"Alburquerque is 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 of The Milagro Beanfield War: A Novel
". . . Alburquerque portrays a quest for knowledge. . . . [It] is a novel about many cultures intersecting at an urban, power-, and politics-filled crossroads, represented by a powerful white businessman, whose mother just happens to be a Jew who has hidden her Jewishness, . . . and a boy from the barrio who fathers a child raised in the barrio but who eventually goes on to a triumphant assertion of his cross-cultural self."--World Literature Today
"Alburquerque fulfills two important functions: it restores the missing R to the name of the city, and it shows off Anaya's powers as a novelist."--Alan Cheuse, National Public Radio
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 founder of modern Chicano literature. According to the New York Times, he is the most widely read author in Hispanic communities, and sales of his classic Bless Me, Ultima (1972) have surpassed 360,000, despite the fact that none of his books have been published originally by New York publishing houses. His works are standard texts in Chicano studies and literature courses around the world, and he has done more than perhaps any other single person to promote publication of books by Hispanic authors in this country. With the publication of his novel, Albuquerque (1992),Newsweek has proclaimed him a front-runner in "what is better called not the new multicultural writing, but the new American writing." His most recent volume, published in 1995, is Zia Summer.
"I've always used the technique of the cuento. I am an oral storyteller, but now I do it on the printed page. I think if we were very wise we would use that same tradition in video cassettes, in movies, and on radio."
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 literature, so it would be interesting to see if that's a theme that carries over to other novels in the genre of if this is an outlier.
Ich habe das Buch gelesen, weil wir ein Aufgabenblatt mit Fragen dazu bekommen haben und hätte sonst nicht danach gegriffen, um ehrlich zu sein(weil ich Chicano Literatur auch nicht kannte vorher...). Es war eine interessante Geschichte über einen jungen Mann, der erfährt, dass er adoptiert wurde und dann auf die Suche nach seinem leiblichen Vater geht. Dabei verheddert er sich in der dreckigen Politik New Mexico's. Ich hatte einige Probleme mit dem Buch, Sexismus war eines davon. Die männlichen Charaktere, aber auch die weiblichen Charaktere kennen weder Skrupel, noch Loyalität und können ihren Partner:innen absolut nicht treu sein. Vor allem Frank Dominic war einfach ekelerregend, dennoch war es angenehm zu lesen, dass er am Ende das bekommen hat, was er verdient. Insgesamt ein interessantes Buch und ich denke, dass eine Hausarbeit über toxic masculinity und Sexismus mit Fokus auf Frank Dominic als Repräsentant beider Themen sicherlich nicht uninteressant zu schreiben und/oder lesen wäre...
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.
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 mother dies with the secret. Parts of the story were predictible, but that didn't take away from the beauty of this novel. Please read this book. If you haven't been to New Mexico, you will ache to go. If you are from New Mexico, you will long to know it the way Anaya does.
I picked up this one (actually bought the e-book years ago and never got around to it!) as prep for this year's (2023) Santa Fe Literary Festival where we plan to attend a Rudolfo Anaya tribute. As many, I had only read Anaya's classic 'Bless Me Ultima,' so I was curious to read something else from him -- especially given his legendary status in my home state of New Mexico.
While Anaya's multi-cultural charm and the spirit of the Land of Enchantment is infused in this story of a young man's discovery that he was adopted and how that news gets entangled with the Albuquerque political scene, but overall it felt a bit dated and cheesy. Anaya nails the Hispanic male characters, but the white men and women feel like caricatures at times (particularly, the women vying for the attention of protagonist Abran).
That said, it was still a pleasant and easy read and more accessible if you may have found Anaya's magical realism a bit too much in 'Ultima' - though there is still a bit a mysticism and spirituality here, but again that's just part of New Mexico. Glad I read it, tho maybe it has tempered my expectations re: future Anaya reads. 3.5 stars with a Goodreads round-down to 3.
(BTW, the book's title uses Albuquerque original spelling -- the first 'r' dropped when non-natives arrived and couldn't pronounce it!)
Anaya's writing astounds. the language sweeps across the page like a wave, and you as a reader are brought in and out like a tide. Leaving this book is hard, not because I felt connected to the characters or the plot, but because I never wanted to step out from his ocean.
Yet, I did. This is my second Anaya novel I have finished. Undeniably talented, this novel weaves personal growth, identity, and politics into a narrative about a boy discovering he is adopted. Anaya paints a beautiful picture of New Mexico here, depicting the mesh of Mexican, Spanish, and Pueblo Native American history that make up the city. It made me miss New Mexico all the more.
That being said, the plot felt flat and I did not feel connected to the characters. So, upon leaving this book I was sad to leave but it's not a story that will take permanent residence in my memory. Life will go on and this book will leave my mind too.
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.
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.
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, follows the typical trajectory of a hero's quest in a novel. The hero is trying to find out who his father is,. The reader finds out who his father is very early in the book, and so any suspense that might have been built around that part of the story is wasted.
I found that the scene about slaughtering pigs felt unnecessary, and brutal to visualize. I don't feel that scene contributed anything essential to the story and my empathy was entirely with the animals who were being slaughtered.
We don't really get to know the characters in depth. They seem to exist to move the plot forward, but did not become complex human beings who are revealed to the reader in a way that the reader can learn to deeply care about them.
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 of New Mexico and life living in the Southwest. I do recommend it but the book will only appeal to those who enjoy books set in the Southwest and exploring conflicting and balancing cultures.
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 Western area.
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.
The story is pretty good but it’s appeal is parochial and the Audible reader has all the local accents wrong; the natives in this area do have a distinct sound, but they don’t sound like people who recently crossed the border. The Pueblo’s accent is completely off.
Anaya’s depiction of the conflicts in this story sound borrowed from John Nichols’, “Milagro Beanfield War,” which, on its face sounds ok, but it is a haggard line.
The sex is gratuitous and I could never imagine a Norteño talking to a future son-in-law about having sex with a “bear.”. moreover, I would never imagine parents condoning - even encouraging their daughter’s premarital sex with her suitor.
Abran and Lucinda’s almost immediate falling in love is incredulous at best and bullshit at worst. Anaya dipped his toe too far into fantasy when he should have developed that part of the storyline.
While this story hints at magical realism, it lacks sufficient depth to make any of the allusions credible.
I absolutely disagree with the portrayal of women in this book. They seemed weak and apologetic. Anaya had an opportunity to develop the characters but instead opted to make females susceptible rather than resourceful. The “strong” female characters came across more as tokens rather than character studies. What a missed opportunity.
Moreover, Anaya completely glazed over New Mexico Latino’s often blatant bigotry toward Mexicans (from Mexico) Anglos, Jews, and Native Americans. Contrary to his descriptions to the contrary. we NM Latinos can be insular, cruel and bigoted.
And, for that time period, New Mexicans never referred to their communities as “barrios.” That was tantamount to them embracing being “Mexican.”. Call any Native Latino a Mexican in those days, and you would have a fight on your hands. But this is a story fir another day. suffice it to say that Anaya painted everyone with a slightly too gratuitous paint brush.
Because of that, this story and it’s sloppiness run the risk of being a pastiche; so much more could have developed such that it would have stood as a standard for a new genre, but it went the easy route. and the story paid for it.
One of the great joys of reading fiction is when you get a novel that makes want to read on after you finished it. There are a lot of novels I have enjoyed reading, but once I close the book or eBook (these days) then I'm done with it. Well, Alburquerque by Rudolfo Anaya is one of those few novels I wanted to continue reading on after completing the last page.
It is the story of Abran Gonzalez, a young boxer from Alburquerque who is brought to the hospital to see his biological mother, Cynthia Johnson, for the first time. Johnson is a wealthy Anglo artist and reveals on her deathbed to Abran that she is his mother. Abran learns his mother had a relationship with an unknown Mexican man that his grandfather wanted to be kept a secret. Abran is determined to find out who is his biological father and his actual identity.
His journey takes him into the world of city politics, big business, and puts his love to the test with a young woman whom he believes she is soulmate. Anaya writes a love letter to his hometown of Alburquerque (this is the original spelling of the city's name before the first "R" was dropped) and brings the city's tri-cultural heritage of Indian, Hispanic, and Anglo to light.
I lived in Albuquerque for five years from March 1998 to September 2003 and reading Anaya's novel brought back a lot of memories and why I will always have a special place for the Duke City. Also, I knew about the desire from businessman and politicians to make Albuquerque a great city of the Southwestern United States and on the same stage as Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Denver. Anaya does a superb job highlighting Albuquerque's place as the big city in New Mexico, and its rivalry with Santa Fe (I lived there for 4 years).
Rudolfo Anaya is known for his modern classic, Bless Me, Ultima, and rightly so. I would add that Alburquerque is his other influential novel and deserves to be widely read. We are in the midst of Latinx Heritage Month and I would highly recommend Albuquerque as a must read.
Anaya knows how to craft a narrative. His descriptions of the natural world are beautiful. He gets his reader invested in his characters deeply. This book especially shows the "before" and, if not "after," then evolution-in-transit of Albuquerque being repossessed and commercialized by modern-day colonial forces. We also see certain characters return to their ancestral roots, or, in some cases, appropriated roots (colonialism factors into fictionalized ties to Spanish nobility versus Mexican/indigenous/Jewish roots). Like some other reviewers, I wasn't as sure what to make of the placement of the female characters, as they all oriented around Abran's life (but then again, it's mainly his and his antagonist's story). It wasn't a dealbreaker for me, as the novel's many narrative strengths signified why Alburquerque, like Bless Me, Ultima, bears the same resonance of an American classic.
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 society of America's Southwest.
Even though Anaya was teaching at The University of New Mexico when I was there, I did not meet him and this is the first of his novels that I've read. I loved it! Characters, setting, unraveling of the plot--all were very satisfying. Here's a quote from one of the characters, Ben Chavez II: "Each small event in life has a meaning . . . each event connects us to the web of life. Strands of the past return to haunt us; the past is never dead."
A real love letter to Albuquerque! The characters feel authentic to the city and are a beautiful tapestry of stories that come together in that "big city, small town" feel unique to ABQ. I honestly wish it was longer so the characters could have been deeper and more fleshed out, instead of the sort of vignette feel, but I'd absolutely recommend to anyone who has a tie to Albuquerque.
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.
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.
Really fun to read about where one is living, always. Got a little telenovela vibes from this toward middle and end. Kind of lost the mysticism it cultivated in the first half. Really engaging, though. Loved the food descriptions and the descriptions of them hiking.
This book, while being one in a stack that I had to read in a very short amount of time, was incredibly interesting. Anaya's writing style, and the use of imagery in relation to New Mexican geography and environment, makes me look outside and see the beauty of the place where I grew up. The characters are well written, with different motivations and stories for everyone that, while sometimes sounding similar, are wildly unique. There were some places that were more difficult to get through than others, but only in terms of what was being discussed. The poetry reading toward the end of the book was a little difficult to understand, and without my professor having told my class, I doubt that I would have been able to understand it at all in the end. The questionable places where Ben sees characters from his stories in real life, even going as far as to introduce them to Abran, but whether or not they are actually real is up in the air. This certain part of magical realism is key to Anaya's texts, but I found this part more difficult and out of place with the rest of the story. However, whatever problems I had with this book, it did not take away from the point that I really liked reading it, and I would read it again.
"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." Pg. 242
"The crypto Jews of New Mexico Johnson thought. They converted at the point of the Spanish Inquisition's sword and lived within the embrace of the New Mexican Catholic world for centuries. But what is in the blood is not forgotten, nor forgiven."
"Beans, potatoes, mutton, tortillas, goat cheese from Isleta, squash and corn, and all smothered in hot chile. Green in the summer and red in the winter, the chile was always there, burning its way down his gullet into his stomach. It cleaned him out...born again on New Mexican chile---It's something these newcomers can't understand, he thought." Pg. 225
"Hope springs eternal in the fisherman's breast, he thought. Hope springs eternal in la raza, even though we're the más chingados hijos de Dios. We keep hope alive." Pg. ??
"Your mother is dying and you are being born," She said. Her words sent a chill thought Abrán. "Come to me when you want to know the truth." "What truth?" he asked. "Tu eres tú," she said... "Who is La Llorona?" he had asked Sara when he was a child. "We, the mothers of the world, are the crying women, because we cry when our children suffer," Sara had answered. "Every woman is a Llorona." Pg. 23(?)
[Doña Loneliness whispered " This is the hour of la bruja, La Llorona de Rio Grande. This is the hour of lonely hearts." Pg. 219]
I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. The writing was very powerful in places, always strongest when focused on the land and New Mexico. The individual scenes were also beautifully crafted. The fight scene in the bar, Abrán at his mother’s bedside. I have read some criticisms that the female characters were one dimensional but for me all the characters felt underdeveloped although I would agree that female characters were reduced to bit parts and background supporters. It was a very linear storyline and the good guys and bad guys seemed to have been assigned their parts from the beginning. It just seemed constrained somehow, as if there was a better book in there but it just wasn’t coming out. This is my first Rudolfo Anaya novel and I will try others but this was just a so so for me.
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 younger. I will try his other books, though, as his voice is an important one.