Berkeley Arts & Letters: LUIS ALBERTO URREA, author of The Hummingbird's Daughter, on Into the Beautiful North
The acclaimed and delightful author of The Devils Highway and The Hummingbirds Daughter returns with a big new novel, about which Publishers Weekly wrote, Urrea's poetic sensibility and journalistic eye for detail in painting the Mexican landscape and sociological complexities create vivid, memorable scenes...the colorful characters, strong narrative and humor carry this surprisingly uplifting and very human story."
Urrea tells the story of nineteen-year old Nayeli who works at a taco shop in her Mexican village. She longs for her father, who left the family to work in the USA. Her father is one of many men who have left the village to go north in fact, it dawns on her that there are almost no men in her village anymore. While watching the movie The Magnificent Seven, Nayeli is inspired to go north herself and recruit seven men to repopulate her hometown and protect it from the bandits who plan on taking it over.
The resonance of workers today migrating north in search of a better life, and sadly just hoping to survive, will not be lost on readers. But by writing a tale of fiction, Urrea cleverly brings a new perspective to this very complicated, contemporary dilemma. In Nayeli, he has created an unforgettable young heroine a woman, like many others, whose search for self-identity takes her far from home, journeying into the beautiful north.
Luis Alberto Urrea is the author of The Devil's Highway, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of a Lannan Literary 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 the Colorado Book Award, and he has recently been inducted into the Latino Literary Hall of Fame. He lives in Chicago.
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