Infinite Country

Patricia Engel. Avid Reader, $26 (192p) ISBN 978-1-982159-46-7
Engel (The Veins of the Ocean) delivers an outstanding novel of migration and the Colombian diaspora. 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. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 12/07/2020
Release date: 03/02/2021
Genre: Fiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-1959-5
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