The House of Bro­ken An­gels

The Week (US) - - 24 - By Luis Al­berto Ur­rea John Free­man Diana Postleth­waite

(Lit­tle, Brown, $27) “En­ter­ing a party af­ter it has be­gun is dis­ori­ent­ing,” said in The Bos­ton Globe. You won’t want to leave this one, though, be­cause Luis Al­berto Ur­rea’s fifth novel is built around an “im­mensely charm­ing” Mex­i­can-Amer­i­can pa­tri­arch whose chil­dren, si­b­lings, and other fam­ily mem­bers “fan out around him like rays of sun­shine.” Con­fined to a wheel­chair and late to his own mother’s fu­neral on the open­ing page, Big An­gel is clearly dy­ing, but death proves no ob­sta­cle to the flow of the larger fam­ily tale, it­self a river of com­pet­ing in­di­vid­ual sto­ries. The rush of in­ci­dent in the novel can be ex­haust­ing, said in the Min­neapo­lis Star Tri­bune. “Ur­rea, who paints in neons rather than pas­tels, does not write for the emo­tion­ally faint of heart in need of per­sonal space.” He wink­ingly ac­knowl­edges as much by hav­ing ev­ery mem­ber of the clan—Iraq War vet­eran Lalo, aloof scholar Lit­tle An­gel, and tat­tooed drag queen Yn­dio in­cluded—climb into one bed at the end. Some­how this fam­ily is “al­ways ready to move over and make room for one more.”

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