Stories from the Border Lands

Our guest blogger is Rita. Rita works at the library administration building where she oversees the 18 neighborhood libraries and services to language minorities.  Besides reading healthy amounts of both fiction and nonfiction, she consumes a lot of gardening books. 

A few years ago I read my first book by Luis Urrea, The Devil’s Highway, a remarkable nonfiction recounting of a group of migrants who were lost in the desert region where I grew up. Urrea was in the running for the Pulitzer for this book for good reason, and so I jumped at the opportunity to hear him speak at the recent Public Libraries Association conference. What delighted and surprised me was his wicked sense of humor and his own remarkable story that moved the audience to tears and gales of laughter in equal measure.

Into the Beautiful North is his latest novel, and it features the humor I so enjoyed during his lecture. Inspired by the movie The Magnificent Seven a group of teenage Mexican girls head north to get their men folk back to fight the narco-traffickers who have taken over their sleepy village. My favorite character by far is the the heroine Nayeli, who is on her quest for justice and her long-absent father. This novel weaves in the stuff of today’s headlines (undocumented Mexicans crossing the Arizona desert) into an entertaining, fast read. Learn more about Urrea's thoughts about the book in this author interview. I’d also recommend the movies that inspired this fictional odyssey north: the Western drama The Magnificent Sevenand the Japanese epic film that started it all - Seven Samurai