After the bloody Tomochic rebellion, Teresita Urrea, beloved healer and "Saint of Cabora," flees with her father to Arizona. But their plans are derailed when she once again is claimed as the spiritual leader of the Mexican Revolution. Besieged by pilgrims and pursued by assassins, Teresita embarks on a journey through turn-of-the-century industrial America-New York, San Francisco, St. Louis. She meets immigrants and tycoons, European royalty and Cuban poets, all waking to the new American century. And as she decides what her own role in this modern future will be, she must ask herself: can a saint fall in love? At turns heartbreaking, uplifting, and riotously funny, QUEEN OF AMERICA reconfirms Luis Alberto Urrea's status as a writer of the first rank.
About Queen of America
This is the sequel to The Hummingbird’s Daughter. It’s a personal favorite because I feel I made some happy forward moves in my writing. It is, by nature of the milieu, different from its predecessor. Yet it still trods the pathways of the former book. You can imagine it this way: 19th century indigenous Mexico offers different magic than, say, early 20th century Manhattan. It goes from a planted, native tale, to the story of immigrants entering not only a new world, but a new century. With miracles. Or: how does a young woman go from Mexican sainthood to her day’s version of pop-stardom? How does one try to be the Madonna, while being Madonna?
Ain’t easy, friends. But it is compelling, and sometimes wildly amusing, frightening, even romantic. I had to surrender to the story more than the history books or the shamanic teachers. So this book is faster, I think. Everything I have ever learned about writing burst on the page before my eyes. I will have to leave it to readers and critics to decide if it is great, or even good. But I was writing with lightning in my hand on some pages, and it never felt so good.
Tucson, El Paso, Clifton, San Francisco, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and ultimately New York. Marriages, births, deaths. Travel and travails. After twenty-six years, the saga is complete.
And I love Little, Brown for the astonishing cover they created!
My daydream is to someday see a box set with both books in a nice case. Boy, would that be a fat box.
Book club members have been some of my most enthusiastic and careful readers. I’m thrilled to share my work with you, answer your questions and tell you some of the stories behind the stories. This is our spot, just for us. Here, we can chat: If I’m nearby, I’ll come and visit your club. Otherwise, we can Skype, talk over the phone or email. Sometimes, I’ll send surprises or hold contests.
A benefit for Bernie's Book Bank in Chicago. Please support this amazing group that puts books into children's hands. Details here.
This year, the conference celebrates William Stafford and I'm honored to be on a faculty that includes Naomi Shihab Nye, Kim Stafford, John Daniels and Gary Ferguson. Details here.
Sponsored by the Island Institute, deeply honored to be part of this prestigious symposium. Radical Imagining: Changing the Story with Stories of Change with Alan Weisman, Winona LaDuke, Molly Sturges and others. Details here.
Teaching workshop, speaking. Details here.
Lecture, classroom visits. Details to come.