About the Book:
Fiction. Women’s Studies.
HUM follows a young woman whose life is changed forever when, after being raped, she gives birth to a hummingbird. She must learn to cope with not only what happened to her, but with the bird’s persistent, agitating presence in her life.
Natalia Hero’s debut is a beautiful and tormented magical-realist novella about surviving trauma, reclaiming oneself and what it means to heal.
Read an Excerpt:
I wake up naked next to him and I don’t know what happened but I know he’s been inside me. My body feels wrong. It aches when I move. Limbs limp. I roll over slowly, pick my purse up from the floor, check my phone. Maybe this is okay, maybe it isn’t so bad. It’s 4:03 a.m. and I don’t know where the last three hours went. Missed calls and texts from friends wondering where I’m at. I see that I sent them all the same thing around 12:30: “Help.” That’s when I start screaming. A cry that I pull from every part of my body that he touched without permission. I scream at him to call me a cab. When he gets off the phone he offers to wait with me outside. I scream at him to stay away. I run out and sit on the sidewalk. I try to control my breathing but there’s something inside me that isn’t welcome. I want it to leave. When the cab arrives I get up trembling. Vibrating. The driver is friendly. He asks, “How was your night?” and I don’t know how to answer him so I say, “Thank you, thank you so much, thank you.” My body still shaking. Something buzzing inside me. Something angry. When we stop at a red light I can hear it. The driver looks up at me in the rear-view mirror. “Is that your phone?”
“What?” I start coughing to cover up the sound. I feel it vibrating more powerfully inside my chest, thrashing around like it’s suffocating. Like it’s trying to escape. “Do you hear that? There’s a hum. Or, like, a buzzing sound. Is it the car?” “Listen, you can drop me off here, it’s just another few blocks. I think I’m gonna puke.” He stops the car and I hand him two twenties. I tell him to keep the change, thank him again, slam the door and run up the street. Pain in my chest that makes me drop to my knees. I cough and gag and scream and then finally it flies out of my mouth. I put my head down and cry, resigned and exhausted. Empty. Through my sobs I can still hear a soft little murmur. I look up and it’s there, hovering in front of my face, staring me right in the eyes.