Now, a Literary Moment...
Margarite Fernandez Olmos: There's something about Rudolfo Anaya's generosity of spirit. You fall in love with the work because you fall in love with Rudolfo Anaya. He's drawing you in, and making you love the Chicano culture of New Mexico.
That culture is at the heart of Rudolfo Anaya's first novel, Bless Me Ultima.
Critic Margarite Fernandez Olmos says it's easy to fall in love with Anaya's characters -- like Ultima herself, a midwife and healer.
Margarite Fernandez Olmos: Early in the book, Ultima delivers a baby boy. As the boy grows older, she teaches him about medicinal herbs, and takes him along as she performs magical cures …
We all know that she's called a witch, but she can get things done. She's the kind of person that you wish would have moved into your house to solve things. Maybe take us out into nature, and shown us, 'Look, this is the way you can fix this cure, you can help this problem, you can go back and take care of your community.' We all wish we had a lady like that in our lives. We wish we had an Ultima like that.
Writer and critic Margarite Fernandez Olmos, talking about Rudolfo Anaya's first novel …Bless Me Ultima.
This Literary Moment was created by the National Endowment for the Arts.
[ Audio ]