The Big Read Blog (Archive)

A Quest into the Beautiful North

Luis Alberto Urrea. Photo by Nicole Waite

As I hope everyone knows, The Big Read is growing once again. Earlier this month, we introduced three new titles: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, True Grit by Charles Portis, and Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea. While I'm excited by all three selections, I was especially happy to see Luis's book named to The Big Read. Into the Beautiful North is an adventure story that deals with serious issues like immigration and drug cartels. Urrea is the child of a Mexican father and an American mother, and his work tends to focus on the U.S.-Mexican border, and the people who move from one side to the other. That's certainly the focus of his novel, Into the Beautiful North. Nineteen-year-old Nayeli and her friends realize that all of the men in their small Mexican village have gone to the United States when a group of narco-dealers try to take over their town. When Nayeli and the others happen to see a badly dubbed print of The Magnificent Seven, they decide, "We can go to the United States, get seven guys, and bring them back to save our village.” And we're off on a quest for seven good men that takes us all across the United States. It's a quirky, disarming book that opens up the challenges and possibilities that the United States offers its sojourners. [1:37]

[audio:http://bigreadblog.arts.gov/wp-content/uploads/LuisUrrea-TBRBlog.mp3]

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