Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Hummingbird's Daughter

by Luis Alberto Urrea

The author, at the end of this work of wonderous and beautiful fiction, this history, tells us it is the result of 20 years of historical and cultural research for the this book. It is the story of Teresa Urrea, also known as The Saint of Cabora. It is a story that was carried down through his family for many generations.

It takes you from the days before her birth, a fatherless child, in a hut with a dirt floor through her childhood, her life and so much more. This is a work of history, of spirituality and religion, of war, love hate and betrayal. It is a story of God, and healing and deep humanity.

Teresita, as she was called was eased from her mother's womb by Huila, a midwife and healer. At the moment of her birth, she was recognized as a gifted child. One who would be a healer in her own right, in the years to come.

Abandoned by her mother, she lived a life of poverty and abuse with her mothers sister and that sister's own children. It was only after an episode of extreme abuse that Huila took the child under her own protection, and saw to it that her life would be eased. Huila not only looked into her eyes and saw a gifted girlchild, but knew who her father had been.

Circumstances forced her to leave the only home she had ever know, and follow Don Tomas' Urrea to a new home, and a new life. Her aunt chose another path, which freed her to live with Huila, whom she learned to love and respect. Huila was free to become the teacher the child Teresita was waiting for.

The words to describe the terrible beauty of this book fail me. It is a book filled with love, with hate, with food and music, with worship and heresy ( but not where you expect it to be). It is a tale of opportunities, war , betrayal and martyrdom, joy and earthiness. This is a book that should sit on a shelf in every readers home. It is one to read again and again. IT is a book with no need for a sequel, as to read it again is to read more, learn more and see more.