The Hummingbird’s Daughter (2005) is the second novel by Luis Alberto Urrea, a Mexican-American novelist, poet, and essayist. The novel recounts the coming of age of Teresita, a young woman who rose from humble origins to become a renowned healer and revolutionary insurgent. Born to a poor, illiterate Indian woman and an unknown father, Teresita becomes an apprentice to an elderly healer named Huila. While studying the healing properties of plants, Teresita discovers her own unique ability to ease the pain and suffering of others. Her power quickly becomes the stuff of legend, attracting pilgrims to the ranch where she lives and drawing her into the burgeoning Mexican Revolution. Twenty years in the making, The Hummingbird’s Daughter required Urrea to conduct a vast amount of historical research. Much of this research centered on his own family. Indeed, he based the novel on the life of his own aunt, Teresa Urrea, who was a Mexican folk icon known popularly as “The Saint of Cabora.” Critics widely praised Urrea’s novel for its lyrical and sometimes dreamy storytelling style, which some connected to the Latin American tradition of magical realism. In 2006, the book won the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize for Fiction.


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