Urrea’s latest novel is the story of a large Mexican-American family celebrating within a 48 hour period the death of its matriarch and and the birthday of its dying patriarch. Miguel Angel de la Cruz, nicknamed Big Angel, knows his days are numbered and wants one last celebration with his whole family present-and it’s a large family. His loving wife, Perla, his intellectual half-brother, Little Angel, his still sexy at sixty sister-in-law, Gloriosa, and his devoted daughter, Minnie, are just of a few of the members of this multi-generational, somewhat assimilated family. Like the two celebrations, The House of Broken Angels is both fun and heart-breaking.
While there are many good scenes, this novel has too many characters. The Cruz family spans five generations and Urrea describes situations that involve at least twenty different characters. I had a difficult time remembering all of them and their relationship to one another.