Publication Type
Publication Year
Subject Terms

FICTION / Medical. Hospital patients -- Fiction. Accident victims -- Fiction. Diving accidents -- Fiction. Teenage boys -- Fiction. New Mexico -- Fiction. FICTION / General Accident victims. Diving accidents. Hospital patients. Teenage boys. New Mexico.

Rudolfo A. Anaya

This is Anaya's third novel, in which he utilizes his own childhood experience of being temporarily crippled in a swimming accident to create a semi-ficitonal story. The novel examines the concept of healing not merely as a physical recovery, but as a spiritual process of finding one's roots, inner strength, and community belonging.


Rudolfo Anaya's personal journey to Tortuga began one desert-hot day when, as an adolescent, he and some friends were swimming in irrigation ditches. He dove in, sustaining an injury that put him in the hospital for an arduous period of time.

Tortuga is set in a hospital for crippled children and is based on Anaya's swimming accident. He explores the significance of pain and suffering in a young boy's life and the importance of spiritual recovery as well as medical. Tortuga, or Turtle, is the name of the oddly shaped mountain near the hospital, but "Tortuga" also points toward the rigid cast that encases the young hero's body. --from book's back cover.