“If All of Rochester Read the Same Book…” 2013 Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea

riters & Books is pleased to announce our selection for the 2013 “If All of Rochester Read the Same Book….” program, the novel Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea.

Click here for our calendar for events taking place beginning in February. The author will be visiting Rochester for several events March 27-29, 2013.


Luis-Alberto-Urrea Author Luis Alberto Urrea is the author of the novels The Hummingbird’s Daughter, Into the Beautiful North, Queen of America and Mr. Mendoza’s Paintbrush (a graphic novel with artwork by Christopher Cardinale) and the short story collection Six Kinds of Sky. His nonfiction titles include The Devil’s Highway, Across the Wire: Life and Hard Times on the Mexican Border and the memoir Nobody’s Son: Notes from an American Life. Urrea has also written several volumes of poetry. He is the winner of a Lannan Literary Award and the Christopher Award, and the recipient of an American Book Award, a Western States Book Award and a Colorado Book Award. In 2001, Luis was inducted into the Latino Literary Hall of Fame.

Click here to read a print interview with Luis Urrea.

Click here to watch an interview with Luis Urrea on Bill Moyers.


northNineteen-year-old Nayeli works at a taco shop in her Mexican village and dreams about her father, who journeyed to the US when she was young. 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.

“[Into the Beautiful North] is deliciously composed…[Urrea writes] in a sweet but serious style…You find it in the dialogue…You find it in the description of the countryside… the plot gathers as much strength as the prose..”
(Alan Cheuse, Chicago Tribune)

“Awash in a subtle kind of satire…Aa funny and poignant impossible journey…Into the Beautiful North is a refreshing antidote to all the negativity currently surrounding Mexico.”
(Roberto Ontiveros, Dallas Morning News)

“No great adventure is told without great characters, and Urrea certainly knows how to create them…that Urrea has turned a usually disturbing subject into a book that keeps a smile on your face is a tribute to his storytelling.” (Miami Herald)

“[A] wondrous yarn in the hands of a terrific storyteller…Urrea’s meticulous detail makes the story come to life…Not to trivialize, but these characters cry out for a sequel-maybe a telenovela?–They are too good for just a single outing.” (Valerie Ryan, Seattle Times)

“A wonderful comic satire…Urrea uses a breathtaking Mexican magical realism to construct a shimmering portrait of the United States.” (Denver Post)

“With self-awareness and irony, Into the Beautiful North acknowledges its debt to the idealistic quest narrative and the tragic migration story…Urrea simultaneously explicates the seriousness of Mexican-US immigration while drolly narrating a Wizard of Oz-like circular fairy tale.” (Bookslut)

“A fantastical tale…” (Newark Star-Ledger)

“It only takes a few pages of Luis Alberto Urrea’s thoroughly enjoyable Into the Beautiful North to start you wondering whether this book will break or warm your heart…So which is it?…A little of both, of course, much like the shared history of both [the U.S. and Mexico].” (Bookpage)

“Quest novels announce their purpose in a straightforward manner: Colorful, memorable characters prepare for and embark on a journey of immense significance…Into the Beautiful North is just such a novel. Among the many pleasures…is its big-hearted view of the United States as a foreign country. Since this is a quest, not a political novel, Urrea never gets bogged down in messages.” (San Diego Union-Tribune)

“Luis Urrea has the charisma of a born storyteller and a poet’s gift for transcendent language. It would be hard to find a writer today more generously talented, and what he writes matters deeply.” (Debra Dean, author of The Madonnas of Leningrad)

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