!

If you'd like to read a similar novel after this one, try The Family Made of Dust: A Novel of Loss and Rebirth in the Australian Outback (formerly called Message Stick). ( )
  Laine-Cunningham | Oct 4, 2016 |
The Hummingbird's Daughter is an outstanding book. Louis Alberto Urrea's writing was simple but powerful. This is a story of a young girl, Teresa(Teresita), who becomes revered as a local saint in pre-revolutionary Mexico. I can only imagine the excitement and toll Mr. Urrea's 20 year research and writing had upon him. ( )
  WanderRoxyBooks | May 5, 2016 |
4**** and a ❤

Urrea spent two decades researching the “history” of his distant relative – Teresa Urrea, the Saint of Cabora and “Joan of Arc” de Mexico.

This fictionalized biography of Teresa has many fantastical elements. She was a curandera and known to have prophetic dreams, as well as the healer’s gift. Even as a young girl she was in demand as a midwife because she could ease the mothers’ pains.

Urrea clearly loves the subject and writes poetically. There is a large cast of characters, though, and the reader should pay attention. But, then again, these stories have been told around campfires and kitchen tables for more than a century and who knows where the truth ends and the legend begins? The result, however, is that some characters appear without reason and disappear rather suddenly. Whatever happened to Millan? What happened to Gaby? What about Loreto? And, really, what happened to Teresa for the rest of her life?

Urrea uses a lot of Spanish in the text, as well as some indigenous Indian words. He tends to translate the latter, but not the former, so the non-Spanish speaking reader will be at a distinct disadvantage.

Like most folk tales, the book has more than its share of humor, as well as tragedy, suffering, and larger-than-life magic. It is a quintessentially Mexican story. ( )
  BookConcierge | Mar 5, 2016 |
This book was everything one wants in a book, history, love, passion, holiness. I recommend this to anyone who want to lose themselves in the past and dream of a future. ( )
  crazeedi73 | Jan 30, 2016 |
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Truth is everything. Of truth I have no fear. In truth I see no shame. -- Teresita Urrea
Truth, for tyrants, is the most terrible and cruel of all bindings: it is like an incandescent iron falling across their chests. And it is even more agonizing than hot iron, for that only burns the flesh, with Truth burns its way into the soul. -- Lauro Aguirre
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On the cool October morning when Cayetana Chavez brought her baby to light, it was the start of that season in Sinaloa when humid torments of summer finally gave way to breezes and falling leaves, and small red birds skittered through the corrals, and the dogs grew new coats.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316154520, Paperback)

The prizewinning writer Luis Alberto Urrea's long-awaited novel is an epic mystical drama of a young woman's sudden sainthood in late 19th-century Mexico.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 a 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:59 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When sixteen-year-old Teresita, the illegitimate daughter of a late-nineteenth-century rancher, arises from death possessing the power to heal, she is declared a saint and finds her faith tested by the impending Mexican civil war.

(summary from another edition)

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Luis Alberto Urrea is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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