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The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto…
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The House of Broken Angels

by Luis Alberto Urrea

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2902757,665 (4.23)65

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English (25)  Piratical (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this story of a family. Big Angel is dying and the family gets together to say good bye. During this time, there are flashbacks to the past and also It felt so intimate and so real to me. I enjoyed the story of the man dying, facing his dying and his family dealing with his dying. I listened to the audio read by the author and I felt it was just perfect. Granted it is harder to make all the connections between the big family and reading it might have been better but I loved hearing the English, Spanish, and Spanglish. A great book. ( )
  Kristelh | Mar 9, 2019 |
This is a fun and surprisingly deep read. Big Angel, the patriarch of a Mexican-American family, knows he is dying and decides to call the family together for one last birthday party. As we learn about each member of the family, we also learn the history of the family and how they moved from Mexico to San Diego. There's tragedy and a lot of humor. Big Angel's reflections on life and his interactions with his half-brother Little Angel provide the depth.

My only gripe with the book was I had a hard time keeping track of who were sisters, brothers, cousins, sons, daughters, et cetera, which made it difficult to keep the generations and ages straight. ( )
  wilsonknut | Mar 7, 2019 |
Urrea chose the perfect technique to tell the story of this huge, crazy, tragic, loving family. Instead of apportioning voices by chapter or section, or unfolding events chronologically, he does a kind of dribble and pass story telling. gliding so smoothly between characters and eras that I didn't even notice the moment of handoff. While each character has their own story to tell, they are woven so beautifully together that the family as a whole has a very strong presence too - it's more than the sum of its parts. The character of Big Angel deserves to stand alongside other beloved larger-than-life figures like Falstaff ([b:King Henry IV, Part 1|13020|King Henry IV, Part 1|William Shakespeare|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1347520897s/13020.jpg|3335240]), Murphy ([b:One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest|332613|One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest|Ken Kesey|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1516211014s/332613.jpg|2100252]), or even Don Quixote. My only complaint is that I wish Ysidro had been more fleshed out. He was a character who deserved to have more of his story told from his own perspective. ( )
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
"He grabbed at a conversational life preserver that happened to drift across the open water of his mind."

There are all sorts of good sentences like this one, many of them very funny. I spent far too much time wondering whether to give this three and a half stars or four (really?). I was dubious early on, because I couldn't sort out who was related to whom, and how. Once I gave up and moved on, the characters came around again and fell into place. And I grew to like the book a lot. The people are engrossing, most a combination of the very good and the very bad. I came to care about them a great deal, to take them on their own terms, and to feel more accepting of living the same combination. This turned out to be an important book for me. I will probably read it again. ( )
  cmt100 | Feb 23, 2019 |
2019 TOB--I had trouble getting into this book. So if an author writes into the story how the youngest brother had to keep a notebook so that he knew how everyone was related, don't you think that maybe a family tree would have been helpful. Also, a lot of people had a nickname and their real name and nickname were both used during the book. Confusing. Then there is the assumption that we all speak Spanish. Sorry I don't and nothing was translated.

Having said all that, at page 300 I got hooked. Rather late in the book for that to happen but it did. And the ending and message it imparted tugged at my heart. So this is worth a read and who knows, one may like the first 300 pages better than I did. ( )
  kayanelson | Feb 21, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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Dedication
Jim Harrison told me to write this book. Cinderella told me first. You were both right. This is for her.

My niece Emilia Urrea was a shining example through times that inspired events in this novel.

And for Chayo, who danced at the funeral.

Juan Francisco and the Urrea family showed me how this story was possible.
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Big Angel was late to his own mother's funeral.
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"In his final days, beloved and ailing patriarch Miguel Angel de La Cruz, affectionately called Big Angel, has summoned his entire clan for one last legendary birthday party. But as the party approaches, his mother, nearly one hundred, dies herself, leading to a farewell doubleheader in a single weekend. Among the guests is Big Angel's half brother, known as Little Angel, who must reckon with the truth that although he shares a father with his siblings, he has not, as a half gringo, shared a life"--Dust jacket flap.… (more)

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