From Patricia Engel, the author of the excellent novel Infinite Country, comes her debut story collection, The Faraway World. Most of her characters are Colombians struggling to make their way in New York City; in a few stories, she explores the lives of Cubans in Havana who long to escape to America. Unlike many short stories that take place during a single day, hers read like miniature novels, often covering weeks, months, and years. At the same time, she writes vivid and fully inhabited scenes full of richly observed characters and narrative voices that will draw you in. Engel is an assured and empathic writer. The Faraway World is wonderful from cover to cover.
*A New York Times Editors’ Choice*
From Patricia Engel, whose novel Infinite Country was a New York Times bestseller and a Reese’s Book Club pick, comes a “rich and compelling” (The Washington Post) collection of ten exquisite, 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.
About the Author
Patricia Engel is the author of Infinite Country, a New York Times bestseller and Reese’s Book Club selection; The Veins of the Ocean, winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize; It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris, winner of the International Latino Book Award; and Vida, a finalist for the Pen/Hemingway and Young Lions Fiction Awards, New York Times Notable Book, and winner of Colombia’s national book award, the Premio Biblioteca de Narrativa Colombiana. She is a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her stories appear in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and elsewhere. Born to Colombian parents, and herself a dual citizen, Patricia is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of Miami.
“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 . . . . [she] entices you with irresistible opening lines over and over.” —Manuel Roig-Franzia, The Washington Post
“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 costs of leaving—and staying!—home that will lodge The Faraway World in your heart.” —Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire
"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." —TODAY
“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 collective featuring Colombians and Colombian expats teetering on the line between despair, and resilience.” —Erin Kodicek, Amazon Best Book of the Month
“Wistful and understated . . . . [its] 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.’” —Leigh Newman, New York Times Book Review
“Most of the ten stories have a pair of characters at their center, the intersection of their lives sizzling like crossed wires. . . Engel’s gift for dialogue makes it a pleasure to read. . . full of ironic flair, imagination, and empathy.” —Marion Winik, WYPR’s “The Weekly Reader”
“Stellar . . . luminous [and] assured . . . . Engel places her own faith in the story behind each story; what shimmers 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.” —Hamilton Cain, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"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
“[This] 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.” —Southern Review of Books
"Patricia Engel is the kind of 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 looting some of her magic." —Cleyvis Natera, author of Neruda on the Park
“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 . . . . With flowing, beautiful language, Engel shows us a gritty reality, but mixes in doses of dark humor and empathy.” —Book Riot
“A powerful new story collection that captures the diasporic experience of the modern Americas in all its complexity, nuance, and humanity . . . . 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.” —Dwyer Murphy, Lit Hub
“A haunting read . . . . No matter how far these stories travel, Engel infuses intimacy and care in every single life she writes.” —Chicago Review of Books
“Engel writes with empathy and care . . . . [Her] character-focused short stories are thought-provoking and intense; readers of literary fiction will enjoy this masterfully written collection.” —Library Journal
“Engel's in fine form in all the short stories, as she examines the intersections of class, immigration, and families.” —Town & Country
“A pleasure to read . . . . Engel's multinational update of dirty realism is full of ironic flair, imagination, and empathy.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
"[An] engrossing collection . . . . Engel’s alluring story lines and empathy for her characters make this a winner." —Publishers Weekly
“Patricia Engel's ten short stories are narrated by plucky, imperfect characters who weigh up wealth and piety as they contemplate their chances in their homeland or abroad.” —Shelf Awareness
“I’ve long maintained that I want to read anything Engel writes; I’m sure The Faraway World collection will further confirm this desire.” —R.O. Kwon, Electric Literature