This book is beautiful. It is about family, about how you impart wisdom to the next generation, what it means to embrace America while holding on to your culture and tradition, all with lively humor and love. It is about three generations of a Mexican American family living in Southern California looking at their past, facing death, and still trying to make sense of this crazy mixed up world that is both magnificent and crushing.
Many memorable novels have characters who leave a lasting impression. The protagonist Big Angel has an immense presence, yet he is willing to admit his frailties. Perhaps it is because he is looking death in the face. No matter, he is a man with a broad range that once you hear his voice and learn his secrets, you will never forget him. All the while, getting to know his family will be the most fun you have ever had without the drama of your own.
Big Angel had me when he was looking for signs of his dearly departed mother or his son.
“When he was a boy, Mother had taught him that a rainbow was a bridge where angels walked down from heaven. In Spanish, it was an arco iris. This was so much more lovely than English, like the name of a butterfly or hummingbird or daisy. He felt smug about this: go, Spanish! Sunflower: girasol, he thought.”
I am deeply in love with the Spanish language, which I don’t speak. If you love the language, and for many other reasons, you are in for a real treat with THE HOUSE OF BROKEN ANGELS.