In Search of Snow: A Novel

In Search of Snow: A Novel

by Luis Alberto Urrea
     
 

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In the hot Arizona desert of the late 1950s, Mike McGurk comes of age in one big, riotous gush. Trapped pumping gas at a desolate roadstop, he yearns for things he has never known: love, hope, and the soft, white calmness of snow. Mike's world is filled with a menagerie of quirky characters, who cope with the weight of their unfulfilled dreams with

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Overview

In the hot Arizona desert of the late 1950s, Mike McGurk comes of age in one big, riotous gush. Trapped pumping gas at a desolate roadstop, he yearns for things he has never known: love, hope, and the soft, white calmness of snow. Mike's world is filled with a menagerie of quirky characters, who cope with the weight of their unfulfilled dreams with bravado, humor, and violence. Mike trades snappy insults with his macho father, Texaco Turk McGurk, a moustachioed amateur boxer and self-proclaimed war hero who is unable to talk about love. Mike lusts after Lily, his seductive, poem-writing cousin. He cowers before and then confronts the vicious Ramses, grandson of Mr. Sneezy, the wisecracking Apache. And he is rescued by his best friend, Bobo, who delivers him into the care of the loving and generous Mama and Papa Garcia.

In Search of Snow is an explosive coming-of-age adventure, full of hilarious episodes and still, poignant moments. Like a blue-collar Don Quixote, Mike must blow up his windmills before he can set off to find the things he lacks, especially the snow that will temper the passion he has just set aflame.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Urrea wrests strange, beautiful poetry out of the mean, lean desert terrain." —Publishers Weekly

"Urrea is one of the hottest Chicano writers around." —The Nation

"I laughed so hard at one scene in this book that I pulled a muscle in my chest, which makes In Search of Snow a literal rib-splitter." —The Albuquerque Journal

"Urrea is, in three words, One Terrific Writer. Without getting in the way of the story, his hypnotic, ethereal passages paint a magnificent background. More than once, you'll find yourself rereading a paragraph, not for clarification or out of literary curiosity about how he pulled it off, but simply because it's so beautifully done." —San Diego Union-Tribune

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Urrea wrests strange, beautiful poetry out of a mean, lean desert terrain--Arizona, mid-1950s--in this impressive first novel, a blend of deadpan humor, picaresque adventure and search for self. Home for Mike McGurk is a gas station run by his widower father, Wallace (aka Texaco Turk) McGurk, an ornery bigot whose glory days as bare-knuckles boxing champ and WW II hero are behind him. Mike, age 27, is adrift; haunted by the memory of his mother, who died when he was seven, he has a guilt-ridden affair with his college-bound cousin Lily and then gets mixed up with Ramses Castro, a roughneck Apache gang leader. When Texaco Turk dies, Mike is rescued by Bobo Garcia, the Mexican-American mechanic. Their peripatetic adventures end in Bobo's hometown, where Mike, informally adopted into the Garcia family, comes to terms with his feelings about his macho father. Some of the novel's strongest scenes are the early depictions of Mike and his father, whose bluster is a veneer to hide his own sense of failure. Equally moving are Bobo's flashbacks to Buchenwald, where he helped liberate inmates of the Nazi concentration camp. Author of a nonfiction book on the Mexican border ( Across the Wire ), Urrea brings the glint of truth to his fictional characters and settings. Author tour. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Urrea's first novel--he is the author of the nonfiction work Across the Wire: Life and Hard Times on the Mexican Border (Doubleday, 1992)--deals with the delayed coming of age of 29-year-old Mike McGurk. Mike and his father Turk run a gas station in an Arizona small town in the 1950s. The domineering and combative Turk, an amateur boxer, is unable to express emotion and refuses to discuss the death of his wife. Mike, who lost his mother when he was seven, yearns for love and has a brief affair with his cousin Lily. After his father dies fighting a much younger man, Mike is forced to make his own choices and forms a friendship with Bobo, a Mexican American mechanic who likes to rescue people. Although his plot occasionally gets away from him, Urrea has crafted a touching and interesting story rich in memorable characterizations and sense of place.-- Harriet Gottfried, NYPL

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816520152
Publisher:
University of Arizona Press
Publication date:
11/01/1999
Series:
Camino del Sol Series
Edition description:
1ST UNIVER
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
806,672
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.70(d)

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