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Infinite Country
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Infinite Country
A Novel
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A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK and INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER WINNER OF THE 2021 NEW AMERICAN VOICES AWARD, LONGLISTED FOR THE 2022 ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL, AND A NATIONAL ENDOWMENT OF THE ARTS "BIG...
A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK and INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER WINNER OF THE 2021 NEW AMERICAN VOICES AWARD, LONGLISTED FOR THE 2022 ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL, AND A NATIONAL ENDOWMENT OF THE ARTS "BIG...
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  • A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK and INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    WINNER OF THE 2021 NEW AMERICAN VOICES AWARD, LONGLISTED FOR THE 2022 ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL, AND A NATIONAL ENDOWMENT OF THE ARTS "BIG READS" SELECTION

    "A profound, beautiful novel." —People * "Poignant." —BuzzFeed * "A breathtaking story of the unimaginable prices paid for a better life." —Esquire

    This "heartbreaking portrait of a family dealing with the realities of migration and separation" (Time) is "a sweeping love story and tragic drama [and] an authentic vision of what the American Dream looks like in a nationalistic country" (Elle).
    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 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.

    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. Rich with Bogotá urban life, steeped in Andean myth, and tense with the daily reality of the undocumented in America, Infinite Country "is as much an all-American story as it is a global one" (Booklist, starred review).

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, and herself a dual citizen, Patricia is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of Miami.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 21, 2020
    Engel (The Veins of the Ocean) delivers an outstanding novel of migration and the Colombian diasporae. Talia breaks out of a reformatory for girls in Colombia with a single purpose: to reunite with her family in the U.S. Her parents, Elena and Mauro, fell in love as teenagers and had a child before fleeing from the violence, poverty, and uncertainty of Bogotá and moving to Houston, where “their ears took in English, English, all the time English, and if they heard Spanish, it was with no accent like their own.” After overstaying their visas, they have two more kids including Talia, the youngest, and move to various cities. But the family is separated when Mauro is deported for driving without a license. The narrative moves between past and present to chronicle Talia’s travails—first sent back to Colombia to live with her grandmother as a young girl, and later hitchhiking to Bogotá to meet Mauro—and the lives of Elena and Mauro, revealing the struggles of undocumented migrants and exploring “how people who do horrible things can be victims, and how victims can be people who do horrible things.” Engel’s sharp, unflinching narrative teems with insight and dazzles with a confident, slyly sophisticated structure. This is an impressive achievement. Agent: Ayesha Pande, Pande Literary.

  • AudioFile Magazine Ines del Castillo offers a strong narration of this audiobook, an engrossing story of a family separated by actual and emotional borders. Framed within the context of teenage Talia's flight from a reform school, the novel recounts the circumstances of the young heroine's birth and the struggles her parents faced fleeing Colombia for the U.S. Del Castillo's brisk pace suits the narrative, and her various character voices are strong and believable. She carries the listener from past to present seamlessly, even when the story includes historical details or folktales. Hers is the careful, sympathetic voice that one needs as these characters navigate an often-dangerous world. The author's narrative style can seem aloof at times, but del Castillo's patient voice bridges that distance effectively. L.B.F. � AudioFile 2021, Portland, Maine

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