Into the Beautiful North

Available in hardcover, paperback,

for your e-reader, your Kindle

and as an audiobook

Also in Spanish: Rumbo al Hermoso Norte

Nineteen-year-old Nayeli works at a taco shop in her Mexican village and dreams about her father, who journeyed to the US to find work. Recently, it has dawned on her that he isn't the only man who has left town. In fact, there are almost no men in the village--they've all gone north. While watching The Magnificent Seven, Nayeli decides to go north herself and recruit seven men--her own "Siete Magnificos"--to repopulate her hometown and protect it from the bandidos who plan on taking it over. Filled with unforgettable characters and prose as radiant as the Sinaloan sun, INTO THE BEAUTIFUL NORTH is the story of an irresistible young woman's quest to find herself on both sides of the fence.

 

From Luis:

About Into the Beautiful North

After the torture of writing The Devil’s Highway and the turmoil of completing The Hummingbird’s Daughter, I needed a break.  I might have stopped writing at all except for haiku and road journals if I didn’t owe the good folks at Hachette another book… or ten.  So I set out to make myself happy.  I confess:  this book was utterly selfish.  But I also thought that if I made myself laugh out loud every day, perhaps you would laugh too.  And we all needed a laugh.

Still, I had made a vow to God a long time ago that I would keep elements of witness and service in everything I write.  This being, for me, a spiritual journey rather than (sigh) a commercial one.  So I worked very consciously to embed elements of social commentary, subversion, surprise and humanity in every part of the book.  Some critics were harsh at first.  Yes, I knew it was “no Hummingbird’s Daughter.”  But I also thought it had some of the most humanitarian and provocative stuff in anything I’d ever written.  The initial chuckles may have disguised that. 

I was thrilled beyond belief that Latina magazine picked it as one of its best beach-reads.  Frankly, I was enjoying a bit of pop-writing.  I wanted a sunny book that went to the beach in a mesh bag and occasionally made the reader say, Hmmmm.

It felt subversive to make undocumented people the heroes of an American book.  To make the three male heroes a gay man, a Mexican bowling alley janitor, and a scary cholo from the Tijuana municipal garbage dump.  It also felt subversive to make the action-hero a 19 year old young woman undertaking a heroine’s journey—Mad Max and Beowulf have nothing on Nayeli!

Lately, people have been clamoring for sequels.  It’s funny—time changes all careers.  Now I’m not immediately known as “the author of Hummingbird,” but as the author of Beautiful North.  Here’s what readers and a couple of critics (hello, Alan Cheuse)  want to see:  1) the battle of Tres Camarones; 2) Tacho’s big gay wedding.  YES!

I was pretty sure I had done something right when I was mocked for an hour by an atheist friend for putting so many ridiculous religious images in the book.  Then, when I got home, I had a letter from a nice Illinois church lady chiding me for the anti-Christian bias in the book.  For the record:  this time I have to side with the atheist.

Book club members have been some of my most enthusiastic and careful readers. I’m thrilled to share my work with you, answer your questions and tell you some of the stories behind the stories. This is our spot, just for us. Here, we can chat:  If I’m nearby, I’ll come and visit your club. Otherwise, we can Skype, talk over the phone or email. Sometimes, I’ll send surprises or hold contests.

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upcoming events

Carlsbad Reads Together
Carlsbad Reads Together Feb 25th 7 p.m. Carlsbad, CA City Library

The City of Carlsbad is going Into the Beautiful North. And I'll be there, too! Details here

Carlsbad, CA City Library
Feb 25th
2017
7 p.m.
Tucson Festival of Books
Tucson Festival of Books Mar 11th to Mar 12th Tucson, AZ

Always happy to make my return. Details here

Tucson, AZ
Mar 11th to Mar 12th
2017
Poetry Reading
Poetry Reading Mar 22nd 7 p.m. Dominican University Lund Auditorium, River Forest IL

Honored to revisit Dominican University for the fourth annual Caesar and Patricia Tabet Poetry Reading. Details here. 

Dominican University Lund Auditorium, River Forest IL
Mar 22nd
2017
7 p.m.
Border Cantos
Border Cantos Mar 31st 7 p.m. Bentonville, AR

Reading and talk at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Details here.

Bentonville, AR
Mar 31st
2017
7 p.m.
PEN/Faulkner Reading Series
PEN/Faulkner Reading Series Apr 7th 7:30 p.m. Folger Library, Washington DC

Proud to be part of the prestigious series in a reading with Laila Lalami and Shobha Rao. Tickets and details here

Folger Library, Washington DC
Apr 7th
2017
7:30 p.m.