The Hummingbird's Daughter: Summary and book reviews of The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea, plus links to an excerpt from The Hummingbird's Daughter and a biography of Luis Alberto Urrea.
The Hummingbird's Daughter
by Luis Alberto Urrea
Hardcover: May 2005,
Paperback: Apr 2006,
From one of America's most beloved authors, a tale
of miracles and passion
Teresita is not an ordinary girl. Born of an illiterate, poor
Indian mother, she knows little about her past or her future. She
has no idea that her father is Don Tomas Urrea, the wild and rich
owner of a vast ranch in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. She has no
idea that Huila, the elderly healer who takes Teresita under her
wing, knows secrets about her destiny. And she has no idea that
soon all of Mexico will rise in revolution, crying out her name.
When Teresita is but a teenager, learning from Huila the way
plants can cure the sick and prayer can move the earth, she
discovers an even greater gift: she has the power to heal. Her
touch, like warm honey, melts pain and suffering. But such a gift
can be a burden, too. Before long, the Urrea ranch is crowded with
pilgrims and with agents of a Mexican government wary of anything
that might threaten its power.
A spectacular novel as grand as a western sunset, The
Hummingbird's Daughter is the story of a girl coming to terms
with her destiny, with the miraculous, and with the power of faith.
It is the tale of a father discovering what true love is and a
daughter recognizing that sometimes true love requires true
sacrifice. Full of cowboys and outlaws, Indian warriors and cantina
beauties, silly men who drink too much and desert women who in
their dreams travel to the seashore, The Hummingbird's Daughter
is Luis Urrea's majestic masterpiece, the story of one girl's life
and the swollen heart of all Mexico.
The Washington Post - Joanne Omang
To the very end, The Hummingbird's Daughter is a book of surprises and savory treasures. Urrea's much-praised recent work, The Devil's Highway, was a journalistic re-creation of the deaths of 14 Mexicans who crossed illegally into the U.S. southern desert in 2001. He has loosened his expressive reportorial skills to write lyrical fiction, and we can only be grateful.
Library Journal - Lawrence Olszewski
... though he excels at describing the atmosphere of a familiar world, the dialog is often stilted, and the telling of the insurrection and miracles lacks conviction.
Only at the end does Urrea fully evoke Teresita's incandescent spiritual power-that, otherwise, is a mildly engaging look at life on a prerevolutionary Mexican ranch, with amusingly irreverent touches.
Starred Review. Urrea effortlessly links Teresita's supernatural calling to the turmoil of the times, concealing substantial intellectual content behind effervescent storytelling and considerable humor.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Risa The first half is great... Generally, I enjoyed The Hummingbird's Daughter. The characters are (mostly) full and compelling, and the first half of the book is especially rich in detail and sharp prose. My one complaint is that the second half of the novel - which contains... Read More
Urrea (pronounced oo-RAY-ah) was born in Tijuana, Mexico. His father was Mexican, his
mother from New York. When he was three his family moved
to San Diego where he grew up and attended college. He
currently teaches at the University of Illinois (Full
The Hummingbird's Daughter is based on the real-life story of his
Great Aunt Teresita, the 'Saint of Cabora'. She was born
in 1873 to a 14-year-old Indian girl impregnated by
a local rancher. Raised in poverty by an abusive aunt she
managed to learn music and to read and also exhibited
great healing powers. At 16 she was raped and lapsed
into a coma and was declared dead, but at her wake she
sat up alive and well. Thousands of pilgrims came to
visit her even though the Catholic...
From award-winning author Megan Chance, Bone River is a haunting, lyrical tale of passion and identity.
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