The house of broken angels : a novel / Luis Alberto Urrea.

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  • Additional Information
    • Edition:
      First edition.
    • ISBN:
      9780316154888
      0316154881
    • OCLC:
      ocn993420376
      993420376
    • Accession Number:
      fay.559909

Reviews

Booklist Reviews 2018 February #1

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. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2017 October #2

American Book Award winner, New York Times Notable Book honoree, and Pulitzer Prize finalist Urrea has made his mark in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Here he crafts the San Diego-set story of a final birthday party thrown for fading patriarch Miguel Angel De La Cruz, known to everyone as Big Angel. When his ancient mother dies unexpectedly, the event turns into a celebration of the family's history. Billed as the definitive Mexican American immigrant story.

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

LJ Reviews 2018 February #1

In this aptly named family saga, patriarch Miguel Angel de la Cruz, or Big Angel, narrates his life story to himself in effort to resolve his past. The week after the death of his mother, Big Angel is determined to celebrate his last birthday in the wake of a cancer diagnosis. But he is haunted by childhood memories of La Paz, Mexico, along with the ghosts of two sons—one dead, one vanished—and a distant relationship with gringo half-brother Little Angel. Pulitzer Prize finalist Urrea (The Water Museum) masterfully crafts a portrait of a sprawling family living in different worlds: some are undocumented, others American citizens. As the celebration takes place in Southern California, family feuds and scandals are temporarily put on hold. Through Urrea's prose, the story of Big Angel comes to light: the emotional courtship of Perla, struggles to parent her sons Yndio and Braulio, and efforts to raise children Minnie and Lalo. Although the novel starts slowly, the birthday party delivers suspense and surprise. As in Urrea's previous books, every character and detail adds insight, especially Lalo's fears about living in his dad's shadow. VERDICT Though fiction, Urrea's newest is an honest and moving portrayal of how families fall apart and come together during difficult times. [See Prepub Alert, 9/25/17.]—Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal

Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

PW Reviews 2018 January #5

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 2018 Publishers Weekly.