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About Patricia Engel
Patricia Engel is the author of Infinite Country, a Reese’s Book Club pick, Esquire Book Club pick, Indie Next pick, Amazon Best Book of the Month, and more. Her other books include The Veins of the Ocean, which won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year; It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris, which won the International Latino Book Award, and of Vida, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Fiction Award and the Young Lions Fiction Award; winner of a Florida Book Award, International Latino Book Award and Independent Publisher Book Award, longlisted for the Story Prize and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and named a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. For Vida, Patricia was the first woman to be awarded Colombia’s national prize in literature, the 2017 Premio Biblioteca de Narrativa Colombiana. She has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Hedgebrook, and Key West Literary Seminar among others, and is the recipient of an O. Henry Award.
Patricia’s books have been translated into many languages. Her short fiction has appeared in The Atlantic, A Public Space, Ploughshares, The Sun, Kenyon Review, Harvard Review, and anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and elsewhere. Her criticism and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Virginia Quarterly Review, Catapult, and in numerous anthologies. Born to Colombian parents, Patricia is a graduate of New York University and earned her MFA at Florida International University. She currently teaches at the University of Miami.
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WINNER OF THE 2021 NEW AMERICAN VOICES AWARD, LONGLISTED FOR THE 2022 ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL, A 2022 DAYTON LITERARY PEACE PRIZE FINALIST, 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).
Reina Castillo’s beloved brother has been sentenced to death for an unthinkable crime that shocked the community—and Reina secretly blames herself. Devastated and grieving, Reina moves to a quiet enclave in the Florida Keys seeking anonymity and a new start, and meets Nesto Cadena, a recently exiled Cuban awaiting the arrival of the children he left behind in Havana.
Inspired by Nesto’s love of the sea and capacity for faith, Reina comes to understand her own connections to the life-giving and destructive forces of the ocean that surrounds her, as well as its role in her family’s troubled history. Against a vibrant coastal backdrop that ranges from Miami to Cartagena, Colombia, author Patricia Engel delivers a profound and riveting Pan-American story of fractured souls finding solace and redemption in the beauty and power of the natural world—and in one another.
“This is a writer who understands that exile can be as much an emotional state as a geographical one, that the agony of leaving tugs against the agony of being left behind. . . . To immerse oneself in Engel’s prose is to surrender to a seductive embrace, a hypnotic beauty that mingles submersion with submission.” —The New York Times Book Review
These linked stories follow Sabina as she navigates her shifting identity as a daughter of the Colombian diaspora, and struggles to find her place within and beyond the net of her strong, protective, but embattled family.
In “Lucho,” Sabina’s family—already “foreigners in a town of blancos”—is shunned by the community when a relative commits an unspeakable act of violence, but she is in turn befriended by the town bad boy, who has a secret of his own. In “Desaliento,” Sabina surrounds herself with other young drifters who spend their time looking for love and then fleeing from it—until reality catches up with one of them. And in “Vida,” the urgency of Sabina’s self-imposed exile in Miami fades when she meets an enigmatic Colombian woman with a tragic past.
“Vida calls to mind some of the best fiction from recent years. Like Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, Engel uses stories about connected characters to illuminate her main subject, in this case Sabina, who moves with her family from Bogotá, Colombia, to New Jersey. Engel brings Sabina’s family and culture to life with a narrative style reminiscent of Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao . . . Vivid, memorable . . . An exceptionally promising debut.” —The Plain Dealer
Lita del Cielo is the daughter of two Colombian immigrants who arrived in America with nothing and made a fortune with their Latin food empire. Now Lita has been granted one year to pursue her studies in Paris before returning to work in the family business. She moves into a crumbling Left Bank mansion known as “The House of Stars,” where the spirited but bedridden Countess Séraphine rents out rooms to young women visiting Paris to work, to study, and, unofficially, to find love.
Cautious and guarded, Lita keeps a cool distance from the other girls, who seem at once boldly adult and impulsively naïve, who both intimidate and fascinate her. Then Lita meets Cato, and the contours of her world shift. Charming, enigmatic, and weak with illness, Cato is the son of a notorious right-wing politician. As Cato and Lita retreat to their own world, they soon find it difficult to keep the outside world from closing in on theirs. Ultimately Lita must decide whether to stay in France with Cato or return home to fulfill her family’s dreams for her future.
From the author of Vida, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris is a love story, a portrait of a Paris caught between the old world and the new, and an exploration of one woman’s journey to lay claim to her own life.
“Wise and accomplished . . . Beautifully written.” —The New York Times Book Review
Two Colombian expats meet as strangers on the rainy streets of New York City, both burdened with traumatic pasts. In Cuba, a woman discovers her deceased brother’s bones have been stolen, and the love of her life returns from Ecuador for a one-night visit. A cash-strapped couple hustles in Miami, to life-altering ends.
The Faraway World is a collection of arresting stories from the New York Times bestselling author of Infinite Country, Patricia Engel, “a gifted storyteller whose writing shines even in the darkest corners” (The Washington Post). Intimate and panoramic, these stories bring to life the liminality of regret, the vibrancy of community, and the epic deeds and quiet moments of love.
Una joven estadounidense llega a la Casa de las Estrellas, una residencia de chicas en París, donde ha venido a estudiar. Una historia sobre la búsqueda de un hogar lejos del hogar, la búsqueda de uno mismo y la búsqueda de la pasión.
La joven Lita ha viajado a París con la excusa de aprender bien el idioma, aunque lo que de verdad desea es vivir una apasionada historia de amor. Pero, mientras pasea por las hermosas calles de la capital francesa, ni siquiera sospecha que este sentimiento puede ser tan intenso, tan poderoso, como el que la invadirá cuando conozca a Cato, un joven aparentemente inalcanzable, desarraigado y con una infancia triste a su espalda.
Sin embargo, Lita y Cato son como el día y la noche, dos opuestos que parecen tenerlo todo en contra. Todo menos los encantos de una ciudad mágica, capaz incluso de hacer realidad los amores más imposibles.
«Inteligente y brillante. Bellamente escrita y ejecutada. Engel habla del intenso lenguaje del amor y el deseo.»
The New York Times Book Review
«Esta es una novela para perderse en ella.»
The Miami Herald
«Con un talento glorioso y una inteligencia alarmante, Patricia Engel escribe con la intensidad de los grandes narradores de fábulas.»
«Sorprendente y profundamente conmovedora.»
San Francisco Chronicle
Da una delle voci emergenti più interessanti dell’America contemporanea, la storia di una famiglia disposta a pagare un prezzo inimmaginabile per una vita migliore.
Dopo aver impulsivamente commesso un atto violento, Talia viene mandata in un riformatorio per adolescenti sulle montagne del dipartimento di Santander. Deve riuscire a tutti i costi a scappare da lì, per tornare a casa, a Bogotá, dove l’aspettano suo padre e un biglietto aereo per gli Stati Uniti. Se perde il volo, potrebbe anche perdere l’occasione di riunirsi finalmente con i suoi familiari. Come è arrivata la famiglia di Talia a dividersi in due? Vent’anni prima, gli adolescenti Mauro ed Elena si sono innamorati davanti a una bancarella del mercato in una Bogotá sull’orlo della guerra civile. Nella speranza di costruire una vita migliore, insieme alla loro primogenita Karina hanno lasciato il paese alla volta degli Stati Uniti, dove sono nati anche gli altri due figli, Nando e Talia, e dove hanno vissuto anni nell’ombra dell’irregolarità, da eterni esuli, rimpiangendo casa: «una nazione di amnesici, dove i narcotrafficanti diventano senatori e i senatori narcotrafficanti, gli assassini diventano presidenti e i presidenti assassini», ma pur sempre casa. Quando però Mauro, in seguito a una rissa, è stato deportato, tutto è andato in pezzi…
Vincitore del New American Voices Award 2021, finalista per l’Andrew Carnegie Medal 2022 e al primo posto nella classifica dei dieci libri dell’anno di «Entertainment Weekly», Paese infinito è un grido disperato che, oggi più che mai, risuonerà a lungo nella mente dei lettori.
«Patricia Engel è un portento. I suoi romanzi sono perle: grazie a un controllo squisito, evocano sentimenti profondi in maniera delicata. Paese infinito mi ha stesa, con la sua elegante e lucida decostruzione della nostalgia, della famiglia, dell’appartenenza e del sacrificio. Un libro che parla al presente con la devastante chiarezza di un oracolo».
«Una storia incredibilmente potente e illuminante su una famiglia colombiana fatta a pezzi dalla guerra e dalla migrazione».
«È difficile immaginare un lettore che non proverebbe piacere di fronte all’umorismo e all’intelligenza di Patricia Engel».