The UNM English Department’s blog takes note that Rudulfo Anaya’s famous novel, Bless Me, Última, turns forty this year. They write, too, ” if that’s not enough reason to celebrate, the film version of the novel is scheduled for release in 2012 as well. Just last month Rudolfo Anaya received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the L.A. Times and among other things, the Times cited his debut novel, Bless Me, Ultima, as “the most widely read and critically acclaimed novel in the Chicano literary canon.” They will be celebrating Anaya’s work and this remarkable novel by staging a Reading Marathon on Monday, April 23, 2012. If you’re in the Albuquerque area, I encourage you to be a part. Rudolfo Anaya himself will read the final page when the event concludes at 5:00p.m.
I assume there’s little to tell you about Bless Me, Última. Most of you have probably read it. But on the off-chance that you haven’t already picked up this novel by Anaya, allow me to urge you now. In my words: the novel is enchanting, mesmerizing, and inspiring with writing that is at once powerfully blunt and lyrical. In the words of whoever it is who writes for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) The Big Read program, the novel is “A great book [that] combines enlightenment with enchantment. It awakens our imagination and enlarges our humanity. It can even offer harrowing insights that somehow console and comfort us.” On a more concrete level, it’s a novel about a young boy’s coming-of-age, his internal conflicts over faith and tradition, authority and independence, family and community.
If you haven’t read the novel yet, I encourage you to check it out from your local library and then go back to the NEA’s website, where you’ll find a Readers Guide, Teacher’s Guide, Audio Guide, Films, and information in Spanish. Everything you need (and then some) is there to help you delve deeply into the book. Or you can do what I did – decide it’s finally time to sit down, grab the book from the shelf, and immerse yourself in silence for a few hours. Either way, I imagine you won’t regret it.