2024 National Endowment for the Arts Big Read selection is
Infinite Country by Patricia Engel
The purpose of the Fox Cities Reads is to select an author and title that encourages people in our community to read, think, talk, listen and grow together. The FC Reads is organized by the Fox Cities Book Festival in partnership with Appleton Public Library, Kaukauna Public Library, Kimberly Public Library, Little Chute Public Library, Menasha Public Library and Neenah Public Library.
Infinite Country by Patricia Engel is the 18th selection for Fox Cities Reads.
Now, let the reading begin!
We encourage you to read the book with your community and join us for an event with the author.
Patricia Engel’s most recent book, a short story collection titled The Faraway World, was published in January 2023 and named a New York Times Editors’ Choice. She is also the author of Infinite Country, a New York Times Bestseller, a Washington Post Notable Book of the Year, Reese’s Book Club pick, Indie Next pick, Entertainment Weekly’s #1 Best Book of the Year, and more. Infinite Country won the New American Voices Award, a Florida Book Award, was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and was longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award and the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.
Her other books include The Veins of the Ocean, winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and 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, winner of the International Latino Book Award; and Vida, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Fiction Award and the Young Lions Fiction Award, winner of Colombia’s Premio Biblioteca de Narrativa Colombiana, 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 New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
Patricia has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and is the recipient of an O. Henry Award. Her books have been translated into many languages and selected as an NEA Big Read. Her short fiction has appeared in The Atlantic, A Public Space, Ploughshares, The Sun, Kenyon Review, Harvard Review, Oprah Daily, and anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and elsewhere. Her essays and criticism have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, 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 is an Associate Professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Miami.” Visit Patricia Engel online for more details.
Infinite Country by Patricia Engel
“At the dawn of the new millennium, Colombia is a country devastated by half a century of violence. Elena and Mauro are teenagers when they meet, their blooming love an antidote to the mounting uncertainty of life in Bogotá. Once their first daughter is born, and facing grim economic prospects, they set their sights on the United States. They travel to Houston and send earnings back to Elena’s mother, all the while weighing whether to risk overstaying their tourist visas or to return to Bogotá. As their family expands, and they move again and again, their decision to ignore their exit dates plunges the young family into the precariousness of undocumented status, the threat of discovery menacing a life already strained. When Mauro is deported, Elena, now tasked with caring for their three small children, makes a difficult choice that will ease her burdens but splinter the family even further.”
“Award-winning, internationally acclaimed author Patricia Engel, herself the daughter of Colombian immigrants and a dual citizen, gives voice to Mauro and Elena, as well as their children, Karina, Nando, and Talia—each one navigating a divided existence, weighing their allegiance to the past, the future, to one another, and to themselves. Rich with Bogotá urban life, steeped in Andean myth, and tense with the daily reality for 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.”
“The prose is serpentine and exciting. . . . [with] intimate and meticulously rendered descriptions of Andean landscapes and mythology, of Colombia’s long history of violence. . . Engel’s capacity to dive deep into history and folklore extends also into her narration. The novel captures the romance of the immigrants’ first days in America with visceral tenderness . . . This is a compulsively readable novel.”
—New York Times Book Review
“Patricia Engel is a wonder; her novels are marvels of exquisite control and profound and delicately evoked feeling. Infinite Country knocked me out with its elegant and lucid deconstruction of yearning, family, belonging, and sacrifice. This is a book that speaks into the present moment with an oracle’s devastating coolness and clarity.”
—Lauren Groff, author of Florida and Fates and Furies
Infinite Country is available for checkout at all Fox Cities libraries. An e-book and audiobook version is also available to check out in the digital library through Libby by OverDrive.
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Please direct questions about Fox Cities Reads to: firstname.lastname@example.org or to your local Fox Cities public library.