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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  917 ratings  ·  81 reviews
Abran Gonzalez is a homeboy from the barrio, a young boxer whose world is shattered forever the night he is summoned to his mother's deathbed. He learns he is the son of an unknown Mexican man--a man he is desperately compelled to find. His quest will bring him in contact with many unpleasant characters.
Paperback, 293 pages
Published September 1st 1994 by Grand Central Publishing (first published August 1st 1992)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  917 ratings  ·  81 reviews

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Dec 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for a class called Life and Literature of New Mexico. Rudolfo Anaya is a powerful Chicano writer and his book, Bless Me, Ultima is one of my favorites. I thought much of the character development and dialogue in this book ran on the shallow side but the themes of multiculturation and the intermingling of past and present are forefront in this book. This is a must read if you appreciate Southwest or Chicano lit.
Jun 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, arc
3.5/5 I'm a little mixed on how I feel about this one. While I did enjoy all of the cultural aspects of the book from the rights of Native Americans to growing up mixed race, I didn't really care for the way the female characters were portrayed. Their only purpose seemed to be guiding the men along and supporting them. Even though there are several potentially strong female characters, they all seem to be diminished or demeaned by men in one way or another. I haven't really read a lot of Chicano ...more
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my second book written by Rudolfo Anaya and it was just as gripping as the first. His word-weaving is beautiful. So talented. Anaya has the ability to make the milti-cultural setting of New Mexico come alive in such a way that I wish I could see it the way he does. New Mexico is alive in his words. And I've never felt that way before - being from there. This is the story of a young man who finds out he was adopted and goes on a journey to discover who his father is when his biological ...more
So the reviews I read hailed this book as vastly superior to "Bless Me, Ultima" boy were they wrong. The book wasn't nearly as dense or complex. The characters were likable but fairly underdeveloped. The ending was too happy and the book was predictable overall. However, I did enjoy the book- books don't have to be classic literature to be good. I learned a bit about Alburquerque and it's history. I also felt connected to the truth of the book it was very believable and related to my knowledge ...more
Susan Ray
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a big fan of Tony Hillerman and am pleased to rediscover Rudolfo Anaya. Don't let any less than favorable reviews keep you from reading this book. I found the descriptions colorful and the characters interesting. While some reviews thought the ending was predictable, I found the journey worth it.
What struck me about this book repeatedly is how weak the female characters are. They only seem to exist to serve men, in a man's world. They can be mothers, they can be sources of inspiration, they can be spiritual guides, they can be lovers- and yet their function in this book is about how they are of service to men. The way the author repeatedly talks about women bearing children for men, as if they were vessels of procreation and not full human beings, is disconcerting.

The story, itself,
Dec 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
The protagonist, Abran, learns at age 21,that he was adopted by a hard working, moderately poor hispanic couple. He meets his biological mother, a talented Albuquerque artist, on her death bed, but who was his father? Thus begins Abran's search. It leads into the politics of Alburquerque, across its ethnic boundaries, and travels through the mixture of Native American, Hispanic, and white myths, religions, and traditions. The story makes for a thought provoking journey through the complex ...more
Jeremy Espinoza
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I may be a bit biased in my review. I am a Native New Mexican, and no other writer captures the spirit of New Mexico quite like Rudolfo Anaya. The racial divisions in Abq, both geographically and economically and the love that can bridge those divisions are the main theme of this story. The story is awash with the rich and unique culture of New Mexico, and stirred-up deep memories in me, of my history.
Jun 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Open Road Integrated Media for reissuing this classic book about a young man’s journey to discover his true heritage and identity. Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo myths, folklore, and traditions are expertly woven into this captivating story. As someone who grew up in the Southwest, I appreciate novels that accurately portray this mix of cultures, and Anaya’s books are some of the best.
Ryan Mishap
Nov 03, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
Good people driven story marred by cheesy "must knowmy father" business and a too-male point of view.
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Trust the people," Ben whispered. "New Mexicans love a fiesta, especially when there's free tacos and booze, but in the morning they are pragmatists." Pg. 275

"Ben Chavez nodded. Yes, once you deliver a soul into the world it re-enters the cycle of creation." Pg. 257

"Eufemia was a study of the old Mexican matriarch. She never left don Manuel's side and listened closely to everything that was said. Later, in the privacy of their home, she rendered her opnion. Then it was don Manuel who listened."
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book again as an adult, having fond memories of this writer when I was young. I found it to generally be a good book, but it was a bit unsatisfying. It read a bit like a boy fantasy rather than legitimate coming of age story. It is about variety of things, but mainly a young man who discovers he is adopted and is searching for his father. But everything felt to be a bit clumsy of a simile, and overall this was not what I had remembered the writer being when I had read him while ...more
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a novel of a young man who finds out he is adopted when his mother reveals this when she dies. He searches for his father, and through the search finds love, political entanglements, and friendships. The writer incorporates the culture of the area - Mexican, Indian, Spanish and mixture of many of them. I found it fast paced and I didn't want to put it down. At times the writing was quite symbolic. I would like to read more by this author. I enjoy learning about the cultures of the ...more
John Benson
This is a novel of a young boxer, Abran Gonzalez, who meets his birth mother the night of her death, but is not told who his birth father is. The book details his search for his birth father amidst a sleazy Albuquerque mayoral race and his romance with Lucinda. While the plot is interesting, I felt that many of the characters were just archetypes. I found that disappointing. Not as strong as BLESS ME, ULTIMA.
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It had everything a book needs: a mystery- who is Abran’s father? A few dirty politics- who is going to be mayor? As well as a little love story- who is Abran going to choose? It was a fantastic read. I did have a challenge with the bit of Spanish in the book, because I don’t speak it read Spanish. However, there wasn’t that much and it usually came in context.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the book and liked reading a story set in ABQ. Familiar locations and streets made it come alive moreso than it might otherwise. The plot centers on a young man's search for his birth father. In this searching, he winds up as a pawn in the politics of the city & begins to lose touch with what he had considered important.
3.5 stars. Anaya writes captivating stories and I love the New Mexican history and folklore. The quality of writing in this book isn’t his best. Some of the dialogue is stilted and pedestrian. Nevertheless, a fun, quick read by a State and National treasure.
Dalvina Chin
Everything happened so fast in this book. I was left with a ???? sort of feeling more than once. I feel like if this book were longer, it would have given more time for the characters to develop. They feel a little bit bland.
Nihar Gokhale
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A powerful story of change, memory and redemption among the Hispanic people of New Mexico. From knowing nothing about them I now feel their history as if it's mine. The narrative seemed dry at first but it's a style that eventually grew on me. Looking forward to reading more Anaya.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sweet and beautiful and full of love. Makes me want to read everything he’s written. And makes me very grateful to our high school teaches for making us read Bless Me, Última.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Anaya is in the top three of my favorite authors. His books about New Mexico tradition and superstition bring my childhood back to me.
Randy Mcbride
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written. Good story. Provided a informative look at what has take place as the cultures in the region have mingled together.
Rick Parker
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Anaya gives us a fictional taste of life in the socially-striated Albuquerque, New Mexico toward the end of the 20th century.
Juliette Mccoy
3.5 stars ...more
Zoe Brooks
This is one of nine of Anaya's books republished as ebooks by Open Road Media. Anaya is best known for his novel Bless Me, Ultima. Open Road are to be applauded for bringing more books by this Chicano magic-realist author back into circulation and I welcome the opportunity to read and review his work again

The book's themes are familiar ones - a young man trying to find out who he is, corporate and political corruption and abuse of the environment, a love interest, the contrast between the old
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classy-fiction, race
I read Rudolof Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima as part of an ethnic literature class I took as an undergraduate and remember being very impressed by the book, a coming of age story with a strong connection to what it means to be Hispanic/Latino/indigenous in the Southwest, plus some cool magical realism thrown in for good measure. It's a great book I have recommended to others.

Sadly, Alburquerque (the title intentionally includes the "r" that was dropped from the city's name in order to make it easier
This story of Abran Gonzalez, a former Gold Gloves boxer, who learns that he was adopted and meets his birth mother on her death bed is a fascinating account of his journey to find his true identity. Not only does Abran see his mother before she passes away, he becomes involved in a tangled web of politics and urban development that ensnares many people, including his girlfriend, his best friend and running partner and family members from both his biological and adopted families.

The story
Audrey Schoeman
Before picking up Alburquerque, I had never heard of Rudolf Anaya, apparently one of the fathers of Chicano literature. I’ll admit, in fact, that I even had to google the meaning of Chicano (for the equally uninformed, it is a name chosen by the Mexican-American community). The book, originally published in 1992, tells the story of a young Chicano man, Abram, who one day receives a letter from a dying woman telling him that she is his birth mother. His world is shaken by this discovery and he ...more
Apr 08, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was really disappointed with Alburquerque, especially because I am obsessed with the Southwest (where generations of my family are from) and because Bless Me, Ultima is one of my very favorite books! I still enjoyed the cultural aspects of the novel, including the historical perspective on how the city has developed, the politics, and the whole Southwest feel. I like the theme of self-discovery and always enjoy the spirituality interwoven through Anaya's work. However, I felt like the writing ...more
Kent Miller
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Alburquerqueis a rich and tempestuous book, full of love and compassion, the complex and exciting skullduggery of politics, and the age-old quest for roots, identity, family. . . . There is a marvelous tapestry of interwoven myth and magic that guides Anaya's characters' sensibilities, and is equally important in defining their feel of place. Above all, in this novel is a deep caring for land and culture and for the spiritual well-being of people, environment, landscape."--John Nichols, author ...more
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Rudolfo Anaya lives and breathes the landscape of the Southwest. It is a powerful force, full of magic and myth, integral to his writings. Anaya, however, is a native Hispanic fascinated by cultural crossings unique to the Southwest, a combination of oldSpain and New Spain, of Mexico with Mesoamerica and the anglicizing forces of the twentieth century. Rudolfo Anaya is widely acclaimed as the ...more
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