In his final days, beloved and ailing patriarch Miguel Angel de La Cruz, affectionately called Big Angel, has summoned his entire Mexican-American clan for one last legendary birthday party. But as the party approaches, his mother, nearly one hundred, dies herself, leading to a farewell doubleheader in a single weekend.
...when I started reading Urrea's latest novel, my expectations were through the roof. And yet, somehow, he exceeded them ... The setup may sound like a tearjerker, but the book's spirit is irrepressibly high. Even in its saddest moments, The House of Broken Angels hums with joy ... The vulnerability on display in this novel is what makes it exceptional. It radiates from every character on the page, and from the author, who based Big Angel on his own brother Juan. And all that vulnerability, combined with humor and celebration and Urrea's vivid prose, will crack you open. At least while you're reading, this book will make you vulnerable, too.
Urrea’s affection for his characters is contagious, and the reader feels as though she’s been welcomed to the party ... In such a brimming, expansive novel, the most powerful image is the quietest: two adult brothers holding one another in bed, embarrassed and pleased.
...a big, messy, warmhearted epic, so overflowing with color and character its strands are sometimes hard to follow without keeping a homemade flowchart in the margins ... But Urrea’s Angels carries them all — good and ugly, broken and beautiful — without judgment, generous to the last breath.