The Writings of Luis Alberto Urrea
Some stories can be told again and again. Urrea re-tells the story of "Seven Samurai" & "The Magnificent Seven" in his latest, page-turner, Into the Beautiful North. In this version the hero is a 19 year old heroine, Neyeli. Against all odds, she travels north into the US to search for her father and to bring men back to her village. The story has humor, beautiful prose, and pathos, all of which Urrea does superbly. His former book, Hummingbird's Daughter, is a novel based on his great-aunt Teresita, who became a folk saint in Mexico, after being beaten & raped, then receiving supernatural gifts while in the ensuing coma.
Good literature can be life-changing. Indeed, Robert Boswell declares, "...it's what it must do." Urrea's books help me reach for that knowing that I can overcome odds, like Teresita & Neyeli, that we are all our own Samurai. This last week was one of those dragon-fighting weeks for me. I'm still not sure if I have overcome the odds, but with great literature, and great art, I have a much better chance. Read Urrea if you can.