I can’t stay with one thought for more than a second without the bird acting up. I close my eyes. I close my eyes to stop thinking, but I still can hear it hum.
Hum follows a young woman whose life is changed forever when, after being sexually assaulted, 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.
“Hero’s debut is a work of stunning allegory. Magical thinking made real – darting, thrumming, trembling the air around it.”
– Sean Michaels, author of Us Conductors, winner of the 2014 Giller Prize for fiction
Journal de Quebec | “A fierce yet poetic debut novel … sublime and tormented.”
Electric Lit | “A touching allegory, Hum is about the jagged journey of healing as she learns to coexist with a trauma she will have to live with forever.” (from French)
Drizzle | “Hum is a powerful story that comes in the wake of the #MeToo movement.”
Les Libraires | “The beauty of this book is that, in addition to achieving its ends, that is to say finding a door that leads the protagonist to recovery, it leaves an observation, as discreet as it is powerful: reconstruction is plural and can take multiple forms.” (from French)
Augur | “This short novel represents a brilliant, seamless marriage of form and content.”
Daily Public | “Hum is an urgent story of the ways we survive, externalize, and heal trauma through the ever-present humming of living with a secret. It’s an unforgettable wow of a debut.”
Artichoke Magazine | “Extraordinary sensitivity.” (from French)
The Montreal Review of Books | “Hero’s narrative of trauma, survival, and healing is complex, raw, non-linear, and anything but easy.”
Quebec Reads | “Fiction heals because Hero has crafted a balm. One that, with the right kind of attention, could end up on bedside tables in all the homes of our current cultural climate. Its prose leaves no room for denialists—[Hum] is a very real animal we can hold in our hands. One that demands to be fed, sheltered, preserved, or set free.”
The Coil | “[Hero] reconsiders and broadens the definition of what the consequences of violence look like, giving them an entity only to the extent that form becomes capable of containing multitudes and uncertainties.”
The Rumpus | Learning to Listen: A Conversation with Natalia Hero
Colibri – Marchand de feuilles (Quebec) – 2020 – French translation of Hum
Natalia Hero is a Montreal-based writer and literary translator. She holds a B.A. in English and Spanish literature from Concordia University and an M.A. in literary translation from the University of Ottawa. You can read her short fiction in places like Peach Mag, Shabby Doll House, Cosmonauts Avenue, and The Temz Review. She translates works from French and Spanish into English. Her debut novella Hum, published in 2018 by Metatron Press, is now available in French as Colibri (Marchand de feuilles, 2020).