Into the Beautiful North Background

Into the Beautiful North Background

Luis Alberto Urrea’s 2009 novel Into the Beautiful North is set in Mexico and United States. The novel follows Nayeli, a nineteen year old girl living in a small Mexican village Tres Camarones. Confronted by the possibility of bandidos taking over her village, she sets north in United States to find seven valiant men after watching John Sturges’s 1960 Western The Magnificent Seven.

Roberto Ontiveros of Dallas Morning News notes, "Awash in a subtle kind of satire...A funny and poignant impossible journey...Into the Beautiful North is a refreshing antidote to all the negativity currently surrounding Mexico." Published by Hachette Book Group, this road novel is an intriguing coming of age story that goes beyond the personal and look at the unique relationship between United States and Mexico.

It is a very personal rendition of the trope of naïve hope and disillusionment. Into the Beautiful North is an innocently wrought American dream, engendered by Old School Hollywood. Alan Cheuse of Chicago Tribune writes that "[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". Peppered with humor, the novel deals with immigration and the politics of racial identity with a healthy dose of subversion and irony.

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