Excerpt from The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Hummingbird's Daughter

by Luis Alberto Urrea

The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2005, 512 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2006, 528 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Inside the shack, Cayetana found a chair and a bed frame made of wood and ropes. There was a machete under the bed. A pregnant girl from distant Escuinapa was there, waiting. Cayetana didn't know her, but she let her move in, since the girl was afraid that she would lose her infant to coyotes if she had it outside. Cayetana accepted the girl's blessing, then swung the machete a few times. She liked the big blade. She started to walk home.

The sun was already setting. She didn't like that. The dark frightened her. That road was also scary. It wound between black cottonwoods and gray willows. Crickets, frogs, night birds, bats, coyotes, and ranch dogs—their sounds accompanied her through the dark. When she had to pee—and since the child had sprouted inside her, she had to pee all the time—she squatted in the middle of the road and held the machete above her head, ready to kill any demon or bandit that dared leap out at her. An owl hooted in a tree behind her, and that made her hurry.

She came around a bend and saw a small campfire off to the side of the road. It was on the south side. That was a good omen—north was the direction of death. Or was it west? But south was all right.

A man stood by the fire, holding a wooden bowl. He was chewing, and he watched her approach. A horse looked over his shoulder, more interested in the bowl than in her. Her stomach growled and her mouth watered. She hadn't eaten in a day. She should have hidden in the bushes, but he had already seen her.

"Buenas noches," she called.

"Buenas."

"It's dark."

He looked up as if noticing the darkness for the first time.

"It is," he agreed. Then: "Don't hit me with that machete."

"I won't."

"Gracias."

"This is for bandidos."

"Ah!"

"Son cabrones," she explained. "And I'll kill the first one that tries anything."

"Excellent," he said.

"And ghosts."

He put food in his mouth.

"I don't think you can kill a ghost," he said.

"We'll see about that," she said, flashing her blade.

The small fire crackled.

"What are you eating?" she asked.

"Cherries."

"Cherries? What are cherries?"

He held one up. In the faint fire glow, it looked like a small heart full of blood.

"They come from trees," he said.

"Son malos?" she asked. "They look wicked."

He laughed.

"They are very wicked," he said.

"I am going home," she said.

"So am I."

"Is this your horse?"

"It is, but I like to walk."

Copyright © 2005 by Luis Alberto Urrea

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Hermit
    by Thomas Rydahl
    If you can be comfortable with Scandinavian noir played out against the sun-drenched backdrop of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Radium Girls
    The Radium Girls
    by Kate Moore
    In 1915, Austrian-born Sabin von Sochocky developed a luminescent paint that used radium to create a...
  • Book Jacket: Long Black Veil
    Long Black Veil
    by Jennifer Finney Boylan
    "This was a long time ago, before my first death, and none of us now are the people we were then. ...

Win this book!
Win News of the World

News of the World

A brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

Enter

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Gypsy Moth Summer
    by Julia Fierro

    One of the most anticipated books of 2017.
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T's S I Numbers

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.