Infinite Country by Patricia Engel


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“This is a book about home. About how it feels to search for a home when home is both more than one place and no place at all, when home burns like the embers of an ever-tended flame within people who are forcibly – due to inconsistent and illogical laws – separated from the ones they love.

It is elegantly rendered, the brutalities and impossible choices of migrant families presented not for shock-value but as truth, as both as personal and as common as the sunrise. This is the story of Elena and Mauro and their three children, a family emotionally and geographically torn between Colombia and the United States, who navigate lives of circumstance where one form of safety always costs another.

Love and loyalty hold this family’s tenuous future together, hope for reunification pulling them from one day into the next, one lifetime blurring into another.”

<3 Miranda

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.

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Infinite Country by Patricia Engel
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