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A Collection of Short Stories

by Luis Alberto Urrea
Not currently available.

Foreword Magazine Editor’s Choice: Fiction Book of the Year, 2002
"Home isn't just a place, it is also a language."

Product Details

10-digit ISBN0-938317-63-6
13-digit ISBN9780938317630
Page Count160
Product Dimensions6" x 9"
Publication DateFebruary 1, 2002
RightsAll Rights Available
Born in Tijuana, the son of an Anglo woman and a Mexican father, Urrea says that "Home isn't just a place, it is also a language." In these six stories—each wandering beneath different kinds of sky, from the thick Mazatlan starry night to the wide open spaces of the Sioux Nation in South Dakota—Urrea maps the spiritual geography of what he calls "home." These stories are puro Urrea: sad, funny, tragic, Mexican, Sioux, gringo, passionate and fun.

"I always thought Luis Urrea was six skies rolled into one (I mean that in a good way), and this book proves that he speaks with a multitude of passionate, powerful and hilarious voices. This book is a beautiful kind of crazy."—Sherman Alexie
"With this new collection of stories, Luis Urrea makes the short list of essential American writers. His glittering landscapes, which warp and ennoble the human spirit, bring to mind the work of Salman Rushdie. I found myself going back and rereading whole passages; Urrea's got a way with words that raises the bar for the rest of us. What a marvel of a book!"—Demetria Martínez
"Urrea goes in for the big picture, and there seems to be no world he cannot capture. He writes with wit and ingenuity, and the stories possess a powerful sense of acceleration. With each story I was transported to an intense and fully imagined world."—Robert Boswell

Short stories included in Six Kinds of Sky
  • Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush
  • Taped to the Sky
  • First Light
  • A Day in the Life
  • Father Returns from the Mountain
  • Bid Farewell to Her Many Horses
  • An Afterword Amazing Grace: Story and Writer
Publishers Weekly
Urrea, best known for his hard-hitting nonfiction (Across the Wire; Nobody’s Son), proves once again to be an eloquent and elegiac spokesman for the down-and-out and the disaffected in this collection of six stories whose settings range from Mexico to the Sioux nation in South Dakota. His protagonists are usually Hispanics and Native Americans whose struggles are documented most touchingly in one of the two longer stories, “A Day in the Life,” which describes the plight of a poverty-stricken group of garbage pickers whose lives are torn apart by tragedy after they are forced to move from Mexico City to Tijuana.

Urrea turns his attention to the brokenhearted in “Taped to the Sky,” in which a man who takes to the road after his wife leaves him breaks down in the middle of Wyoming, where he learns the reason for his journey from the Native American man who helps him. He offers a different perspective on the Native American experience in “Bid Farewell to Her Many Horses,” which describes the sorrow of a man who marries a Sioux woman who succumbs to alcoholism, while “Father Returns From the Mountain” is a touching story of a man’s attempt to come to terms with his father’s death in an auto accident. Urrea is a poetic writer who draws strong characters and wears his literary compassion on his sleeves, and he uses all of his gifts to full advantage here.
Stories this good are a reason to get up in the morning.
full review >>
ForeWord Magazine
In this collection of short stories, the author takes the reader on a roadtrip vaster than Jack Kerouac and Hunter Thompsons’, encompassing not only different physical countries, but also broad internal nations of the psyche. Lands of language, not only Spanish and English, but the way these languages are spoken by specific groups are revealed...Richard Rodriguez, renowned essayist, says that we are writing the new stories of America: the new, mixed race, code-switching America. Urrea is writing these stories.
full review >>
Dallas Morning News
These well-crafted stories take us on a ramble under six different kinds of sky, from the endless starry night of Mazatlán to the wide-open spaces of the Sioux Nation in South Dakota.
full review >>
City Talk Chicago
Urrea resolved in his teens to become a famous writer, but years would pass before he would hold his first "real" published work. After completing his undergraduate degree in 1977, Urrea went to work from 1978 to 1982 as a translator for a group of missionaries serving Tijuana's dump dwellers. His experiences there could never be neatly sewn up, yet he felt compelled to write about them. One day, as he was scribbling in his journal, a man emerged from the dump heap with what seemed like a mandate from God. "Write it all down," the man said, "because I was born in trash, I have lived my life in the trash, and I will die and be buried in the trash. And no one will ever know that I ever existed. You tell them that I was here."
full review >>
The NewPages Book Reviews
Urrea’s style is an incredible weave of emotion in language, creating character and imagery so real, so thick with texture I just wanted to wrap myself up in each page.
full review >>
Publisher's Weekly for Booksellers
Lipmagazine writes: "To say that Luis Alberto Urrea's words dazzle is to commit a grave understatement. In Six Kinds of Sky, they shimmer, laugh and lilt their way across a great poetic expanse.... This is one of the finest collections of short fiction likely to emerge this year."
full review >>
San Diego Union Tribune
An award-winning poet, fiction writer and essayist, Urrea should be required reading for anyone living in the Southwest.
- April 14, 2002 
full review >>
San Francisco Chronicle
Short, direct sentences and pitch-perfect dialogue build into original studies of passion, restlessness or mischief, one detail at a time.
full review >>
Rain Taxi
Luis Urrea’s Six Kinds of Sky demands attention. It’s the kind of book that reaches right into your heart, right where the blood is, and makes it pump a little faster. The stories are full of emotional suspense—that’s certain—but the real dynamo in Six Kinds of Sky is its fidelity to life. “Poignancy” is a word that comes to mind, along with hilarity, sadness, and, perhaps, acceptance.

Written in deft, lyric prose, Six Kinds of Sky offers the reader the voyeuristic thrill of following characters into worlds most of us never experience. Part travelogue, part anthropological study (with some thinly transformed biography throw in), the work ranges from Lafayette, Louisiana to the Provencal mountains, from the betrayal of love in a Mexican village movie theater to horse ranching in the Sioux Nation. Urrea’s skill as an accomplished nonfiction writer (Across the Wire; Nobody’s Son) gives his fiction an unmistakably profession edge—high-precision details and sentences editors pay for word by word.
full review >>
The Review of Contemporary Fiction
full review >>
Southwest Book Views
Luis Alberto Urrea! What a writer. Read this collection of stories and you want to put your fingers to your lips and kiss them the way gourmets do after eating the perfect meal. The stories in this glorious collection are splendid.
full review >>
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