Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
With a great cast of characters and a plot worthy of any hero’s quest, Into the Beautiful North is a story that will stick with you. Nayeli is a young woman in the small Mexican town of Tres Camarones, working at a taco stand and hanging out with friends. When the drug bandits arrive to threaten the citizens of Tres Camarones, she looks around for the men who will protect the town, realizing that except for the little boys and old men, they have all gone north. This includes Nayeli’s father who left years before. Inspired by her Aunt Irma’s Yul Brynner film festival and the movie “The Magnificent Seven”, Nayeli develops a plan to go north and find 7 Mexican men to bring back to Tres Camarones.
Joined in her quest by her goth friend nicknamed “Vampi”, another girlfriend Yoloxochitl, and their gay friend Tacho, Nayeli leads the group into “Los Yunaites.” On their journey they will find friends, kind strangers, trouble and adventure. Urrea infuses this story with a genuine sense of humor and irony. The characters are people you won’t forget.
I listened to the audio version of this story. It is read by Susan Ericksen who does an admirable job with the vocabulary as well as the voices of the many characters.