In Patricia Engel’s new novel, Infinite Country (208 pages; Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster), the acclaimed author of Vida and The Veins of the Ocean explores a desolating aspect of the immigrant experience in the United States: the bifurcation of the heart, split between yearning for a better future and longing for the towns and cities left behind. As her protagonists contend with an immigration status that leaves them terribly vulnerable, and leads to a dreadful family separation—far from each other and from the places they still think of as home—the weight of loss is ever felt. It’s an emotion […]
Ramiro will tell you himself he was just another slum kid from El Cartucho. He lived in a one-room apartment with his mother and another family of seven who let them take up a corner. They’d come from Pereira with Ramiro’s father when Ramiro was just beginning to walk, but his father got stabbed beneath his ribs while shining shoes in front of the Palacio Nariño and Ramiro and his mom had to find their own way. He’ll tell you his story like he was some kind of miracle, not getting into basuco like every other kid in the sector.