Cover image for The house of broken angels : a novel
Title:
The house of broken angels : a novel
Author:
Urrea, Luis Alberto.
ISBN:
9780316154888
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Physical Description:
ix, 326 pages ; 25 cm
Abstract:
"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 herself, leading to a farewell doubleheader in a single weekend. 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. The story of the de La Cruzes is the quintessential American story. This indelible portrait of a complex family reminds us of what it means to be the first generation and to live two lives across one border. It takes us into a world we have not known, while reflecting back the hopes and dreams of our own families. 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."--Amazon.com

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Cohocton Public Library 1 FICTION Adult Fiction Book
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Corning - Southeast Steuben County Library 1 FIC URR Adult Fiction Book
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Elmira - Steele Memorial Library 1 FICTION Adult Fiction Book
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Prattsburgh Library 1 FIC URR Adult Fiction Book
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Wayland Free Library 1 FICTION URR Adult Fiction Book
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Summary

Summary

The quintessential story of what it means to be the first generation to live two lives across one border, The House of Broken Angels is Pulitzer Prize finalist Luis Alberto Urrea's unforgettable portrait of the De La Cruz family as they celebrate the lives of two of their most beloved members over the course of one raucous and bittersweet weekend.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER
"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
"A raucous, moving, and necessary book . . . Intimate and touching . . . the stuff of legend." -- San Francisco Chronicle
"Brilliant . . . Exceptional . . . The House of Broken Angels hums with joy." --NPR
"An immensely charming and moving tale." -- Boston Globe
"A book about celebration that it, itself, a celebration." -- Washington Post


Author Notes

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 collection 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 3

Booklist Review

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.--Báez, Diego Copyright 2018 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Despite the title, the Angels here are more damaged than broken, with even a promise of salvation-more than less-by title's end. Narrated by Urrea (The Water Museum), who has magnificently recorded most of his audio adaptations, this House comes to life across borders, generations, genders, and ages. The matriarch of the sprawling de la Cruz family is dead just as her eldest son, Miguel Angel-known as "Big Angel"-is about to celebrate a farewell birthday blowout before he succumbs to terminal cancer. Over the funeral/party double-header weekend, the extended clan gather in San Diego to eulogize and revel in the decades spent as family and strangers, as loved ones and pariahs. Amidst siblings, children, in-laws, nieces, nephews, spouses, and exes arrives Big Angel's half-brother, Seattle English professor Gabriel Angel. Armed with a notebook to keep track of who's who, Little Angel will finally figure out his rightful place. VERDICT Urrea's outstanding ability to individualize his extensive cast adds yet another enhancing layer to his already spectacular novel. ["An honest and moving portrayal of how families fall apart and come together during difficult times": LJ 2/1/18 review of the Little, Brown hc.]-Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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