La Canción del Colibrí
A homage to the pre-Colombian woman that celebrates the endurance of the human spirit in the face of cataclysm.
by Graciela Limón
Spanish translation by Dr. Ernesto Colín
Publication Date: April 30, 2006
Bind: Trade Paperback
From Aztec princess to slave and concubine, Hummingbird—or Huitzitzilín in her native Nahuatl— recounts her life during the Spanish conquest of Mexico in Graciela Limón’s novel, La canción del colibrí. Translated from the English-language novel originally published in 1996, Song of the Hummingbird, Huitzitzilín describes the wondrous arrival of the four-legged gods and the brutal devastation of her land and her people. She witnessed the obliteration of Tenochitlán and suffered the loss of her identity – forced to discard her traditional garb, to speak a language foreign to her tongue and to forsake her ancestral gods.
Expressing a confidence and freedom that women have strived for centuries to attain, Huitzitzilín passionately relates her tale to Father Benito, the priest who seeks to confess and convert her, to offer her absolution she neither needs nor wants. Instead she forces him to see the conquest for the first time through the eyes of the conquered.
In La canción del colibrí, Limón pays homage to the pre-Colombian woman, celebrates the endurance of the human spirit in the face of cataclysm, and mourns our collective loss of treasures more valuable than all the plundered riches and gold.
“… is downright hypnotic.” -Washington Post Book World
“…[a] highlt readable novel… Limón tells a good story and keeps alive in a fictional setting the interest in this epic and doomed period of Latin American colonial history”. -Choice
“A provocative introduction to the human story of the Conquest. Colín’s translation flows well.” -Críticas
GRACIELA LIMÓN is the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of seven novels: Left Alive (2005), Erased Faces (2001), The Day of the Moon (1999), Song of the Hummingbird (1996), The Memories of Ana Calderón (1994) In Search of Bernabé (1993), all from Arte Público Press. In Search of Bernabé, translated and published in Spanish as En busca de Bernabé in 1997, is the recipient of an American Book Award. It was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times’ Art Seidenbaum First Novel Award and was named a “Notable Book of the Year” by The New York Times Book Review. Erased Faces is the recipient of the 2002 Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award. Limón is Professor Emeritus of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles where she served as a professor of U.S. Latina/o Literature and Chair of the Department of Chicana/o Studies.
DR. ERNESTO “TLAHUITOLLINI” COLÍN is an assistant professor of Spanish at Loyola-Marymount University, Los Angeles. He received his Ph.D in Anthropology of Education from Stanford University.
Learn more by visiting his faculty page.