Monday, August 20, 2012

Bless Me, Ultima

We all question faith, if you deny so, you are going against your faith by lying. Just my opinion-I say breathing in a sigh and shifting my pants, sitting on my bed to write this review. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya, a prominent Hispanic literary artist, explores faith following a young boy’s transformation into a young man. Throughout the book, Antonio Marez-young boy and narrator-questions the world he lives in as he grows up in a small Hispanic American town. Oddly, it is not the Hispanic American culture that is clashing just after a recent war, but the hereditary history of his parents, his own unique heritage-his culture and family that change with age and time. Tony's feelings become torn when thinking of his future. Especially in what he will be when a grown man: a farmer, a priest, a nomadic herder like his father. But it is the wise woman, Ultima, from his father’s hometown on the golden grassy plains, that brings Tony confidence in finding his own path, his own faith, and to discover, appreciate and contemplate all there is in the world.
 There is not much more to say, I could talk about the wise curandera Ultima, an elder considered a pagan or witch though her cures are rooted deep with life energy and the earth. A natural mystical magic that is pure in essence. I could mention the town or the rolling plains or the school children and the deaths Tony witnesses. His brothers and sisters or all the wondrous scenery that Rudolfo Anaya describes through great prose. But that is not for me to describe, for Tony is to tell you about it. For he lived in a world of ups, downs, upside-down horror, down right madness and complete sadness. His journey through life is his to tell, and I can only say: Bless you on your own should you pick up this terrific read!
Rudolfo Anaya has also written Alburquerque and has won the Premio Quinto Sol, national Chicano literary award.
Next week will be my review of Milan Kundera's The Art of the Novel.

Justin Vaisnor