Luis Alberto Urrea's new novel helped him understand his mother through her war story
The author Luis Alberto Urrea has written with authority about his Mexican roots.
His best-known work, The Devil’s Highway, brought readers into that world. It’s filled with characters and scenes that reflect northern Mexico and the American Southwest. So much that he’s often referred to as a “border writer.”
Write what you know, the saying goes. And his books — fiction and non-fiction — reflect his strong connection to his father’s side of the family.
He’s telling a different kind of story in his new novel, Good Night, Irene. It’s the story of an American woman who runs away from a tumultuous family in New York. She enlists in the Red Cross during World War II and finds herself on the frontlines in Europe, driving an armored truck.
It’s inspired by a real story. His late mother, the red-headed Irish-American, served on the frontlines as a "Donut Dollie." She’s frying hot, fresh donuts for soldiers in the theater of war. Bringing them a sense of home.
Luis will be at the Miami Book Fair on Sunday presenting his book on a panel about powerful historical fiction.
On the Nov. 16 episode of Sundial, we talk about the real-life mom that inspired Luis Alberto Urrea.
On Sundial’s previous episode, we spoke with Tananarive Due. She is a novelist who writes in the genre of Black horror. She’ll be presenting two books at the Miami Book Fair this weekend, including her latest The Reformatory.
We’re celebrating books by talking to authors all week. We’ll finish with a taping of Sundial before a live audience when we speak with Carl Hiaasen.
Listen to Sundial Monday through Thursday on WLRN, 91.3 FM, live at 1 p.m., rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Missed a show? Find every episode of Sundial on your favorite podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify.