Title: Into the Beautiful North
Author: Luis Alberto Urrea
Release Date: May 19, 2009
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company
Genre: Literary Fiction, Multicultural Fiction
Rating: 3 out of 5
From the publisher’s website:
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.
I’ve been loving the books my book club has been picking so far. Generally speaking, they are books I wouldn’t have normally picked up on my own. It’s getting me to read books that are completely different and outside my normal comfort zone. Into the Beautiful North was our pick for May.
I didn’t know what to expect with Into the Beautiful North. The premise was a little odd to say the least, but I think its one of those novels where you are supposed to suspend any sense of disbelief in order to enjoy it. The book was also very funny. There’s a lot of irony contained within. It was smart humor, so I know that I missed some of it. Luckily, I speak relatively good Spanish, so I could pick up on much of the irony.
Into the Beautiful North was also an incredibly eye opening look at immigration in the United States, especially attitudes towards illegal immigration. Nayeli and her friends didn’t have an easy time on their journey and some of the people they met were really difficult.
Urrea’s writing is also very beautiful in Into the Beautiful North. The book was very easy to read because of his gorgeous prose. Unfortunately, despite the fact that the book is wonderfully written, I just couldn’t get into the story. As mentioned before, the premise was difficult to swallow. Also, I never really felt any connection to any of the characters. While the story was easy to read and the pages turned quickly, I had no real reason to continue reading. There really wasn’t anything within the story that made me want to keep going. If this hadn’t been a book club pick, I probably would not have finished it!
That’s not to say that Into the Beautiful North is bad; it just wasn’t for me. It certainly was well written, and while I didn’t love the story, I still am planning on checking out some of Urrea’s other work!
Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book to review!