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American Academy of Arts & Letters Literature Award, 2017
Finalist PEN/Faulkner Fiction Award, 2016
From one of America’s preeminent literary voices comes a new story collection that proves once again why the writing of Luis Alberto Urrea has been called “wickedly good” (Kansas City Star), “cinematic and charged” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), and “studded with delights” (Chicago Tribune). Examining the borders between one nation and another, between one person and another, Urrea reveals his mastery of the short form. This collection includes the Edgar-award winning “Amapola” and his now-classic “Bid Farewell to Her Many Horses,” which had the honor of being chosen for NPR’s “Selected Shorts” not once but twice.
Suffused with wanderlust, compassion, and no small amount of rock and roll, The Water Museum is a collection that confirms Luis Alberto Urrea as an American master.
“All 13 stories are realistic and unsparing, as unflinching and hard-hitting as they are beautiful. It’s difficult to find comparisons to an author as original as Urrea, a kind of literary badass who still believes in love. The Water Museum is a brilliant, powerful collection, and Luis Alberto Urrea is a master storyteller with a rock and roll heart.” NPR.org
“Urrea, celebrated for his historical sagas and nonfiction, offers 13 stories that reflect both sides of his Mexican-American heritage while stretching the reader’s understanding of human boundaries…Urrea’s command of language is matched only by his empathy for his characters.” Kirkus (Starred Review)
“Urrea has a wonderful eye for details and captures each story’s context with wonderfully sharp observations….These stories are vibrant, tender, and invoke a strong sense of place.” Publishers Weekly
“Urrea’s well-recommended collection leads readers to feel empathy for each character, deserving or not, and provides a gut-wrenching view of life along the sidelines.” Library Journal
My wife calls this book “the gateway drug.” I call it my Whitman’s Sampler. The idea being that I seem to be entering an era when a lot of new readers come my way. We thought it would be useful to present a snack platter of all the things I do in fiction. The stories are both old and new. Some of them come from an older book called Six Kinds of Sky. Sad, really–been writing since high school; you’d think I could come up with more stories. Well, I have lots of stories. But these are my favorites. The crazy Chicano stories were all part of an ancient fossil version of my new novel, The House of Broken Angels. Different Angels, and a different house. The story “Amapola” accidentally won the Edgar Award for being the best crime/mystery story of the year. I was embarrassed, but thrilled to meet Lee Child and spy on my heroes of mystery and thriller writing. On a personal note, the audiobook sessions for this volume were uproarious. We kept having to stop the machines because we were all laughing so hard.