In this "raucous, moving, and necessary" story by a Pulitzer Prize finalist (San Francisco Chronicle), the De La Cruzes, a family on the Mexican-American border, celebrate two of their most beloved relatives during a joyous and bittersweet weekend.
"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"Intimate and touching . . . the stuff of legend." -- San Francisco Chronicle"An immensely charming and moving tale." -- Boston GlobeNational Bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award finalistA New York Times Notable BookOne of the Best Books of the Year from National Public Radio, American Library Association, San Francisco Chronicle, BookPage, Newsday, BuzzFeed, Kirkus, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Literary Hub
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The slow fade of "Big Angel" de La Cruz—an ailing and gregarious Mexican patriarch—provides the backdrop to this rich, multigenerational saga. As Big Angel prepares for his mother’s funeral, we meet his colorful clan, which includes a college professor, a newsstand owner, gangbangers, and the frontman of a metal band called Satanic Hispanic. Mortality forces the family to confront the passage of time and their contentious relationships. Luis Alberto Urrea, author of the memoir Nobody's Son, plays his characters’ emotions like a virtuoso. The House of Broken Angels is downright symphonic.
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Simply beautiful. A modern classic.
A messy, beautiful book about a realistic family that will tear your heart and make you smile at the same time. Timely, important, and exceptional. A must read.