In Infinite Country, Patricia Engel chronicles the journey of Mauro and Elena from Bogotá, Colombia, seeking a better life in the United States. As the family unit grows and has mixed legal status, the challenges intensify and eventually Mauro is deported. A story of love, survival, and hope, the parents and children each share their unique voice and perspective, although their dream is the same — to be together without worry. Recommended By Kim S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
"Remarkable...this is as much an all-American story as it is a global one." — Booklist (Starred Review)
For readers of Valeria Luiselli and Edwidge Danticat, an urgent and lyrical novel about a Colombian family fractured by deportation, offering an intimate perspective on an experience that so many have endured — and are enduring right now.
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.
"Lively folktales of the Muisca peoples punctuate Engel's remarkable novel....Told by a chorus of voices and perspectives, this is as much an all-American story as it is a global one." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Engel delivers an outstanding novel of migration and the Colombian diasporae....Engel's sharp, unflinching narrative teems with insight and dazzles with a confident, slyly sophisticated structure. This is an impressive achievement." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Powerful and poignant, Infinite Country crystallizes the questions we are asking today about migration, family, and our vision of the future. Patricia Engel has written a memorable and brutally honest response to the simplistic notion of what constitutes the American Dream." Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King
"Infinite Country is both a timely and timeless novel. In beautiful prose, Patricia Engel brings to life the courage and complexity of the immigrant experience, illuminating the hardship of life between two countries and two languages, and the search for family and belonging." Jennifer Clement, author of Gun Love
"Engel's vital story of a divided Colombian family is a book we need to read... The rare immigrant chronicle that is as long on hope as it is on heartbreak." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Infinite Country is a wonder, and Patricia Engel is a magician. Epic yet exquisitely private, a book to make you marvel." R.O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries
"Clear, moving, and perfectly calibrated, Infinite Country follows the members of one mixed-immigration status family as they navigate dreams, distance, and the bonds of love and memory. Patricia Engel is a stunning writer with astonishing talents." Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers
"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 tender, beautifully written, and deeply transporting story springing with love and hope. The questions at the heart of Infinite Country are some of the most urgent of our time: Who is allowed in? How will I be known? What is home? Clever, strong, and born searching, Talia hooked me the second she decided to tie up that nun." Dina Nayeri, author of The Ungrateful Refugee
"What a breathtaking novel this is, about family, forgiveness, and love while contending with the terrifying unknowns of being an immigrant in a merciless era. There is mercy, however, in every scene of Infinite Country — the kind of profound, understated mercy that manifests in exceptional works of fiction. Patricia Engel is a tremendous writer, and Infinite Country is her best novel yet." Idra Novey, author of Those Who Knew
"Everything Patricia Engel writes is lit up from the inside with beauty and power. Her prose is gorgeous and her characters are always achingly alive." Carolina de Robertis, author of Cantoras
"Patricia Engel has an elegant voice. But that finesse has a way of making the shocks and surprises in her fiction more stunning. Infinite Country is her most satisfying work. You won't be sorry. Well, you will be sorry when it ends." Luis Alberto Urrea, author of House of Broken Angels and The Devil's Highway
About the Author
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.
Powell's Staff on PowellsBooks.Blog
As a collective, our reading runs the gamut from YA romance to music theory to fiction in translation, so it's no surprise that the 21 books in our annual midyear roundup are eclectic and unexpected. Discover a fantasy reimagining of The Great Gatsby
, a ribald picaresque, an exploration of Ojibwe culture, and even some karma in our 2021 list...