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In Search of Snow

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  121 ratings  ·  21 reviews
In the hot Arizona desert of the late 1950s, Mike McGurk comes of age in one big, riotous gush. Trapped pumping gas at a desolate roadstop, he yearns for things he has never known: love, hope, and the soft, white calmness of snow. Mike's world is filled with a menagerie of quirky characters, who cope with the weight of their unfulfilled dreams with bravado, humor, and viol ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by University of Arizona Press (first published 1994)
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Judy King
Two, maybe three of Luis Urrea's books climbed to my lifetime top ten list -- Hummingbird's daughter and Into the Beautiful North are locked in -- Queen of America floats into and out of the lofty list depending on my mood and which of the other books I'm considering at the moment.

So I was delighted to discover a copy of his first novel, and devoured it, searching for the beautiful description Urrea phrases and scenes that make my heart sigh without my head stopping to wisecrack about corny poe
In Search of Snow, Urrea's first novel, is mostly dialogue. Early on, that dialogue has some snappy moments, especially between the protagonist and his father, reminiscent of, say, Richard Russo. The father leaves us mid-book and the dialogue and the storyline both suffer. The protagonist's cousin Lily is wonderfully drawn and provides an interesting vignette which promises so much more; but sadly, she has a too brief role. Near the end, she reappears in a short letter:

"I am the saddest shore. Y
L. C.
Lots of humor makes this rather a roller coaster read, which is a good thing, as it does delve into some rather serious things at times. It's not my usual type of book, but I enjoyed it quite a lot.
I give this a 3.5. Maybe a four since it's been a while since I finished it and I still think about the book sometimes. That's the reflection of a good book isn't it?
I picked this book up because it's one of my husband's favorites. It's a boy book. The best description I can give it I'm stealing off of Amazon's summary:
"Urrea wrests strange, beautiful poetry out of a mean, lean desert terrain--Arizona, mid-1950s--in this impressive first novel, a blend of deadpan humor, picaresque adventure and
An enjoyable book. Quick read. About 90% conversational.
I love Urrea's later novels. I read this, his first book, last for some reason.
Ishbel Lane
I love Luis Urrea's later stuff. This book was ok... but left me feeling unresolved.
A brilliant first novel reminiscient of the characters in an Abbey novel. Turk Mcgurk is not someone you will soon forget, you may have met him out on the road somewhere between Tucson and Tucumcari or maybe Hatchabee or Tonopah (thanks to Lowell George for than line)...unlike the title, the main character didn't find snow but he does find acceptance and beauty in a world at first foreign to him. Like Ursula LeGuin says in her blurb on the dust jacket these characters "live just across the mesa ...more
I felt "eh" about it. I liked the ending and thought it went well with the storyline but it's hard to root for a main character who seems so weak. I kinda wanted to strangle Mike McGurk: get a grip! He talks about how he wants to leave Arizona so bad and then when he has his chance, he wusses out. Tormented by loving his cousin? Dependent on an abusive father? I just didn't get it. He seemed like the type of person who needs someone to make decisions for him and hold his hand while he does shit.
Aug 06, 2008 Angela rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ANYONE
I absolutely loved this book. I couldn't seem to put it down, I always had it with me. The story is touching and emotional. I laughed out loud numerous times while reading it. There were sad parts but the book over all was a page turner. The characters are all extremely interesting and even some what odd. The book mixes the different cultures that come into contact throughout the book. It shows that no matter the cultural circumstances people can enjoy one another. I think this a good read for a ...more
This story follows two former soldiers after WW11 and their lives in the desert of Arizona. Each has a totally different family and is dis-functional in their own ways. Often funny but is a sad commentary on their loss of dreams. Always getting into fights for no apparent reasons usually between Mexicans and Indians. There's also a point made about the harm done by working in the copper mines in southern Arizona. I enjoyed this book about the nonsensical lives lived in the harshest of backwaters ...more
Mike McGurk is raised by a violent mercurial father in the Arizona desert. His mother is long dead and he grows up lonely and dreams of snow. He befriends an ex prize fighter named Bobo and their adventures begin. Picaresque, Dickensian in tone and a fine lyrical style with excellent characterization. It reminds me so of Adelina and the Trujillo clan.
If the main character of this book was a female, this would be a tender coming of age story. Since Mike McGurk is a man and stuck at his father's service station in the middle of Arizona, tender is not the right adjective. Mike is not sure of himself and overwhelmed by the forceful personality of his father. The book is touching and funny.
Quirky and entertaining. Set in Nowhere Arizona in the 1950s, it’s about a guy who grows up in a desert gas station, motherless, under the hairy thumb of his father, a bare-knuckles boxer. It’s a small story well executed, with some wonderful characters, especially the Indians and Mexicans.
There were some truly sad and disturbing moments in this book, but they were beautifully written. Also, the dad character in this story, Turk McGurk, is now one of my Ultimate Favorite Characters Ever.
Feb 02, 2008 Pam rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes a good story
Recommended to Pam by: it called to me....
This was the first book by Mr. Urrea that I read. It blew me away that a first time novelist could pull me so totally into a story and it's characters. Try it - you'll like it!
I am really liking this book! It is funny and probing with difficult, harsh & likeable characters.
This was a great book. can't wait to read Hummingbird's Daughter.
Luis Alberto Urrea is a great story teller. Once I start to read it is so hard to put down. Spellbound!!
Good read, not his best, but then it's a novel and I tend to like things historical or historically based.
this book made me fall in love with luis urrea's work. his prose absolutely breaks my heart.
William Fuentes
I liked it. Good ending.
Apr 23, 2013 Chuck added it
Enjoyed it.
Lizzy marked it as to-read
Apr 01, 2015
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H. Lovato Diaz marked it as to-read
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Laura Rooney marked it as to-read
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Luis Alberto Urrea is the award-winning author of 13 books, including The Hummingbird's Daughter, The Devil's Highway and Into the Beautiful North (May 2009). Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and American mother, Luis has used the theme of borders, immigration and search for love and belonging throughout his work. A Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005 (nonfiction), he's won the Kiriyama Prize (2006 ...more
More about Luis Alberto Urrea...
The Hummingbird's Daughter The Devil's Highway: A True Story Into the Beautiful North Queen of America Across the Wire: Life and Hard Times on the Mexican Border

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