Powell’s | IndieBound | Amazon | B&N | BAM
Available now hardcover, paperback, for your e-reader and as a downloadable audiobook, read by Luis
After the bloody Tomochic rebellion, Teresita Urrea, beloved healer and “Saint of Cabora,” flees with her father to Arizona. But their plans are derailed when she once again is claimed as the spiritual leader of the Mexican Revolution. Besieged by pilgrims and pursued by assassins, Teresita embarks on a journey through turn-of-the-century industrial America-New York, San Francisco, St. Louis. She meets immigrants and tycoons, European royalty and Cuban poets, all waking to the new American century. And as she decides what her own role in this modern future will be, she must ask herself: can a saint fall in love? At turns heartbreaking, uplifting, and riotously funny, QUEEN OF AMERICA reconfirms Luis Alberto Urrea’s status as a writer of the first rank.
“‘Who is more of an outlaw than a saint?'” one of Luis Urrea’s characters poses. The answer is this ferocious, ribald romance of the border. Jaunty, bawdy, gritty, sweet, Queen of America has a bottomless comic energy and a heart large enough to accept-even revel in-all of human folly.”―Stewart O’Nan, author of Emily Alone and Songs for the Missing
“Captivating…With deft humor and a poetic lyricism that seamlessly folds one scene into another, Urrea unfolds the story of his real-life great-aunt Teresita, a teenage saint who was known for healing miracles… Each scene in Queen of America unfurls gracefully like delicate wisps of smoke. Whether Teresita is being held captive in Northern California by a band of profiteering medical professionals, or being feted like a queen in New York’s social circles, this epic novel paints a portrait of America-and its inhabitants-with grace and style. It will spark fire in readers’ hearts.”―Megan Fishmann, Bookpage
“Urrea delights in the texture of things. Turn-of-the-century America, particularly New York, comes alive at his fingertips: He sees both the silk and the mud… In imagining the story of his great-aunt Teresita, Urrea might have chosen to make her a hero; that would have been easier. What we get is more complicated, more modern… Hers is the story of what it means to have a gift, and how a talent can also be a burden.”―Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times
“Colorful [and] exuberant.”―Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal
“A magnificent work of literary alchemy, so masterfully infused with myth and history, you will feel these characters in your heart, your gut. You will grieve for their immortal souls.”―Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
“A gritty, bold, and much-anticipated sequel to The Hummingbird’s Daughter… Fiercely romantic and at times heartbreaking but also full of humor, Urrea’s latest novel blends fairy tale, Western adventure, folk tale, and historical drama. Fans of Hummingbird and readers new to Urrea’s work will surely enjoy this magnificent, epic novel.”―Library Journal
About Queen of America
This is the sequel to The Hummingbird’s Daughter. It’s a personal favorite because I feel I made some happy forward moves in my writing. It is, by nature of the milieu, different from its predecessor. Yet it still trods the pathways of the former book. You can imagine it this way: 19thcentury indigenous Mexico offers different magic than, say, early 20th century Manhattan. It goes from a planted, native tale, to the story of immigrants entering not only a new world, but a new century. With miracles. Or: how does a young woman go from Mexican sainthood to her day’s version of pop-stardom? How does one try to be the Madonna, while being Madonna?
Ain’t easy, friends. But it is compelling, and sometimes wildly amusing, frightening, even romantic. I had to surrender to the story more than the history books or the shamanic teachers. So this book is faster, I think. Everything I have ever learned about writing burst on the page before my eyes. I will have to leave it to readers and critics to decide if it is great, or even good. But I was writing with lightning in my hand on some pages, and it never felt so good.
Tucson, El Paso, Clifton, San Francisco, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and ultimately New York. Marriages, births, deaths. Travel and travails. After twenty-six years, the saga is complete.
And I love Little, Brown for the astonishing cover they created!
My daydream is to someday see a box set with both books in a nice case. Boy, would that be a fat box.