When Antonio Marez is six-years-old Ultima comes to stay with his family in New Mexico. A curandera, “one who cures with herbs and magic,” Ultima takes Tony under her wing, gently guiding him as he probes “the family ties that bind and rend him” and discovers “himself in the magical secrets of the pagan past.” Considered a classic Bless Me, Ultima takes readers on an unforgettable journey.
Ultima came to stay with us the summer I was almost seven. When she came the beauty of the llano unfolded before my eyes, and the gurgling waters of the river sang to the hum of the turning earth. The magical time of childhood stood still, and the pulse of the living earth pressed its mystery into my living blood. She took my hand, and the silent, magic powers she possessed made beauty from the raw, sun-baked llano, the green river valley, and the blue bowl was the white sun’s home. My bare feet felt the throbbing earth and my body trembled with excitement. Time stood still, and it shared with me all that had been, and all that was to come…. -from Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
National Endowment for the Arts, The Big Read