The House of Broken Angels

The House of Broken Angels

Book - 2018
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"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" -- Publisher's weekly.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2018
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780316154888
Branch Call Number: Fiction Urrea
Characteristics: 326 pages ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

This book will be discussed on September 12.

This will be discussed at the book club on September 17, 2019.

This book will be discussed on September 12.

PimaLib_MaryG Mar 26, 2018

I have been waiting for this book for months and it was every bit as good as I expected and then some. The epic tale of Big Angel and his brother Little Angel takes place over two days, but through flashbacks it spans a lifetime. Urrea spins the tale of a cross-border family as only he can, using... Read More »

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Oct 09, 2019

This was lyrically written and an absolutely compelling read!

Aug 18, 2019

I had high hopes for this book based on other reviews. However, I found it tedious and difficult to relate to the main characters. Maybe some translations of the Spanish peppering the book would have helped, but I got about one third of the way through then decided to shelve it - literally.

Aug 02, 2019

NYT Now Read This Club

Groszerita Mar 17, 2019

Urrea's writing is so deeply intimate, raw and real. Spanish and spanglish words are woven in, it's as if though I am an observer watching and hearing Big Angel's familia.
I feel for Little Angel and his sense of not feeling like familia, not feeling like he belongs, yet he knows he does. I see Big Angel's godfather status and feel sympathy for him.

Mar 11, 2019

Thoroughly enjoyed this book

Feb 23, 2019

Didn’t finish this book. Unfortunately I am just learning Spanish so there were many words I had to look up. Doesn’t make for a fun reading experience.

Jan 13, 2019

Big Angel has a birthday bash while family is in gathered, one day after his mother's funeral. Their histories unfold revealing old wounds and connections. Big Angel is dying but this book brims with life, affection, humor and strife. The characters are unique and the telling is generous, the dialog is both sparkling and believable. This book is easily one of my favorites.

Nov 20, 2018

NY Times 2018 recommended book.

Aug 05, 2018

I am shocked that there are not any comments yet for this book! It is well worth reading!

This novel takes place over two days (with lots of flashbacks and reminiscences) and tells the story of a Mexican American family in California, focusing on Big Angel (who is dying of cancer, but who has gathered the whole family for his mother’s funeral and his last birthday party, on the same weekend) and Little Angel (his half-brother, who was raised by his white mother). There is a whole cast of characters in this large extended family. The stories are both funny and sad; the weekend is bittersweet.

In the Author’s Note, we learn that this novel was inspired by the author’s own brother’s death, so some of the stories are true (though much of it is pure fiction).

The author was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist for The Devil’s Highway, a work of nonfiction.

Jun 12, 2018

Oh, what a touching story of a Mexican-American famiy. Great characters composed of many parts just as people are. To some one Angel might be a father, to another, a husband, another, a leader in the community. The elder Angel’s much younger half-brother also named Angel is a college professor, a single man, a nephew and a person who might appear to have separated from his heritage. This novel pulls apart all the layers you’ll find in a family.

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