A Colombian family contends with hope, distance, and despair in Patricia Engel’s new novel.
On this episode, Patricia Engel discusses, Infinite Country (Avid Reader Press, March 2). Recently named Reese’s Book Club pick for March 2021, Infinite Country chronicles two generations of a Colombian family—over 15 years and 2,500 miles—through triumphs, hardships, and new beginnings.
Kirkus: “Weaving Andean myth and natural symbolism into her narrative…[Engel] follows Talia, the youngest child, on a complex journey. Having committed a violent crime not long before she was scheduled to leave her father in Bogotá to join her mother and siblings in New Jersey, she winds up in a horrible Catholic juvie from which she must escape in order to make her plane. Hence the book’s wonderful first sentence: ‘It was her idea to tie up the nun.’ Talia’s cross-country journey is interwoven with the story of her parents’ early romance, their migration to the United States, her father’s deportation, her grandmother’s death, and the struggle to reunite” (starred review).
Engel and host Megan Labrise discuss what it means to be a Reese’s Book Club pick, the concept of criminality in fiction, why she chose to tell the story of a mixed-status family, the sociopolitical pressures in Colombia in the 1990s, Colombia’s natural majesty, and much more.
Then editors Vicky Smith, Laura Simeon, Eric Liebetrau, and Laurie Muchnick join with their reading recommendations for the week.
Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Gold Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer by Traci Sorell, illus. by Natasha Donovan (Millbrook/Lerner)
When We Were Infinite by Kelly Loy Gilbert (Simon & Schuster)
Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler (Catapult)
Also mentioned in this episode:
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly (Morrow/HarperCollins)
Fighting for Space: Two Pilots and Their Historic Battle for Female Spaceflight by Amy Shira Teitel (Grand Central Publishing)
Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert (Disney-Hyperion)
Thanks to our advertisers this week:
The New Enchantress by Sunayna Prasad
Martha Graham’s Cold War by Victoria Phillips
Carpenter’s Bluff by James Sanders
Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.