Into the Beautiful North, By Luis Alberto Urrea
It's amazing to find an author of remarkable talent who can use that talent in very different ways. Urrea's first novel, "The Hummingbird's Daughter," was lyrical and haunting, and incredibly beautiful. "Into the Beautiful North" is hilarious, a satire of Mexico, America, the Border Patrol, and teenaged girls. It is a powerful condemnation of the way Mexicans treat other Mexicans, while also poignantly drawing notice to the agricultural disaster that has spurred Mexico's economic hardships. Urrea also deftly points out the often overlooked fact that many illegal immigrants in the US don't want to be here - they miss their homes and families, their language and culture. And though it's frequently laugh-out-loud funny, "Into the Beautiful North" has many moments that delight the reader with Urrea's wonderful use of language. Urrea is truly a gifted author, and I hope there is much more fiction from him in the future.