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Into the Beautiful Northby Luis Alberto Urrea
Synopses & Reviews
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 Magnificos — 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.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Sardonic humor, rugged details of the working-class poor, and the exotic, often bizarre characters all contribute to an outstanding reading treat." Booklist
"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." Library Journal
"Here is a funny and poignant impossible journey in which the characters come to earn pride for a homeland they have gone on a comedic pilgrimage to defend." Dallas Morning News
"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
"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
"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
"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." 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
Beloved bestselling author Luis Alberto Urrea returns with a brilliant, ebullient, and timely road novel about a young woman's journey north, to America.
Nayeli es una chica de diecinueve años que trabaja en una taquería de tres Camarones, un poblado mexicano. Ve en sueños a su padre, que emigró al norte cuando era niña. Recientemente se ha dado cuenta de que su padre no es el único hombre que se ha ido del pueblo, de hecho ya casi no quedan hombres, todos se han ido al otro lado, a los Estados Unidos. Un grupo de narcotraficantes también se ha percatado de ese hecho y ven la oportunidad para apoderarse.
Pero una noche, durante la exhibición de la película Los Siete Magníficos, Nayeli tiene una revelación: Debe dirigirse al norte a reclutar sus propios Siete Magníficos, para que la protejan de los criminales y coadyuven a repoblar Tres Camarones. Ella y sus amigas viajan al norte y en el camino hacia esa extraña y fascinante tierra de sus sueños, ese mítico lugar donde su padre desapareció, van sumando una colección de inusitados y sorprendentes aliados. La meta es un poblado del estado de Illinois, donde Nayeli espera encontrar a su padre y reclutar a sus guerreros. Con suerte, hará realidad también su destino.
About the Author
Luis Alberto Urrea is author of widely acclaimed novel The Hummingbird's Daughter and 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction for The Devil's Highway. A member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, Luis was born in Tijuana, Mexico to a Mexican father and an American mother.
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