Synopses & Reviews
Bless Me, Ultima
is the story of Antonio Marez and begins in the 1940s when he is just six years old. In the opening of the novel, Ultima (a curandera one who uses herbs and magic to heal) joins his family. The plot deals with Antonio's coming-of-age. Along his ordeal he has Ultima to guide him through his tough and inquisitive times. She helps him on his quest, understanding him, teaching him, guiding him, and giving him courage to face his own ordeals. Tony faces growing up under his mother, a Luna, and his father, a Marez. The Luna heritage is one of farming and priesthood, and Tony's mother dreams of him some day being a priest since there has not been one in the family for quite some time. Marez, like la Mar (the sea) from which the name comes, is ever-changing and turbulent. His father's family were vaqueros who travelled upon the llano and did not like to settle down. His father dreams of Tony joining him in heading west into California. Antonio is torn between these two forces guiding him.
The story deals with is questioning of religion, of life, and of his heritage. With Ultima giving him guidance, he faces all the forces in his life to create himself, a mesh of everything he has ever encountered.
"[T]he novel has warmth and feeling." Library Journal
A masterpiece of Hispanic literature from "one of the nation's foremost Chicano literary artists" (Denver Post). This is the involving story of Antonio, a boy facing the conflicts in his life with the help of Ultima, a curandera who cures with herbs and magic. At each turn of Tony's life, she is there to nurture his soul.
About the Author
Anaya is professor emeritus of English at the University of New Mexico.