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Stories by Luis Urrea

Best Reader stories from 1991

Satan chasers San Diego has many experts in the field of Satanism who say the county is a hotbed of Satanic activity. The hidden canyons of the back country, Ramona, Santee, Escondido, even Oceanside, are ...

December 28, 2019
Luis Urrea and the Reader

Born in Tijuana, Urrea wrote feature stores for the Reader from 1990 through 1994. Urrea's collection of short stories, The Water Museum, was a finalist for the 2016 PEN-Faulkner Award and was named a best ...

May 4, 2019
Dalton's Luck: A San Diego Mystery

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 ...

September 8, 1994
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.

July 22, 1993
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 ...

November 25, 1992
My grandfather hoped to establish a commune in Tijuana

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.

October 8, 1992
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.”

September 24, 1992
Tijuana cops don't get no respect

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 ...

November 21, 1991
Glue-sniffing 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 ...

October 3, 1991
Reader writers write about first day of 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.

September 12, 1991
Do you make these embarrassing mistakes when you cuss in Mexican?

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.

August 22, 1991
Luis Urrea tells of his father and Tijuana

January 10. My father, in a red American Motors 440, drives north through the Sonora desert, ticking off towns as the sun rises to his right. Santa Ana, Caborca, Tajito. He is on his way ...

July 3, 1991
Mexicans are often criticized for being cruel. It’s true.

I had popped my knee — it sounded like chicken bones breaking when it went, and a sheet of white pain blanked me out. I fell to my side and gasped. Several of the missionaries ...

May 9, 1991
Tijuana dump now two warring colonias: Panamericano and Trincherazo

Families appear whose fathers have gone across the wire, not to return. The mothers can be seen, later, hauling the gifts and the food and the candy up the steep cliffsides, their children yelling and laughing.

March 7, 1991
Last running of the bulls in Tecate

It was a noble experiment. For ten years, beginning in 1979, the city of Tecate, Baja California, sponsored Pamplonada, a running of the bulls, inspired by Hemingway's much-loved event in Pamplona, Spain. Pamplonadacan be roughly ...

January 24, 1991
Reader writer befriends family at the Tijuana dump and they are killed.

One of the most beautiful views of San Diego is from the summit of a small hill in Tijuana's municipal garbage dump. People live on that hill, picking through the trash with long poles that ...

November 15, 1990
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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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