“Into the Beautiful North” by Luis Alberto Urrea

Into The Beautiful NorthSouth of the border, in a backwater town of Sinaloa, young Nayeli schemes and dreams. Then, she gathers her “army” of misfits and sardonic companions for her adventure into “the beautiful North.”

Here’s the first book I’ve completed in 2017!  I took a long time to finish reading it. Although I don’t consider this Urrea’s best novel or book, it is funny and rollicking. The author presents a large cast of characters and an evolving story line. Because of this, it took me a while to sink my teeth into the book.

Crossing Borders

Urrea writes passionately and skillfully about “crossing the border.” For a serious look at these dangerous and desperate treks, see his book “The Devil’s Highway” (non-fiction). “Into the Beautiful North” tells a much lighter story around the human drama of immigration. Since he wrote these books (2005 and 2009), some of his references to the political situation around immigration and the border have changed. But, the change isn’t necessarily for the better. Maybe it’s just gotten worse, and Urrea can write a follow-up about the impending “wall.”

Review of “the North”

In the end, I liked the main characters, primarily strong women on various missions and quirky men as their sidekicks. They ultimately embark on a wild road trip filled with irony. As a Mexican American, I chuckled at all the sly references and subtleties (some in Spanish) that Urrea packs into this book. He spins an entertaining tale about the indomitable Tia Irma and Nayeli, the dilemma facing a town that has been emptied of men, and their quest to fill this void.

Author information: Luis Alberto Urrea

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