Into the Beautiful North: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

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...
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Into the Beautiful North: A Novel

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Overview

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.
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  • Into the Beautiful North
    Into the Beautiful North  

Editorial Reviews

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.
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."
Vanity Fair
"Magical"
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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316053402
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 5/19/2009
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 110,673
  • File size: 997 KB

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 26 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 20, 2012

    I loved this book. I wasn't bothered at all by the Spanish, a

    I loved this book. I wasn't bothered at all by the Spanish, as some reviewers were, as the story carried me along without the need to understand every word of dialogue. Living in San Diego, it was fun to read about my city from the point of view of these wonderful characters. Great story, colorful characters, and beautiful writing. By the way, I am middle aged and did not consider this a young adult novel; it has appeal for all ages.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 2, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I finally found it!

    I first heard about this book a few months ago driving in my car. The book was being reviewed and the author interviewed. I really enjoyed the whole premise and the well written selections the author shared. I thought I would remember the title. Painfully not. Then a couple of weeks ago, I ran across it just browsing the bookshelves at my local B&N. Wow! I loved this book. The characters are so richly developed and the plot so different. There is a great deal of humor to a very complex story which at times becomes tense and at other times so sad. Nayelli and her girls (plus one delightful guy) and the wonderful people they meet on their journey "into the beautiful north" are characters who will not easily be forgotten. P.S. Spanish phrases are sprinkled throughout, but it isn't distracting if you don't know Spanish.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2014

    I really enjoyed this book, being of Mexican descent there were

    I really enjoyed this book, being of Mexican descent there were things I have experience as Nayeli did while being in El Norte. I must admit the beginning was not great with all the detail about actors and hair and nonsense but I guess it was Urrea's way of developing the characters. However, the moment they start their journey I could not put the book down. It was also very easy to create the imagery in my head as if I were right there experiencing the long, dangerous journey into our beautiful country. It makes you realize how we take our country for granted. I definitely recommend!

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  • Posted October 22, 2013

    Loved the book

    I really enjoyed this book.

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  • Posted September 21, 2013

    Interesting, but.......

    I found the book interesting and the the overall storyline was good, but I personally did not like the author's writing style. I also did not feel the characters were very well defined and wanted to understand more about the thoughts of feelings of the characters.

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  • Posted June 7, 2013

    Not worth the time

    Okay story -

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Happy

    I love thisbook it really madmy day but n

    Ot reallye

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 22, 2011

    Surprisingly Good

    I really liked this book. I'm usually not too fond of Young Adult fiction or books whose main characters are teenagers. I can honestly say that this book surprised me. I got it because I needed a "U" for my A-Z Challenge and when I checked it out from the library I didn't think I was going to enjoy it. I thought, upon reading the synopsis, that this was going to be another book that centered on the pain and suffering of immigrants (both legal and illegal) from Mexico to America. Not that I think they deserve their pain and misfortune, I've just heard about it and read about it in the news and it is something that doesn't really peek my interests.

    After reading it, I pushed all of those thoughts away and I found a new respect for Young Adult fiction (I had lost it after reading the Twilight series). All I see around me at the library and in the bookstore is shelf after shelf of Young Adult vampire romances. It was nice to find something different and refreshing on the shelf. This book is something I could see many young girls around my age (I'm nineteen if some of you have forgotten) identifying with Nayeli, the main character. She's strong, funny, and has a posse of friends that remind me of my own. This book has a lot to teach young girls about being strong and not letting the fact you have a vagina ruin your life. A girl can be just as strong, maybe even stronger, than a guy can and they shouldn't be ashamed if they are.

    The one and only aspect of this book that irked me slightly was the parts of dialogue where the author, obviously of Spanish origins, had his characters speak full sentences in only Spanish. Usually this is okay if the next line of dialogue (from another character) replies to the Spanish statement in English (or whatever language the book is printed in) and in a way that helps the reader understand what is being said without needing a Spanish-English (or whatever language the book is printed in) Dictionary. Urrea does not do this. I actually had to use an online translator in parts of the book because I had no idea what was going on and what the characters were saying.

    Other than that, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Young Adult fiction and enjoys relating to characters in books. Just remember to keep that Spanish Dictionary on hand.

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  • Posted November 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Educational and entertaining

    I liked this book , not just for the great writing, but thejourney it tom me on across Mexico and the U.S

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Future Classic without doubt

    Into the Beautiful North, a Magnificent Seven for the 21st century is a beautiful book. In turn funny, adventurous, touching, and enlightening, this novel would be a great choice for any teen or adult reader. The language Urrea uses and the images he creates are masterful.
    As three unlikely characters illegally enter the United States from Mexico to find their own Magnificent Seven to save their village, their adventures and problems become fodder enticing readers to turn at least just one more page before putting the book down.
    This novel has not received the public attention that is due it. I hope it will and soon, but until then, it becomes the perfect gift to give--a book that most will cherish and think the gift-giver so clever for having found it.

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  • Posted July 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Heart Wrenching and heart warming all at the same time

    I particularly enjoy Mr. Urrea 's writing. I've read Hummingbird's Daughter, The Devil's Highway and now this jewel of a book. The characters are colorful and real. Makes me want to get to know them better.

    The journey the group takes is amazing and it felt true. Thank you Luis Alberto Urrea!!

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  • Posted May 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An enjoyable read that I would recommend...

    I picked up this book and immediately connected with the main character and the storyline. I found author Luis Alberto Urrea's writing style very easy and engaging-- something really necessary for me. I've said before that I am not a "book club" kind of girl. I don't want reading to be a challenge. I don't want to spend my time trying to interpret a bunch of symbolism. I simply want to be engaged and entertained, and perhaps have my eyes opened a little wider (in either enlightenment or surprise).

    I slipped into this book like a comfortable pair of old slippers. It just felt good.

    This is the story of a Mexican girl named Nayeli, who lives in the town of Los Camerones. The men have left her town for the US in search of work and fortunes, and the inhabitants of town have been left vulnerable. Nayeli gets the idea to go to the US to recruit Mexican men to come back to Los Camerones, and also in search of her own father who went to the US and quit writing to the family.

    This story captures the complexities of illegal immigration and the highly-charged emotions surrounding it-- not only in our own country, but in Mexico as well. I enjoyed the characters of Nayeli and Tacho and the nutty Atomiko. I held on until the end, waiting to find out whether Nayeli would ever find her father.

    One negative is the excessive use of spanish without translation. I often found myself feeling like an outsider looking in-- as if only I knew what they just said, I could join in on the joke and find it all very clever!

    I found this to be a very enjoyable read. It wasn't deeply thought-provoking or emotionally stirring, but it was an interesting story with engaging characters and a beautiful writing style. I give it two thumbs up-- and maybe I'll throw in a pinky-toe, too!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2009

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    Posted March 27, 2011

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    Posted July 20, 2010

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    Posted June 13, 2011

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    Posted January 22, 2011

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    Posted November 21, 2010

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    Posted November 21, 2010

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