From 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)
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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
"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
"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