The quintessential story of what it means to be the first generation to live two lives across one border, The House of Broken Angels is Pulitzer Prize finalist Luis Alberto Urrea's unforgettable portrait of the De La Cruz family as they celebrate the lives of two of their most beloved members over the course of one raucous and bittersweet weekend.
National Bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist
A New York Times Notable Book / One of the Best Books of the Year from National Public Radio, American Library Association, San Francisco Chronicle, BookPage, Newsday, BuzzFeed, Kirkus Reviews, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Literary Hub
"All we do, mija, is love. Love is the answer. Nothing stops it. Not borders. Not death."
In his final days, beloved and ailing patriarch Miguel Angel de La Cruz, affectionately called Big Angel, has summoned his entire clan for one last legendary birthday party. But as the party approaches, his mother, nearly one hundred, dies, transforming the weekend into a farewell doubleheader. Among the guests is Big Angel's half brother, known as Little Angel, who must reckon with the truth that although he shares a father with his siblings, he has not, as a half gringo, shared a life.
Across two bittersweet days in their San Diego neighborhood, the revelers mingle among the palm trees and cacti, celebrating the lives of Big Angel and his mother, and recounting the many inspiring tales that have passed into family lore, the acts both ordinary and heroic that brought these citizens to a fraught and sublime country and allowed them to flourish in the land they have come to call home.
Teeming with brilliance and humor, authentic at every turn, The House of Broken Angels is Luis Alberto Urrea at his best, and cements his reputation as a storyteller of the first rank.
"Epic . . . Rambunctious . . . Highly entertaining." --New York Times Book Review
"A raucous, moving, and necessary book . . . Intimate and touching . . . the stuff of legend." --San Francisco Chronicle
"An immensely charming and moving tale." -- Boston Globe
" Epic . . . Rambunctious . . . Highly entertaining . . . Sorrowful and funny . . . Cheerfully profane . . . The quips and jokes come fast through a poignant novel that is very much about time itself . . . A powerful rendering of a Mexican-American family that is also an American family."-- Viet Thanh Nguyen, New York Times Book Review (cover review)
" A raucous, moving, and necessary book...Intimate and touching...The stuff of legend...There's deep heart and tenderness in this novel. The House of Broken Angels is, at its most political, a border story...Chillingly accurate, they're heartbreaking, and infuriating."-- Alexis Burling, San Francisco Chronicle
" An immensely charming and moving tale...Urrea deftly inhabits many points of view, dreaming up an internal voice for each...It is a testament to his swift and lucid characterizations that one does not want to leave this party...A novel like The House of Broken Angels is a radical act. It is a big, epic story about how hard it is to love with all of your heart, and all of your family--regardless of which side of the border they live on."-- John Freeman, Boston Globe
"The House of Broken Angels is a big, sprawling, messy, sexy, raucous house party of a book, a pan-generational family saga with an enormous, bounding heart, a poetic delivery, and plenty of swagger...More than once while reading the novel, I thought of James Joyce's 'The Dead, ' another kaleidoscopic fable of family life that skillfully mixes perspectives... The House of Broken Angels is a book about celebration that is, itself, a celebration."-- Michael Lindgren, Washington Post
"Urrea's gifts as a storyteller are prodigious...The book's spirit is irrepressibly high. Even in its saddest moments, The House of Broken Angels hums with joy...The novel overflows with the pleasure of family...And all that vulnerability, combined with humor and celebration and Urrea's vivid prose, will crack you open."-- Lily Meyer, NPR
" The House of Broken Angels is a big, messy, warmhearted epic, over-flowing with color and character...With bird's eye agility, Urrea moves between borders and generations...His narrative is imbued with the timeless texture of every immigrant's hope's and dreams... Generous to the last breath."-- Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
"A whirling fiesta of a book...Filled with intelligence and wickedly funny cultural commentary, the story builds to an electrifying finale."-- Marion Winik, People
"Humane and often laugh-out-loud hilarious."-- O, The Oprah Magazine
"A sprawling yet intimate tale...rich in detail and images...It's the sort of book you might read, as I did, in one long, breathless push."-- Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times
A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his landmark work of nonficiton The Devil's Highway, Luis Alberto Urrea is also the bestselling author of the novels The Hummingbird's Daughter, Into the Beautiful North, and Queen of America, as well as the story collection The Water Museum, a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist. He has won the Lannan Literary Award, an Edgar Award, and a 2017 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, among many other honors. Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and American mother, he lives outside of Chicago and teaches at the University of Illinois-Chicago.