Into the Beautiful North
How did I let this review slip by. Into the Beautiful North is an enchanting novel with wonderful characters and the strangest immigrant story I've ever read.
The men in nineteen-year-old Nayeli's village have, for the most part, gone north to the U.S. to earn money for their families. Bandits are in the process of gaining control of the village that now consists mostly of women, when Nayeli watches The Magnificent Seven. She rounds up her crew: Veronica and Yoloxochitl (her school girl friends), and Tacho, the young gay owner of the taco stand and heads north with the blessings of her Tia Irma. The plan is to recruit 7 Mexican "warriors" to return to their village and help defeat the banditos.
From the beginning there is a kind of inverse story going on and a reversal of how one thinks of immigrants from south of the border. Full of funny and sad and dangerous and silly escapades, Nayeli and her crew are taken advantage of by their own people, discover that the poorest of the poor are willing to share unstintingly, deal with the terrors of a border crossing, find a knight in the garbage settlement on the border, and more. The fairy tale quality and the humor mixed with the failures and the danger help you fall in love with all of the characters, and more importantly, provide a completely different perspective of the immigrant experience! Don Quixote-esque.
I couldn't have enjoyed it more and loved both the characters and the tongue-in-cheek attitude I could feel from the author. (Thanks to Gin Jenny for piquing my interest in this one.) OOPs -- had to make a correction of where I read about this one!
Purchased the Kindle Edition. Read in April.
Contemporary Fiction. 2009. Print version: 352 pages.