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.
Natalia Hero is a Montreal-based fiction writer and 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. Her short fiction and translations have appeared in various publications including Cosmonauts Avenue, Peach Mag, Carte Blanche, and Shabby Doll House. Her first translation of a full-length novel will be published by QC Fiction in 2019. Hum is her first book.
INTERVIEW | The Rumpus | Learning to Listen: A Conversation with Natalia Hero | "Seeing the bravery of women writing about their own experiences definitely had an impact on me. I have so much admiration for the people who publicly detail these horrible, painful experiences, effectively reliving their trauma as they expose the deepest parts of themselves, knowing full well how the public will likely react, how their every moves will be picked apart to discredit their truth—irrelevant details invoked to chip away at this imagined ideal of a 'perfect' victim, one who is deserving of being believed."
REVIEW | Journal de Quebec | "A fierce yet poetic debut novel ... sublime and tormented."
MENTION | Electric Lit | 8 Novels About Being Haunted by the Past | "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)
REVIEW | Drizzle | "Hum is a powerful story that comes in the wake of the #MeToo movement."
REVIEW | 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)
REVIEW | La Presse | "A story that saves a lot of words, but that still says tons." (from French)
REVIEW | Augur | "This short novel represents a brilliant, seamless marriage of form and content."
REVIEW | 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."
REVIEW | Artichoke Magazine | "Extraordinary sensitivity." (from French)
REVIEW | The Montreal Review of Books | "Hero's narrative of trauma, survival, and healing is complex, raw, non-linear, and anything but easy."
REVIEW | 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."
REVIEW | 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."