With exquisite prose and wondrous storytelling, this coming of age classic follows a young boy as he questions his faith and beliefs in family, religion, and other aspects of his Chicano culture. Antonio Marez is six years old when Ultima comes to stay with his family in New Mexico. She is a curandera, one who cures with herbs and magic. Under her wise wing, Tony will probe the family ties that bind and rend him, and he will discover himself in the magical secrets of the pagan past-a mythic legacy as palpable as the Catholicism of Latin America. And at each life turn there is Ultima, who delivered Tony into the world...and will nurture the birth of his soul. The winner of the Pen Center West Award for Fiction for his unforgettable novel Alburquerque, Rudolfo Anaya's rich and compassionate writing about the Mexican American experience has helped cement him as the father of Chicano literature in English.