Queen of America: A Novel
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Queen of America: A Novel

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by Luis Alberto Urrea
     
 

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At turns heartbreaking, uplifting, fiercely romantic, and riotously funny, QUEEN OF AMERICA tells the unforgettable story of a young woman coming of age and finding her place in a new world. Beginning where Luis Alberto Urrea's bestselling The Hummingbird's Daughter left off, QUEEN OF AMERICA finds young Teresita Urrea, beloved healer and "Saint of Cabora,"

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Overview

At turns heartbreaking, uplifting, fiercely romantic, and riotously funny, QUEEN OF AMERICA tells the unforgettable story of a young woman coming of age and finding her place in a new world. Beginning where Luis Alberto Urrea's bestselling The Hummingbird's Daughter left off, QUEEN OF AMERICA finds young Teresita Urrea, beloved healer and "Saint of Cabora," with her father in 1892 Arizona. But, besieged by pilgrims in desperate need of her healing powers, and pursued by assassins, she has no choice but to flee the borderlands and embark on an extraordinary journey into the heart of turn-of-the-century America.

Teresita's passage will take her to New York, San Francisco, and St. Louis, where she will encounter European royalty, Cuban poets, beauty queens, anxious immigrants and grand tycoons-and, among them, a man who will force Teresita to finally ask herself the ultimate question: is a saint allowed to fall in love?

Editorial Reviews

Stewart O'Nan - author of Emily Alone and Songs for the Missing
Praise for QUEEN OF AMERICA:

"'Who is more of an outlaw than a saint?'" one of Luis Urrea's characters poses. The answer is this ferocious, ribald romance of the border. Jaunty, bawdy, gritty, sweet, Queen of America has a bottomless comic energy and a heart large enough to accept-even revel in-all of human folly."

Megan Fishmann - Bookpage
"Captivating...With deft humor and a poetic lyricism that seamlessly folds one scene into another, Urrea unfolds the story of his real-life great-aunt Teresita, a teenage saint who was known for healing miracles... Each scene in Queen of America unfurls gracefully like delicate wisps of smoke. Whether Teresita is being held captive in Northern California by a band of profiteering medical professionals, or being feted like a queen in New York's social circles, this epic novel paints a portrait of America-and its inhabitants-with grace and style. It will spark fire in readers' hearts."
Carolyn Kellogg - Los Angeles Times
"Urrea delights in the texture of things. Turn-of-the-century America, particularly New York, comes alive at his fingertips: He sees both the silk and the mud... In imagining the story of his great-aunt Teresita, Urrea might have chosen to make her a hero; that would have been easier. What we get is more complicated, more modern... Hers is the story of what it means to have a gift, and how a talent can also be a burden."
Sam Sacks - Wall Street Journal
"Colorful [and] exuberant."
Jamie Ford - author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
"A magnificent work of literary alchemy, so masterfully infused with myth and history, you will feel these characters in your heart, your gut. You will grieve for their immortal souls."
From the Publisher
Praise for QUEEN OF AMERICA: "

'Who is more of an outlaw than a saint?'" one of Luis Urrea's characters poses. The answer is this ferocious, ribald romance of the border. Jaunty, bawdy, gritty, sweet, Queen of America has a bottomless comic energy and a heart large enough to accept-even revel in-all of human folly."—Stewart O'Nan, author of Emily Alone and Songs for the Missing"

Captivating...With deft humor and a poetic lyricism that seamlessly folds one scene into another, Urrea unfolds the story of his real-life great-aunt Teresita, a teenage saint who was known for healing miracles... Each scene in Queen of America unfurls gracefully like delicate wisps of smoke. Whether Teresita is being held captive in Northern California by a band of profiteering medical professionals, or being feted like a queen in New York's social circles, this epic novel paints a portrait of America-and its inhabitants-with grace and style. It will spark fire in readers' hearts."—Megan Fishmann, Bookpage"

Urrea delights in the texture of things. Turn-of-the-century America, particularly New York, comes alive at his fingertips: He sees both the silk and the mud... In imagining the story of his great-aunt Teresita, Urrea might have chosen to make her a hero; that would have been easier. What we get is more complicated, more modern... Hers is the story of what it means to have a gift, and how a talent can also be a burden."—Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times"

Colorful [and] exuberant."—Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal"

A magnificent work of literary alchemy, so masterfully infused with myth and history, you will feel these characters in your heart, your gut. You will grieve for their immortal souls."—Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet"

A gritty, bold, and much-anticipated sequel to The Hummingbird's Daughter... Fiercely romantic and at times heart­breaking but also full of humor, Urrea's latest novel blends fairy tale, Western adventure, folk tale, and historical drama. Fans of Hummingbird and readers new to Urrea's work will surely enjoy this magnificent, epic novel."—Library Journal

Jamie Ford
A magnificent work of literary alchemy, so masterfully infused with myth and history, you will feel these characters in your heart, your gut. You will grieve for their immortal souls.
author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Publishers Weekly
The historical Teresita Urrea, the “Saint of Cabora,” flees Mexico with her father after the Tomóchic rebellion of 1891, in Urrea’s sequel to the bestselling The Hummingbird’s Daughter. Pursued by assassins, the Urreas seek sanctuary in rural Arizona. Teresita’s father drinks heavily and refuses to accept the charity of pilgrims who’ve come to follow Teresita; the Urreas travel to Tucson, meeting the Von Order brothers, John and Harry. Teresita feels an immediate attraction to Harry, despite her burgeoning saintly powers. Father and daughter then move on to El Paso, where Teresita reluctantly takes a job as a journalist. She falls in love with a man and once again her saintliness conflicts with her romantic desires. She has a brief, unhappy marriage before finding redemption through the first of her many healings. This new chapter of her life leads her to San Francisco and then New York, where a sinister consortium exploits her abilities, working her nine to five and forcing her to choose between the saintly grace and simplicity of her old life and the modern trappings of fame, fortune, and romantic love. Despite a trundling life-story narrative that at times loses focus, and several flat passages, Urrea delivers a rich mix of Wild West and magic realism. (Dec.)
Megan Fishmann
Captivating...With deft humor and a poetic lyricism that seamlessly folds one scene into another, Urrea unfolds the story of his real-life great-aunt Teresita, a teenage saint who was known for healing miracles... Each scene in Queen of America unfurls gracefully like delicate wisps of smoke. Whether Teresita is being held captive in Northern California by a band of profiteering medical professionals, or being feted like a queen in New York's social circles, this epic novel paints a portrait of America-and its inhabitants-with grace and style. It will spark fire in readers' hearts.
Bookpage
Carolyn Kellogg
Urrea delights in the texture of things. Turn-of-the-century America, particularly New York, comes alive at his fingertips: He sees both the silk and the mud... In imagining the story of his great-aunt Teresita, Urrea might have chosen to make her a hero; that would have been easier. What we get is more complicated, more modern... Hers is the story of what it means to have a gift, and how a talent can also be a burden.
Los Angeles Times
Sam Sacks
Colorful [and] exuberant.
Wall Street Journal
Library Journal
In The Hummingbird's Daughter, Lannan Award winner Urrea celebrated his great-aunt, Teresita Urrea, a 19th-century Indian girl who became a revered healer and eventually the Saint of Cabora. That book went on to sell 130,000 copies and became a One City, One Book selection in San Francisco. So there should be an audience for this follow-up, which pictures Teresita fleeing Mexico's violent Tomochic rebellion and heading for America. This book should have broad appeal; with a reading group guide and ten-city tour.
Kirkus Reviews
In his sequel to The Hummingbird's Daughter (2005), Urrea continues the mythic history of his great aunt Teresita as she begins a new life in the United States after escaping her political and religious enemies in Mexico in 1893. While a young girl in Mexico, Teresita, called the Saint of Cabora, has developed a wide following of believers in the healing power of her touch, although she insists that God does the healing and she is merely a conduit. The Mexican government believes she also foments rebellion, the reason 19-year-old Teresita and her father Tomás Urrea flee to Arizona, where her father's best friend, a politically active newspaperman, uses her popularity to rally public sentiment against the corrupt Mexican president. Violence as well as goodness seems to follow in her wake, yet all Teresita wants is to practice her healing. She is a fascinating mix of wisdom, love of life's simple pleasures (like ice cream) and innocence, but is she a saint? As she and alcoholic, profane Tomás--a landowner who impregnated Teresita's Indian mother--settle into Arizona society, Mexico sends agents to kill her. They all end up dead. But a more insidious evil eventually arrives in 1899: cruel but handsome Rodriguez, who marries her, them immediately tries to kill her; worse, he destroys her relationship with Tomás and her local reputation. She has no choice but to leave Arizona. In California a consortium of questionable businessmen sets her up as a healer under a devious contract that keeps her a virtual prisoner until the lovable rogue John Van Order, a friend from her earliest Arizona days, arrives and negotiates a better deal. As her fame and notoriety spread, Teresita and John travel across the country to New York City, where she struggles to maintain spiritual clarity despite tasting earthly luxury and human love. Mixing religious mysticism, a panoramic view of history, a Dickensian cast of minor characters, low comedy and political breast-beating, Urrea's sprawling yet minutely detailed saga both awes and exhausts.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316154871
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
12/04/2012
Pages:
492
Sales rank:
239,841
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.50(d)

What People are saying about this

Jamie Ford
A magnificent work of literary alchemy, so masterfully infused with myth and history, you will feel these characters in your heart, your gut. You will grieve for their immortal souls.
— author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Stewart ONan
“'Who is more of an outlaw than a saint?'” one of Luis Urrea's characters poses. The answer is this ferocious, ribald romance of the border. Jaunty, bawdy, gritty, sweet, Queen of America has a bottomless comic energy and a heart large enough to accept—even revel in—all of human folly.”--(Stewart O’Nan, author of Emily Alone and Songs for the Missing )

Meet the Author

Luis Alberto Urrea is the author of, among other books, The Devil's Highway, The Hummingbird's Daughter, and Into the Beautiful North. Winner of a Lannan Literary Award and Christopher Award, he is also the recipient of an American Book Award, the Kiriyama Prize, the National Hispanic Cultural Center's Literary Award, a Western States Book Award, a Colorado Book Award, an Edgar Award and a citation of excellence from the American Library Association. He is a member of the Latino Literary Hall of Fame.

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