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Into the Beautiful North (edition 2010)

by Luis Albert Urrea

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5125319,823 (3.88)71
Member:jennybooks
Title:Into the Beautiful North
Authors:Luis Albert Urrea
Info:Little Brown P/B (2010), Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea

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"The bandidos came to the village at the worst possible time. Of course, everyone in Mexico would agree that there is no particularly good time for bad men to come to town. But Tres Camerones was unguarded on that late summer's day when so many things had already changed. And everything that remained was about to change forever."

So begins [Into the Beautiful North], a novel about Tres Camerones, a village that is being threatened by drug trafficking. Nayeli, a nineteen-year-old who works at a taco shop, is concerned. Many men, including Nayeli's father, have left the village to go the U.S. When Nayeli's Aunt Irma is elected mayor of Tres Camerones, Nayeli decides to take matters into her own hands. Inspired by The Magnificent Seven, Nayeli and three friends head to the U.S. to bring back seven men to protect the village.

Despite the seriousness of the issues at the heart of this novel, Urrea brings humor to every page. Nayeli herself is a compelling heroine. Although she and her friends face barriers and prejudice, they also find people who give them a paltry but shared meal, a place to stay, a sweatshirt, a ride to the bus station. The collection of supporting characters leaps off the pages. In the end, Urrea doesn't provide Nayeli with any easy outs. Instead, he has created a character who survives by her own wits. ( )
  porch_reader | Nov 9, 2014 |
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 |
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Epigraph
O friends, I have come searching for you,

I crossed over flowering fields,

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

Rejoice.

Tell me your stories.

O friends, I am here.

- Xayacamach of Tizatlán
Dedication
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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