Infinite Country

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  • New York Times Bestseller
  • Washington Post Bestseller
  • IndieBound Bestseller
  • Reese's Book Club pick
  • Esquire Book Club pick
  • Indie Next Pick
  • NEA Big Read selection
  • Washington Post Notable Book of the Year
  • Entertainment Weekly #1 Best Book of the Year
  • New American Voices Award Winner
  • Florida Book Award Winner
  • Dayton Literary Peace Prize Finalist
  • Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction Longlist
  • Dublin Literary Award Longlist


"An exceptionally powerful and illuminating story about a Colombian family torn apart by war and migration."
Reese Witherspoon

"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

"Engel astutely depicts how exile is both a physical and a psychological state . . . The quiet gracefulness of Engel’s prose further elevates the power of this beautifully written tale. Infinite Country is both a damning indictment of immigration policies that split up families, and an intimate story of one family’s search for home."
—Financial Times

"A raw, richly detailed immigration tale rooted in the beautiful specificities of real life . . . Patricia Engel writes with deep empathy but also a novelist's keenly penetrating eye: her gaze misses nothing."
—Entertainment Weekly

“As moving as it is riveting, Patricia Engel’s Infinite Country is a one-of-a-kind telling of the timeless story of migration . . .  Engel’s pacing is breathless—she covers three generations in under 200 pages—but just as frequently gives way to heart- and time-stopping moments. Infinite Country is poised to be one of the most stirring page-turners of the year.”
A.V. Club

"An absorbing story of displacement, detention, and deportation that forcefully examines what unites a family beyond the divisions borders and policies forge . . . The novel’s accounts of the precarity undocumented immigrants face are some of the most heart-rending pages in the novel . . . Throughout the novel, Engel conscientiously pays tribute to the indigenous heritage that is often erased from American narratives, weaving in Andean myths, such as those belonging to the Muisca."
—Los Angeles Review of Books

"[Engel is] a gifted storyteller whose writing shines even in the darkest corners . . . In Infinite Country, she focuses on the psychological injury that results when families are “split as if by an ax” for political or economic reasons."
Washington Post

"This is a profound, beautiful novel."

“Engel’s sweeping novel gives voice to three generations of a Colombian family torn apart by man-made borders . . . Gorgeously woven through with Andean myths and the bitter realities of undocumented life, Infinite Country tells a breathtaking story of the unimaginable prices paid for a better life.”

“A diamond-sharp novel that seamlessly slips through time to tell a multi-generational story of a Colombian family torn apart by deportation. This has got stunning sentences, vivid language, and a pace that will leave you breathless. Infinite Country is steeped in myth, and rich in both beauty and depth.”
—Isaac Fitzgerald, The Today Show

“At once a sweeping love story and tragic drama, Infinite Country . . .  An authentic vision of what the American Dream looks like in a nationalistic country.”

"Impressive . . . The novel's momentum, which comes from intensely evoked feelings and sharp, stylish sentences, both reflects and amplifies its characters' determination, much as its fragmented, time- and perspective-hopping form reflects the family's fragmentation."

“Compulsively readable . . . Engel elevates the plot beyond mere thriller . . . underscoring the long-reaching effects of colonialism in Latin America. Infinite Country’s succinctness (200 pages) belies its thematic heft. Engel’s pointed yet evocative prose cuts through decades in one family’s life and centuries of Latin American and indigenous history. [Her] marriage of pulse-pounding action and poignant moments makes Infinite Country a novel like few others, while capturing the journeys of untold numbers.”
—A.V. Club

"[A] piercing story of family, sacrifice, and Latin American immigration . . . . It’s a riveting and necessary read — an eye-opening account of what being “undocumented” really looks like, and a paean to love and endurance."

"Gripping . . . Arresting . . . Engel unwinds her family’s story and depicts in distilled, propulsive prose how they ended up scattered across nations. The American dream exerts a magnetic pull in this novel."
—America Magazine

“Breathtaking . . . Engel’s gaze is intensely intimate but never voyeuristic, and her prose, while sparse and digestible, is full of poignant observations . . . She is sharp and unflinching in her criticisms of America . . . bursting with a lyrical love for life in Colombia, Infinite Country is, at its heart, a story about fractures born of dreams, regrets and small triumphs, and the ways that humans have always endured in spite of them . . . offers readers from all walks of life a searingly timely perspective on the challenges faced by those in pursuit of a dream.”
The Book Reporter

"[A] sweeping, intense novel."
—Marie Claire

“One of the feats of Infinite Country, its realism is not exempt of drama, but also not exempt of joy either . . . The reader, especially the Latino reader, finds in Infinite Country a mirror in which to see themselves reflected.”
—Al Día News

"Masterful . . . This deeply empathetic novel charts one family’s years-long struggle to reunite after immigration laws have wrenched them apart. Engel’s gorgeously woven novel challenges us to consider that the United States has always been a place of borders: the ones drawn onto the landscape, those written into statutes, and those we imagine between us and them."
—Harvard Review

“A poignant depiction of a family trying to survive in a system designed against them.”

“Engel's writing contains a breathless energy that propels it from the start to the conclusion of the novel, containing the entirety of her world in under 200 pages. Its succinctness is the mark of the poise of her writing, weaving seamlessly the story of the three generations of this multinational family . . . Engel is a masterful writer and this is a phenomenal, propulsive tale of family and immigration.”
—Off the Record UK

“A wonder of storytelling… [Infinite Country is] an elegant tapestry that reflects the brutal realities of being undocumented in America.”
—KMUW FM, Wichita NPR

"Infinite Country is a beautifully written and humane book, and an uncannily timely one."
—Tampa Bay Times

“An outstanding novel of migration and the Colombian diaspora . . . Engel’s sharp, unflinching narrative teems with insight and dazzles with a confident, slyly sophisticated structure. This is an impressive achievement.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Remarkable . . . Told by a chorus of voices and perspectives, this is as much an all-American story as it is a global one.”
Booklist, Starred Review

“Engel's vital story of a divided Colombian family is a book we need to read . . . The rare immigrant chronicle that is as long on hope as it is on heartbreak.”
Kirkus, Starred Review

"A knockout of a novel . . . "
O, the Oprah Magazine

“A literary masterpiece . . . Patricia Engel tells the urgent story of a mixed-immigration-status family as they navigate their lives together and apart.”

“An intriguing, compact tale, rife with both real-life implications and spiritual significance . . . Engel stands out as an especially gifted storyteller who elevates this saga through the use of Andean folk tales . . . Engel does a marvelous job of rendering these characters as individuals, each with a unique story.”

“There is much to be learned about the immigration debate from our armchairs, watching the news. But it pales in comparison to what we can glean from good fiction . . .  [and] that’s what Patricia Engel accomplishes in Infinite Country, the heart-pounding story of a Colombian family—fractured after fleeing violence in Bogotá—trying to find their way back to each other.”
Amazon, “Best Book of the Month” pick

“A beautiful . . . hopeful story of family, and their experiences of trying to get home. It’s just gorgeous.”

Colombian-American author Engel—who won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for her extraordinary 2016 novel, The Veins of the Ocean—has produced another gorgeous and devastating Pan-American story of exile, yearning, and loss. “
Dan Sheehan, “LitHub’s "Most Anticipated Books of 2021"

“This is Engel at her best . . . This is the kind of book that allows you to see and feel the whole issue, offering an intimate perspective of an experience that touches and impacts us all . . . Infinite Country has us feeling all the emotions!”
—Angie Cruz, author of Dominicana, for Undomesticated Mag’s “Most Anticipated for 2021”

“A heartbreaking portrait of a family dealing with the realities of migration and separation.”
TIME, “Best Books of March 2021”

“Poignant and realistic . . . Engel’s strength is in making readers gain a deeper understanding of the family histories behind recent headlines —as well as the country's past generations of immigrants.”
—NBC Latino

“This slim novel from an internationally acclaimed author and immigrant daughter of Colombians tells the story from all perspectives in a timely, elegant work of fiction.”
Good Morning America

“[In] vibrant language . . . Engel brilliantly captures the life of a family split in half and living in two separate worlds... Stretched between two countries, Infinite Country is a moving, authentic story about a family in a new land chasing a complicated dream.”—LatinxSpaces

“I’ve admired Engel’s writing a long time, and her new book deepened that admiration. An exquisitely told story of family, war, and migration, this is a novel our increasingly divided country wants and needs to read.”
—R.O. Kwon, Electric Literature's “Books by Women of Color in 2021”

"A gorgeous, moving novel."
New York Post


“A story of immigration and diaspora that’s both brutal and hopeful, blending Andean myth with the lives of an undocumented family spread across two continents and fighting for reconnection.”
The Millions "Most Anticipated First-Half 2021 Book Preview"

"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

"Clear, moving, and perfectly calibrated, Infinite Country follows the members of one mixed-immigration status family as they navigate dreams, distance, and the bonds of love and memory. Patricia Engel is a stunning writer with astonishing talents."
—Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers

“Patricia Engel has an elegant voice. But that finesse has a way of making the shocks and surprises in her fiction more stunning. Infinite Country is her most satisfying work. You won’t be sorry. Well, you will be sorry when it ends.”
—Luis Alberto Urrea, author of House of Broken Angels

“What a breathtaking novel this is about family, forgiveness, and love while contending with the terrifying unknowns of being an immigrant in a merciless era. There is mercy, however, in every scene of Infinite Country—the kind of profound, understated mercy that manifests in exceptional works of fiction. Patricia Engel is a tremendous writer and Infinite Country is her best novel yet.”
—Idra Novey, author of Those Who Knew

"Infinite Country crystallizes the questions we are asking today about migration, family, and our vision of the future. It is a powerful, poignant reminder of the sacrifices women must make for the sake of safety and hope. Engel has written a memorable and brutally honest response to the simplistic notion of what constitutes the American Dream."
—Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King

Infinite Country is both a timely and timeless novel. These pages bring to life the courage and complexity of the immigrant experience to the United States from the viewpoint of a Colombian family. In beautiful prose, Patricia Engel explores the hardship of life between two countries and two languages and the search for family and belonging.”
—Jennifer Clement, author of Prayers for the Stolen and Gun Love

"Infinite Country is a wonder, and Patricia Engel is a magician. Epic yet exquisitely private, a book to make you marvel."
—R. O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries

"A tender, beautifully written, and deeply transporting story springing with love and hope. The questions at the heart of Infinite Country are some of the most urgent of our time: who is allowed in? How will I be known? What is home? Clever, strong, and born searching, Talia hooked me the second she decided to tie up that nun.”
Dina Nayeri, author of The Ungrateful Refugee

"Everything Patricia Engel writes is lit up from the inside with beauty and power. Her prose is gorgeous and her characters are achingly alive."
—Carolina De Robertis, author of Cantoras

"Patricia Engel's new book is a true gem, a family story in which each voice is equally interesting and dynamic as well as a great examination on the brutish nature of the U.S. government and citizens toward people traveling stateside to start a new life. Your heart breaks and mends and breaks all over again for this family. In less than 200 pages, Engel works magic."
—James Harrod, Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, Asheville, NC (Indie Next Notation)


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.

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.