Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The house of broken Angels, by Luis Alberto Urrea

I had some difficulty getting into this novel but once I got caught up in the story and just let whatever convoluted family relationship or Spanish I didn’t immediately get go by, I couldn’t put it down.  The action takes place in the few days between the funeral of the 99-year-old matriarch of the Mexican-American de la Cruz family and the 70th birthday of her son, Big Angel.  Big Angel is, himself, dying of cancer and is determined to have one final fiesta in celebration of his life.  The two events bring together relatives near and far, including  Big Angel’s wife Perla’s sisters, the remaining children of the couple, and Big Angel’s brothers, including the half-gringo Little Angel who has escaped to Seattle.  Old hurts and sorrows are revisited, complicated adulterous affairs reviewed, and joyous occasions celebrated.  And there are secrets, of course, many secrets, some of which come to light.  Despite all of the characters many flaws, the reader comes to care for them.  Complicated lives lived on both sides of the border.  326 pp.

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