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.
Into the Beautiful North: A Novelby Luis Alberto Urrea
Nineteen-year-old Nayeli works at a taco shop in her Mexican village and dreams about her father, who journeyed to the US to find work. Recently, it has dawned on her that he isn't the only man who has left town. In fact, there are almost no men in the village--they've all gone north. While watching The Magnificent Seven, Nayeli decides to go north herself and recruit seven men--her own "Siete Magníficos"--to repopulate her hometown and protect it from the bandidos who plan on taking it over.
Filled with unforgettable characters and prose as radiant as the Sinaloan sun, INTO THE BEAUTIFUL NORTH is the story of an irresistible young woman's quest to find herself on both sides of the fence.
"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.
"[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.."
[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
- Little, Brown and Company
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Meet the Author
Luis Alberto Urrea is the author of The Devil's Highway, winner of a Lannan Literary Award; Across the Wire, winner of the Christopher Award; and the incredibly acclaimed The Hummingbird's Daughter. He is also the recipient of an American Book Award, a Western States Book Award, and a Colorado Book Award, and he has been inducted into the Latino Literary Hall of Fame. He lives in Chicago
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