Into the Beautiful North: A Novel

Into the Beautiful North: A Novel

3.8 26
by Luis Alberto Urrea
     
 

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"Nineteen-year-old Nayeli works at a taco shop in the remote Mexican village of Tres Camarones and dreams about her father, who left for America years ago. Recently, it has dawned on Nayeli that he isn't the only man who has abandoned Tres Camarones. In fact, there are almost no men remaining - they've all gone north. This has also been noticed by a group of… See more details below

Overview

"Nineteen-year-old Nayeli works at a taco shop in the remote Mexican village of Tres Camarones and dreams about her father, who left for America years ago. Recently, it has dawned on Nayeli that he isn't the only man who has abandoned Tres Camarones. In fact, there are almost no men remaining - they've all gone north. This has also been noticed by a group of particularly nasty drug dealers, who, seeing an easy opportunity, plan to take over the town." But at a showing of the movie The Magnificent Seven at the village's decrepit theater, Nayeli has a vision: she will go north and recruit a group of men to return to the village. She will bring back her own "Siete Magnificos" to protect - and repopulate - her home. She and her friends head out for America, gathering a wild group of allies for a journey into the strange and beautiful land of their dreams and fears, the mythical place into which their fathers vanished, Their destination: a small town in Illinois, where Nayeli hopes to discover her father, her warriors, and - if she's lucky - her destiny.

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Editorial Reviews

Vanity Fair
"Magical"
Alan Cheuse
[Into the Beautiful North] is deliciously composed...[Urrea writes] in a sweet but serious style...You find it in the dialogue...You find it in the description of the countryside...the plot gathers as much strength as the prose...
Chicago Tribune
Roberto Ontiveros
Awash in a subtle kind of satire...A funny and poignant impossible journey...Into the Beautiful North is a refreshing antidote to all the negativity currently surrounding Mexico.
Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
"Awash in a subtle kind of satire...A funny and poignant impossible journey...Into the Beautiful North is a refreshing antidote to all the negativity currently surrounding Mexico."
Alan Cheuse
PRAISE FOR INTO THE BEAUTIFUL NORTH:

"[Into the Beautiful North] is deliciously composed...[Urrea writes] in a sweet but serious style...You find it in the dialogue...You find it in the description of the countryside... the plot gathers as much strength as the prose.."

Chicago Tribune

Roberto Ontiveros
"Awash in a subtle kind of satire...Aa funny and poignant impossible journey...Into the Beautiful North is a refreshing antidote to all the negativity currently surrounding Mexico."

Dallas Morning News

Vanity Fair
"Magical"
Publishers Weekly

Nayeli, the Taqueria worker of Urrea's fine new novel (after The Hummingbird's Daughter ), is a young woman in the poor but tight-knit coastal Mexican town of Tres Camarones who spends her days serving tacos and helping her feisty aunt Irma get elected as the town's first female mayor. Abandoned by her father who headed north for work years before, Nayeli is hit with the realization that her hometown is all but abandoned by men, leaving it at the mercy of drug gangsters. So Nayeli hatches an elaborate scheme inspired by The Magnificent Seven : with three friends, she heads north to find seven Mexican men and smuggle them back into Mexico to protect the town. What she discovers along the way, of course, surprises her. Urrea's poetic sensibility and journalistic eye for detail in painting the Mexican landscape and sociological complexities create vivid, memorable scenes. Though the Spanglish can be tough for the uninitiated to detangle, the colorful characters, strong narrative and humor carry this surprisingly uplifting and very human story. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

"Perhaps it is time for a new kind of femininity," declares Nayeli, the 19-year-old heroine of this engaging postglobalization immigration story from the author of The Hummingbird's Daughter. Nayeli's small village in the Sinaloa region of Mexico has been drained of its adult males, including her father, by the promise of El Norte, and taken over by some shadowy gangsters. Inspired by a screening of The Magnificent Seven at the local cinema, Nayeli decides to journey north herself, not to seek her fortune in "Los Yunaites" but to bring back some of the men who have abandoned their families and their country, thereby saving her beloved town. It would be hard to go wrong with such a premise, and Urrea rises to the occasion with a surprising, inventive, and very funny novel populated by an array of quirky characters. His fast-paced, accessible style has the crossover appeal of a John Steinbeck or Cormac McCarthy, while the politically charged undercurrent of the novel pulses with a compassionate vision of the future. Highly recommended.
—Forest Turner

Kirkus Reviews
Three Mexican se-oritas cross the border with a gay escort in this good-humored road novel from Urrea (The Hummingbird's Daughter, 2005, etc.). The coastal town of Tres Camarones has gone from sleepy to desolate since its men went north to "Los Yunaites," looking for work. Luckily there are two strong women in town. Middle-aged Irma, a no-nonsense former bowling champion, is running for mayor. Her niece Nayeli, a dark-skinned beauty one year out of high school, is her campaign manager. Nayeli misses her father, one of the migrants, and treasures his one postcard, from Kankakee, Ill. After Irma is elected, Nayeli turns her attention to the crime wave she sees coming-though all we've been shown are two out-of-luck drug dealers. Inspired by a screening of The Magnificent Seven at the Cine Pedro Infante, she decides to head north and bring back Mexican cops or soldiers to help her deal with the bandidos. Joining Nayeli in her quest are Yolo and Vampi, her "homegirls," and Tacho, gay owner of La Mano Ca'da Taquer'a and Internet cafe. The premise is weak, and Urrea keeps everything cartoon simple so he can get his show on the road. The town takes up a collection and gives the girls a big send-off. In Tijuana, Nayeli fights off some bad guys before being befriended by At-miko, ersatz warrior and authentic trash-picker, who insists on joining their mission. Using tunnels, they cross the border successfully on their second attempt. (This is well-covered ground for Urrea: See his nonfiction border trilogy, beginning with Across the Wire, 1992.) In a silly bit of farce, Tacho is arrested as a suspected al-Qaeda member. Meanwhile, the ladies spend time in San Diego. Their recruiting goes well. Yoloand Vampi find boyfriends. Nayeli, still single, goes back on the road with the liberated Tacho. They are heading for Illinois, her father's putative home, but the momentum has been lost and the ending is a fizzle. Minor work from a writer who has done much better.
Miami Herald
"No great adventure is told without great characters, and Urrea certainly knows how to create them...that Urrea has turned a usually disturbing subject into a book that keeps a smile on your face is a tribute to his storytelling."
Valerie Ryan - Seattle Times
"[A] wondrous yarn in the hands of a terrific storyteller...Urrea's meticulous detail makes the story come to life...Not to trivialize, but these characters cry out for a sequel-maybe a telenovela?--They are too good for just a single outing."
Denver Post
"A wonderful comic satire...Urrea uses a breathtaking Mexican magical realism to construct a shimmering portrait of the United States."
Bookslut
"With self-awareness and irony, Into the Beautiful North acknowledges its debt to the idealistic quest narrative and the tragic migration story...Urrea simultaneously explicates the seriousness of Mexican-US immigration while drolly narrating a Wizard of Oz-like circular fairy tale."
Newark Star-Ledger
"A fantastical tale..."
Bookpage
"It only takes a few pages of Luis Alberto Urrea's thoroughly enjoyable Into the Beautiful North to start you wondering whether this book will break or warm your heart...So which is it?...A little of both, of course, much like the shared history of both [the U.S. and Mexico]."
San Diego Union-Tribune
"Quest novels announce their purpose in a straightforward manner: Colorful, memorable characters prepare for and embark on a journey of immense significance...Into the Beautiful North is just such a novel. Among the many pleasures...is its big-hearted view of the United States as a foreign country. Since this is a quest, not a political novel, Urrea never gets bogged down in messages."
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR INTO THE BEAUTIFUL NORTH: "

[Into the Beautiful North] is deliciously composed...[Urrea writes] in a sweet but serious style...You find it in the dialogue...You find it in the description of the countryside... the plot gathers as much strength as the prose.."
Alan Cheuse, Chicago Tribune"

Awash in a subtle kind of satire...Aa funny and poignant impossible journey...Into the Beautiful North is a refreshing antidote to all the negativity currently surrounding Mexico."
Roberto Ontiveros, Dallas Morning News"

No great adventure is told without great characters, and Urrea certainly knows how to create them...that Urrea has turned a usually disturbing subject into a book that keeps a smile on your face is a tribute to his storytelling."—Miami Herald"

[A] wondrous yarn in the hands of a terrific storyteller...Urrea's meticulous detail makes the story come to life...Not to trivialize, but these characters cry out for a sequel-maybe a telenovela?—They are too good for just a single outing."—Valerie Ryan, Seattle Times "

A wonderful comic satire...Urrea uses a breathtaking Mexican magical realism to construct a shimmering portrait of the United States."—Denver Post"

With self-awareness and irony, Into the Beautiful North acknowledges its debt to the idealistic quest narrative and the tragic migration story...Urrea simultaneously explicates the seriousness of Mexican-US immigration while drolly narrating a Wizard of Oz-like circular fairy tale."—Bookslut"

A fantastical tale..."—Newark Star-Ledger"

It only takes a few pages of Luis Alberto Urrea's thoroughly enjoyable Into the Beautiful North to start you wondering whether this book will break or warm your heart...So which is it?...A little of both, of course, much like the shared history of both [the U.S. and Mexico]."—Bookpage"

Quest novels announce their purpose in a straightforward manner: Colorful, memorable characters prepare for and embark on a journey of immense significance...Into the Beautiful North is just such a novel. Among the many pleasures...is its big-hearted view of the United States as a foreign country. Since this is a quest, not a political novel, Urrea never gets bogged down in messages."—San Diego Union-Tribune

Alan Cheuse - Chicago Tribune
PRAISE FOR INTO THE BEAUTIFUL NORTH:

"[Into the Beautiful North] is deliciously composed...[Urrea writes] in a sweet but serious style...You find it in the dialogue...You find it in the description of the countryside... the plot gathers as much strength as the prose.."

Roberto Ontiveros - Dallas Morning News
"Awash in a subtle kind of satire...Aa funny and poignant impossible journey...Into the Beautiful North is a refreshing antidote to all the negativity currently surrounding Mexico."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316025263
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
06/16/2010
Pages:
338
Sales rank:
196,986
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

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