Lush and dream-like, Bless Me, Ultima takes us to New Mexico in the 1940s where six-year-old Antonio Marez tests the bonds that tie him to his people and to his past. When a famous curandra, a healer, moves in with Tony’s family, he becomes emmersed in a world of the old ways, the pagan ways. For a boy that is on the cusp of making his First Holy Communion, this troubles Tony and often makes him question which God is the right God. Is it the God found in church? Or is it the old Gods, the ones that he finds all around him?
To guide him on this journey of self and of truth, the curandra or la grande, Ultima takes the boy under her wing, bringing him with her to help cure the townspeople of the curses that have plagued them. For such a young boy, Tony is exposed to many things including deep, earthly magic and even murder. He remains strong and resilient in his quest to find the truth and his rightful path.
Told with such language, description and emotion, Bless Me, Ultima is almost written magically, plunging the reader into the mystical world of New Mexico and the culture of its people.
Book Information: Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya was published originally published in 1972. This review refers to the 1994 edition published by Grand Central Publishing with ISBN 978-0446600255.
And, the book was made into a movie which was released in 2013: