I often wonder if we are living the wrong life in the wrong country.
Talia is being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in the forested mountains of Colombia after committing an impulsive act of...Read More
Talia is being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in the forested mountains of Colombia after committing an impulsive act of violence that may or may not have been warranted. She urgently needs to get out and get back home to Bogotá, where her father and a plane ticket to the United States are waiting for her. If she misses her flight, she might also miss her chance to finally be reunited with her family in the north.
How this family came to occupy two different countries, two different worlds, comes into focus like twists of a kaleidoscope. We see Talia's parents, Mauro and Elena, fall in love in a market stall as teenagers against a backdrop of civil war and social unrest. We see them leave Bogotá with their firstborn, Karina, in pursuit of safety and opportunity in the United States on a temporary visa, and we see the births of two more children, Nando and Talia, on American soil. We witness the decisions and indecisions that lead to Mauro's deportation and the family's splintering--the costs they've all been living with ever since.
Award-winning, internationally acclaimed author Patricia Engel, herself a dual citizen and the daughter of Colombian immigrants, gives voice to all five family members as they navigate the particulars of their respective circumstances. And all the while, the metronome ticks: Will Talia make it to Bogotá in time? And if she does, can she bring herself to trade the solid facts of her father and life in Colombia for the distant vision of her mother and siblings in America?
Rich with Bogotá urban life, steeped in Andean myth, and tense with the daily reality of the undocumented in America, Infinite Country is the story of two countries and one mixed-status family--for whom every triumph is stitched with regret, and every dream pursued bears the weight of a dream deferred.
Patricia Engel is the author of The Veins of the Ocean, winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize; It's Not Love, It's Just Paris, winner of the International Latino Book Award; and Vida, a finalist for the Pen/Hemingway and Young Lions Fiction Awards, New York Times Notable Book, and winner of Colombia's national book award, the Premio Biblioteca de Narrativa Colombiana. She is a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her stories appear in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and elsewhere. Born to Colombian parents, Patricia teaches creative writing at the University of Miami.book.
"A memorable line--"It was her idea to tie up the nun."-- launches the narrative with the force of a cannon as it switches back and forth between the present and the past... Told by a chorus of voices and perspectives, this is as much an all-American story as it is a global one." - Booklist
"An outstanding novel of migration and the Colombian diaspora... Engel's sharp, unflinching narrative teems with insight and dazzles with a confident, slyly sophisticated structure. This is an impressive achievement." - Publishers Weekly
"An intriguing, compact tale, rife with both real-life implications and spiritual significance... Engel does a marvelous job of rendering these characters as individuals, each with a unique story." - BookPage
"Engel movingly captures the shadow lives of undocumented migrants... a profound, beautiful novel." - People Magazine
"[Engel is] a gifted storyteller whose writing shines even in the darkest corners." - The Washington Post
"The prose is serpentine and exciting... [with] intimate and meticulously rendered descriptions of Andean landscapes and mythology, of Colombia's long history of violence... a compulsively readable novel." - New York Times Book Review
"Patricia Engel is a wonder; her novels are marvels of exquisite control and profound and delicately evoked feeling. Infinite Country knocked me out with its elegant and lucid deconstruction of yearning, family, belonging, and sacrifice. This is a book that speaks into the present moment with an oracle's devastating coolness and clarity." - Lauren Groff, author of Florida and Fates and Furies
"A diamond-sharp novel... With stunning sentences, vivid language, and a pace that will leave you breathless, Infinite Country is steeped in myth and rich in both depth and beauty. There's a not a single word misplaced in this book. " - The Today Show
"Engel's sweeping novel gives voice to three generations of a Colombian family torn apart by man-made borders... Gorgeously woven through with Andean myths and the bitter realities of undocumented life, Infinite Country tells a breathtaking story of the unimaginable prices paid for a better life." - Esquire