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Into the Beautiful North: A Novel by Luis…

Into the Beautiful North: A Novel (edition 2010)

by Luis Alberto Urrea

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5075220,055 (3.88)71
Title:Into the Beautiful North: A Novel
Authors:Luis Alberto Urrea
Collections:Your library, Completed Books
Tags:fiction - international (Mexico)

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Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea


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In Tres Camarones, Mexico, the men are missing. Bandidos have come to town, no one is getting pregnant and Nayeli and her friends decide that it is time they took maters into their own hands. With the help and support of her aunt, the mayor and the people of Tres Camarones, the group journeys first to Tijuana and find that crossing the border may be more of a challenge than they expected. With the help of a local eccentric, the group manages to find their way to Los Angeles (in one of the more wry touches of humor, one member of the group simply rides across the border in a Mercedes Benz owned by a local doctor while the others go through a tunnel owned by a drug cartel). The adventure continues to unfold as Nayeli pursues her search for her father and the others recruit men to return to Los Camarones The book provides a perspective on the United States and the attitudes of its citizens that you may not have encountered before. In general, the book is a romp and a good read. Urrea does better with the development of his male characters than with his female characters, most of who seem a bit flat and unrealized. There is much sadness in this book, and that, too, is only lightly touched upon. At times unrealistic, at other times, painfully insightful, the book is unique. Recommended. ( )
  turtlesleap | Mar 6, 2014 |
This is a fun story about a girl who leads a small group of her friends from her tiny Mexican hometown into the U.S. to try to bring back a "Magnificent Seven," seven Mexican men who will return to Mexico to save the little town from the bandits who have taken up residence. The tale is filled with quirky, loveable characters, adventure, and enough danger and unsavory characters to keep one guessing. It addresses some of the issues of immigration without being preachy, giving a face and a story to the topic. Ultimately, though, it is a quest story, and we eagerly follow the brave band as they endure trials on their way to successfully completing the mission. (This is the "One City, One Book" selection for my town of Greensboro, North Carolina, this year.) ( )
  glade1 | Oct 31, 2013 |
Interesting perspective. What do the Mexican women who love their home, town, country, family & friends think of the people - mostly men who go North ?
Understanding that much of it is to find income because of the poverty in their village . .
But what happens when most of the men are gone and there is no hope for safety, sustaining or ever bettering the village ?
Nayeli has hope and dreams of bringing back "Magnificent 7" to defend the town from bandidos.
It's fiction, but fun, interesting reading with unusual fictional characters - but don't they all have just a touch of basis for their character ?
The search for her father is almost a side-note, but with a twist.
And since her father has sent postcard from KANKAKEE, ILLINOIS (always in caps - maybe to show the foreignness of it?) - her journey there is like a community travelogue - with places I recognized and an insight into a community that cares for it's 'southern - south-of-the-border' population in reality and based on some recent local history of the 'new' library. Guess I need to go back there and visit! ( )
  CasaBooks | Apr 28, 2013 |
A wonderful read - Urrea subverts expectations and stereotypes in this delightful, funny, and profound novel about immigration. Everyone in the United States should read this book. ( )
  EllenMeeropol | Apr 7, 2013 |
The goth vampire-wannabe, the heavy metal busboy, the slut, the ninja of the trash heap, the feminista mayor, the gay restaurant owner, the former-bowling champ, the bandidos, the Christian missionary gone bad, the good cop, the bad cop, oh, and of course, the protagonist—the sweet and beautiful teenage girl. To take a look at the cast of characters of Into the Beautiful North, one might assume they were reading a novel meant for a young adult audience. Throw in the references to Johnny Depp, Emo, and MTV and they’d be sure of it.

Urrea’s latest novel tells the story of a group of Mexicans who make their way in to the United States to claim some of their men back. They do so to repopulate their village and protect it from the bandidos who are taking over. Along the way they encounter beatings, deportation, and racism, all of which is practically light-hearted.

Beneath it all, however, there is something mature about this book. I haven’t read Urrea before, so perhaps I am making too great of an assumption here, but I would venture to guess that Into the Beautiful North is to Urrea as Tortilla Flat is to Steinbeck: The lighthearted drama of a group of ragtag misfits. Based solely on their similarities, I get the feeling that Urrea can be much more serious.

Judging this novel by its own merits, I can say little more than I enjoyed it. It was entertaining. Aside from its informative glimpses into Mexican culture, I doubt the author had a goal beyond amusement. The characters were entertaining, but equally unrealistic and flat. The story caught my attention, but didn’t urge me to take any action or feel any emotion. The language was simple, stripped down to the bare minimum, but equally forgettable.

Into the Beautiful North was unlike any novel I’ve read before. It’s not easily classified. It felt like an award winning piece of literature wrapped in a layer of teen fiction trying to pass itself off as a book for the general fiction crowd. Whatever you want to call it, it is a novel that is easily accessible to many different classes of readers. ( )
  chrisblocker | Mar 30, 2013 |
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O friends, I have come searching for you,

I crossed over flowering fields,

And here, at last, I've found you.


Tell me your stories.

O friends, I am here.

- Xayacamach of Tizatlán
for Megan
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The bandidos came to the village at the worst possible time.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316025275, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:42 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Nineteen-year-old Nayeli works at a taco shop in her Mexican village and dreams about her father, who journeyed to the US when she was young. 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."--Provided by publisher.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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