Luis Alberto Urrea on the Power of Family

April 11, 2018  • Aspen Ideas to Go

The author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Devil’s Highway is out with a new work of fiction. Luis Alberto Urrea‘s The House of Broken Angels focuses on a Mexican-American family, but the complicated and loving relationships it highlights comprise every family, no matter the country of origin. The story unfolds over a few days as friends and family members travel to a San Diego neighborhood to celebrate a birthday and a funeral. The family’s patriarch Big Angel is dying of cancer but wants to celebrate his birthday, likely his last. At the same time, his elderly mother dies in the weeks leading up to the birthday party. While it seems like such a birthday-funeral combination would be depressing, Urrea creates a joyful story that’s both funny and touching.

In this episode, Urrea talks about how his own family, particularly his brother Juan, inspired the book. His on-stage presentation in Aspen, Colorado, will make you, the listener, laugh and cry. He spoke as part of Winter Words, an author lecture series held by Aspen Words. Aspen Words is the literary program of the Aspen Institute.

Read more about the topics mentioned in this episode.

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