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Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012

From ‘The Hummingbird’s Daughter’ to ‘Queen of America’

A sequel that stands alone

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A sequel always comes with heightened anticipation for readers and Queen of America, a continuation of the 2005 bestselling novel The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea, is a follow-up that stands alone. The story picks up where the last novel left off, with faith healer and “Saint of Cabora” Teresita and her father fleeing Mexico, exiled to the United States.  Teresita, an actual person, was a late 19th-century healer and vocal supporter of the native people of Mexico who were against their oppressive president, Porfirio Diaz. Urrea is Teresita’s grandnephew and spent over two decades researching material for his stories. In Queen of America, father and daughter are slowly making a new start in the Arizona desert, but their plans are derailed when Teresita is once again claimed as the spiritual leader of the Mexican Revolution and forced to embark on a journey across the country.

Set in the 1890s, this turn-of-the-century look at America moves from Arizona and California to St. Louis and New York. Along the way, Teresita meets immigrants and tycoons, European royalty and Cuban poets, all of whom are exploring life in the new American century. Queen of America tells the unforgettable story of a young woman coming of age and finding her place in a new world. It is an uplifting and outrageously funny blend of fairy tale, Western adventure and historical drama.

Urrea is the author of 14 books, spanning fiction, nonfiction, poetry and short stories. A 2005 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction and member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, Urrea teaches writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Luis Alberto Urrea will read from his latest novel on Thursday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. at Boswell Book Co.