The Faraway World

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  • New York Times Editors' Choice
  • Washington Post Notable Book of the Year
  • Boston Globe Best Book of the Year
  • Today Show Best Book of the Year
  • Lit Hub Best Book of the Year
  • Joyce Carol Oates Prize finalist
  • The Story Prize Longlist
  • Chautauqua Prize Longlist


"Wistful and understated . . .  Whether these dense stories are set in Cuba, Colombia, or the United States, all the characters have astonishingly complex relationships to places they've never seen or haven't been to in many years, since they emigrated to another place . . . The Faraway World is a collection about the Latin American diaspora, but it's also one that proves how Engel, like one of her characters, is capable of noticing that between any two people "a look reveals more than a fingerprint."
—The New York Times Book Review

"A many-layered exploration of the indignities faced by new Americans . . . Sparkling . . . what makes Engel's story collection so rich and compelling is that the Colombian American author places her tales in the context of universal themes: the compromises we make for love, the lies we tell ourselves and others, betrayal, paranoia, grief, joy, acceptance . . . Engel knows how to draw in readers fast — and keep them . . . In 'The Faraway World,' Engel entices you with irresistible opening lines over and over . . ."
—The Washington Post

"Stellar . . . luminous [and] assured . . . Engel places her own faith in the story behind each story; what summer's off the page is as vital as the pieces themselves. She gracefully weaves the quiet despair of individual lives with the fury of social upheaval. With its dreamy, ephemeral title, "The Faraway World" hints at what lies beyond our grasp; and yet it grounds our fates in our own hands."
—Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"Spanning Colombia, Miami, New York, and Havana, these stories trace displaced lives. Survival hangs in the balance for her characters, but endurance becomes a single of hope. Engel seizes upon the undeniable existence of mystery as she weighs confessions, hopes, laments, regrets, wishful thinking, endurance, and resurrection in this collection."
—Boston Globe

"One of our most essential writers . .  Engel's gift for dialogue and her lyrical powers of description make these stories crackle, but it's her bittersweet insight into the cost of leaving—and staying!—home that will lodge The Faraway World in your heart."

"Patricia Engel is the kind of writer other writer other writers love to envy. How could we not? There is a steady, consistent, and exquisite control in her prose. There is her rare ability to craft extraordinary situations out of this ordinary world . . .  There is also such unexpected beauty in her sentences . . . I must be honest here: I'm still working on getting over my envious ways. Engel's latest, The Faraway World, may have set me back some. But I suppose we can agree there's enchantment in surrendering to an expert working at this level. Especially, if it is in service of lotting some of her magic."
—Cleyvis Natera, author of Neruda on the Park for Electric Literature

"With so many of the stories in The Faraway World singled out for honors, it should be no surprise that the collection lives up to Engel's well-deserved reputation . . . Each story is compelling in its own way. Engel's writing has a propulsive effect, carrying readers forward, and her characters are fascinating. We may not want to spend time alone with all of them, but we cannot look away from their stories."
Southern Review of Books

"Patricia Engel is one of those writers who is able to pull you into a story in just a few sentences. It's magic. This short story collection is some of her finest work as she weaves unique but thematically connected stories about migration, belonging, family and so much more."
—Parnassus Musings

"With flowing, beautiful language, Engel shows us a gritty reality, but mixies in doses of dark humor and empathy."
—Book Riot

"Any fan of Engel's work will tell you to prepare yourself for unique and intimate layered storytelling. You'll find that and so much more in this new short story collection exploring themes of community, regret and migration."
—The Today Show

"These 10 compelling stories follow characters that feel as real as I do, grappling with human struggles that feel both uniquely new and nearly universal. If you're looking for a collection that will touch your heart and make you look at your fellow humans more generously, this one's a can't-miss."
—Good Housekeeping

"These ten stories make for a haunting read, as her characters are forced to make moral compromises and sacrifices in their search for a better life in cities throughout the world. But no matter how far these stories travel, Engel infuses intimacy and care in every single life she writes."
—Chicago Review of Books

"A powerful new story collection that captures the diasporic experience of the modern Americas in all its complexity, nuance, and humanity. Her characters move across borders and between identities, carrying with them all the joys and pains of past lives . . . Her stories also move between registers— at times sweeping and tinged with history, other times intensely personal. Always, her characters are real people, dealing with real struggles, rendered beautifully, with insight and understanding."
—Lit Hub

"When you're in a dark place, you just want someone next to you with a (proverbial) flashlight, holding your hand. Patricia Engel does that in this evocative collection featuring Colombians and Colombian expats teetering on the line between despair and resilience."
—Amazon Best Book of the Month

"Engel writes with empathy and care, deeply exploring the inner world of her characters . . . The result is a peek into rich, fully realized characters and their lives. Engel's character-focused short stories are thought-provoking and intense; readers of literary fiction will enjoy this masterfully written collection."
—Library Journal

"A pleasure to read… Engel's multinational update of dirty realism is full of ironic flair, imagination, and empathy."
—*Starred* Kirkus Reviews

"Engel's in fine form in all the short stories, as she examines the intersections of class, immigration, and families."
—Town & Country

"[An] engrossing collection... Engel's alluring story lines and empathy for her characters make this a winner."
—Publishers Weekly



From Patricia Engel, whose novel Infinite Country was a New York Times bestseller and a Reese's Book Club pick, comes an exquisite collection of ten haunting, award-winning short stories set across the Americas and linked by themes of migration, sacrifice, and moral compromise.

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.