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The House of Broken Angels
Cover of The House of Broken Angels
The House of Broken Angels
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In this "raucous, moving, and necessary" (San Francisco Chronicle) story by a Pulitzer Prize finalist, the De La Cruzes, a family on the Mexican-American border, celebrate two of their most beloved...
In this "raucous, moving, and necessary" (San Francisco Chronicle) story by a Pulitzer Prize finalist, the De La Cruzes, a family on the Mexican-American border, celebrate two of their most beloved...
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Description-

  • In this "raucous, moving, and necessary" (San Francisco Chronicle) story by a Pulitzer Prize finalist, the De La Cruzes, a family on the Mexican-American border, celebrate two of their most beloved relatives during a joyous and bittersweet weekend.


    National Bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist


    A New York Times Notable Book / One of the Best Books of the Year from National Public Radio, American Library Association, San Francisco Chronicle, BookPage, Newsday, BuzzFeed, Kirkus Reviews, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Literary Hub


    "All we do, mija, is love. Love is the answer. Nothing stops it. Not borders. Not death."


    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, transforming the weekend into a farewell doubleheader. 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.


    Across two bittersweet days in their San Diego neighborhood, the revelers mingle among the palm trees and cacti, celebrating the lives of Big Angel and his mother, and recounting the many inspiring tales that have passed into family lore, the acts both ordinary and heroic that brought these citizens to a fraught and sublime country and allowed them to flourish in the land they have come to call home.


    Teeming with brilliance and humor, authentic at every turn, The House of Broken Angels is Luis Alberto Urrea at his best, and cements his reputation as a storyteller of the first rank.



    "Epic . . . Rambunctious . . . Highly entertaining." —New York Times Book Review


    "Intimate and touching . . . the stuff of legend." —San Francisco Chronicle


    "An immensely charming and moving tale." —Boston Globe

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his landmark work of nonficiton The Devil's Highway, Luis Alberto Urrea is also the bestselling author of the novels The Hummingbird's Daughter, Into the Beautiful North, and Queen of America, as well as the story collections The Water Museum, a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist. He has won the Lannan Literary Award, an Edgar Award, and a 2017 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, among many other honors. Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and American mother, he lives outside of Chicago and teaches at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    January 15, 2018
    A family saga that asks what it means to be American.Urrea (The Water Museum, 2015, etc.) tells the story of Miguel Angel de la Cruz, or Big Angel, who must bury his mother as he himself is dying. Before his death, though, he means to celebrate one last birthday. "He wanted a birthday, pues. A last birthday," Angel's sister explains, and from that simple statement, the entire book unfolds. Urrea is an accomplished writer of fiction and nonfiction; his novel The Hummingbird's Daughter was inspired by his great-aunt, the Mexican mystic Teresita Urrea, and The Devils' Highway: A True Story, which recounts a catastrophic border crossing, was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize. Here, he returns to his family as source, modeling Big Angel, or at least his circumstance, on his oldest brother, who died a month after their mother's funeral. The result is a novel that is knowing and intimate, funny and tragic at once. The de la Cruzes are a big clan, messy and complex. The members have competing agendas, secrets, but at the same time, all share a commitment to family. "All we do, mija," Big Angel tells his daughter, "is love. Love is the answer. Nothing stops it. Not borders. Not death." It's impossible to read that line (or, for that matter, this novel) without reflecting on the current American moment, in which Mexican-American families such as the de la Cruzes are often vilified. But if Urrea's novel is anything, it is an American tale. It is a celebration, although Urrea is no sentimentalist; he knows the territory in which his narrative unfolds. There is tragedy here and danger; these are real people, living in the real world. Still, even when that world intrudes, it only heightens the strength, the resilience, of the family. "He thought he was still alive to make his amends," Urrea writes of Big Angel. "He thought he was alive to try one last hour to unite his family. But now he knew...he was alive to save his boy's life. His youngest son."Even in death, Urrea shows, we never lose our connection to one another, which is the point of this deft and moving book.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 29, 2018
    In Urrea’s exuberant new novel of Mexican-American life, 70-year-old patriarch Big Angel de la Cruz is dying, and he wants to have one last birthday blowout. Unfortunately, his 100-year-old mother, America, dies the week of his party, so funeral and birthday are celebrated one day apart. The entire contentious, riotous de la Cruz clan descends on San Diego for the events—“High rollers and college students, prison veternaos and welfare mothers, happy kids and sad old-timers and pinches gringos and all available relatives.” Not to mention figurative ghosts of the departed and an unexpected guest with a gun. Taking place over the course of two days, with time out for an extended flashback to Big Angel’s journey from La Paz to San Diego in the 1960s, the narrative follows Big Angel and his extended familia as they air old grievances, initiate new romances, and try to put their relationships in perspective. Of the large cast, standouts include Perla, Big Angel’s wife, the object of his undimmed affection; Little Angel, his half-Anglo half-brother, who strains to remain aloof; and Lalo, his son, trailing a lifetime of bad decisions. Urrea (The Hummingbird’s Daughter) has written a vital, vibrant book about the immigrant experience that is a messy celebration of life’s common joys and sorrows. Agent: Sandra Dijkstra, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

  • Booklist

    February 1, 2018
    In his latest novel, Urrea (The Water Museum, 2015) revisits themes of borderland life, Southern California culture, and the immigrant experience through the expansive family of Miguel Angel de la Cruz, a patriarch slowly succumbing to illness. Over the course of a single weekend in San Diego, Big Angel's relatives from every extended branch of the family tree gather to celebrate his life in a final send-off, a living funeral, everything planned just the way he wants it, when suddenly his centenarian mother upstages her son by dying first. The family switches gears to accommodate this dual mourning, and Urrea pulls readers into Big Angel's complex relationships with wife, Perla, and with their children, Minnie, Lalo, and the eldest, gender-nonconforming outcast Yndio. Painful memories bubble to the surface, especially surrounding the death of one son, Braulio, as well as the legacy of Big Angel's father, Antonio, who haunts him. Urrea once again captures the anxieties and joys of a family balanced on the borders between generations, El Norte and Mexico, and life and death. A quintessentially American story.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

  • Library Journal

    February 1, 2018

    In this aptly named family saga, patriarch Miguel Angel de la Cruz, or Big Angel, narrates his life story to himself in effort to resolve his past. The week after the death of his mother, Big Angel is determined to celebrate his last birthday in the wake of a cancer diagnosis. But he is haunted by childhood memories of La Paz, Mexico, along with the ghosts of two sons--one dead, one vanished--and a distant relationship with gringo half-brother Little Angel. Pulitzer Prize finalist Urrea (The Water Museum) masterfully crafts a portrait of a sprawling family living in different worlds: some are undocumented, others American citizens. As the celebration takes place in Southern California, family feuds and scandals are temporarily put on hold. Through Urrea's prose, the story of Big Angel comes to light: the emotional courtship of Perla, struggles to parent her sons Yndio and Braulio, and efforts to raise children Minnie and Lalo. Although the novel starts slowly, the birthday party delivers suspense and surprise. As in Urrea's previous books, every character and detail adds insight, especially Lalo's fears about living in his dad's shadow. VERDICT Though fiction, Urrea's newest is an honest and moving portrayal of how families fall apart and come together during difficult times. [See Prepub Alert, 9/25/17.]--Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    October 15, 2017

    American Book Award winner, New York Times Notable Book honoree, and Pulitzer Prize finalist Urrea has made his mark in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Here he crafts the San Diego-set story of a final birthday party thrown for fading patriarch Miguel Angel De La Cruz, known to everyone as Big Angel. When his ancient mother dies unexpectedly, the event turns into a celebration of the family's history. Billed as the definitive Mexican American immigrant story.

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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