cover image The Infinite

The Infinite

Nicholas Mainieri. Harper Perennial, $15.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-246556-6

“Sometimes the wrong turn is the only turn offered” is the anthem of the ill-fated characters who wade through post-Katrina New Orleans and cartel-ravaged Mexico in Mainieri’s engrossing debut novel about finding one’s place in the world. Luz Hidalgo is a teenage undocumented Latina brought to New Orleans during the post-Katrina construction boom that lured her unemployed single father. She loves 18-year-old Jonah McBee, an orphan who shares her sense of loss and inconstancy, and Luz soon becomes pregnant. Unable to provide for her, Luz’s father sends her back to her grandmother in Mexico, disregarding Jonah’s tepid plans to enlist in the army to care for his new family. When Jonah doesn’t hear from her, he drives to Mexico, unaware that she has encountered a violent run-in with the Mexican Gulf drug cartel that has plunged her into a web of bloodshed and altered her world forever. Jonah shows up at her door, but Luz is dramatically different, and the two must reconcile all that has changed between them and find a new path, now that the old one has vanished. Mainieri’s novel is a pertinent dissection of place, class, roots, and identity. Agent: Elizabeth Copps, Maria Carvainis Agency. (Nov.)