Luis Urrea

Born in Tijuana, Urrea is a Mexican-American novelist, poet, and essayist. He wrote feature stores for the Reader from 1990 through 1994.

Articles by Luis Urrea

Dalton's Luck: A San Diego Mystery

An unpublished novel about the Mexican border

The assassins spotted Dalton Lee in the Miami airport. Later after it was all over, he'd remember that moment when they locked eyes and he smiled like he smiled at everyone. Often he would doubt ...

A Living Cloud: the Vagaries of Literary Fame

Luis Urrea takes book tour media to Tijuana dump.

Visiting the Tijuana dump is no different from visiting a friend at work. It is, after all, a factory. And the trash-pickers are busy — too busy to worry about lazy gringos wandering about.

Death sometimes unites them

Underprivileged Tijuanan brothers learn about grief the hard way.

Nobody knew what happened to the boys’ parents. Not even the boys — Chacho, Elijio, Carlos, and Jorge — could explain what had happened to them. As is so often the case in Tijuana, one ...

TJ is the haunted city

They’d give tortillas to us plain — good enough! Or they’d roll a few drops of lemon juice in one, or a pinch of salt, or both. I ate a couple of these mini-tacos while I waited.

Homeboy on the Range

Logan Heights comes to me in Colorado and Wyoming

Mexicans out here lie low. I know a Chicana poet who teaches at the University of Colorado, and every semester or so, some genius in a truck calls her a “greaser” or an “Injun.”

Tijuana cops don't get no respect

Hard to avoid mordida on $50 a week

He flicked on the siren. It whooped satisfactorily, sounding like a television show. "Muevete, pendelo" muttered to the cars that blocked his way as he maneuvered the Rio de Tijuana thoroughfare. I glanced at the ...

Wanna Sniff, Hombre?

Glue-snigging urchins in old Tijuana

His name is Andres. He awakens with the sun. He lies in bed as long as he feels like it, picking the crust of glue off his upper lip. It’s white and vague as milk ...

Back To School

Mr. Van Winkle asked the Student Council Reps, to indicate to the classes that if they can convince him through sound logical arguments that they should ride skateboards to school that he will reconsider his position.

Do you make these embarrassing mistakes when you cuss in Mexican?

Dirty words don't translate all that well from English to Spanish

Like Australians calling each other bastard, Mexican men tend to refer to each other as cabron all the time. Listen to them at the bars in TJ: it’s cabron this and cabron that.

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