I love historical fiction in which the author creates a full-bodied story from detailed historical research. And I loved not knowing it was based on a real person until I finished the book and read the afterword. The only drawback I see in this story is my lack of understanding Spanish kept me from enjoying the story to the fullest. Usually, I was able to pick out the meaning of the Spanish words from the context. Even though I’ve traveled in Mexico, I’ve had trouble understanding how people could believe in living “saints”. This story helped me put that belief in miraculous healing in historical context. Diaz was not kind to the native Mexicans or mestizos. His policy of violence provided the background to the miraculous healing power of a young illegitimate girl who finally receives the blessing of her landowning father and his support in her healing and ministrations to the poor.
I’ve had a vague sense in other Mexican novels of the significance Mexicans' attribute to the mystic and magic. But this book really helped me to see how all-encompassing it is … how their sense of oneness with their gods and saints is embedded in their culture. And I appreciated that. This quote demonstrates it in a wry way: "Some thought the owls were witches. Some thought they were angels of death. Some thought they were holy and brought blessings. Some thought they were the restless spirits of the dead. The cowboys thought they were owls."
Urrea’s writing is completely captivating as he creates fully alive characters and explores the story of his great-aunt as a young woman, set against the far-reaching history of Mexico a hundred years ago. Not only was it a page-turner, but I learned a lot about the people and their history in the process.
My grandmother gave me this book as a graduation present, because she knows how much I like One Hundred Years of Solitude, and this book shares that Latin American magical realism thing in common with 100YS. There was some magical realism in this novel, but not nearly as much as 100YS. This is somewhat more of a historical fiction novel. I didn't like the sort of Greek chorus like thing of calling back to the "people", but the principal characters were great so that's a minor quibble. Overall a unique and glorious tale of a powerful female protagonist in pre-revolutionary Mexico.
Beautifully written. He captures the history of the times leading up to of the Mexican revolution and the mistreatment of the native population, without spouting political rhetoric. All told with great compassion.
So glad he is coming back to the Tucson Festival of Books! I went to a few of his talks last year and they were great!
This is my new all time favorite book, Urrea... what a stunning author. He knows his history. It is a must read. If I were teaching literature I would put it on my list.
From our 2015 #80DayRead Adult Summer Reading Club traveler Jocelyn: Excellent! Engaging story of Mexico's revolution through the eyes of a young girl to woman who is gifted with the spiritual sense of the country.
Good story and beautifully written. I am looking forward to reading the sequel to this book.
I love this book, not only because I was able to learn about the Mexican Revolution, but also because I was able to understand how much Teresita (The main character of the story) is willing to do in order to survive after her mother left her when she was little with her aunt. Not only did she suffered because she didn't have her mother's love, but also she finds out a big secret that not only is going to change her life completely, but she's going to find a person that is going to help her in anything and also is going to love her in a positive way.
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