Infinite Country by Patricia Engel is a short book (190 pages) that packs a big wallop.
cover blurb - Rich with Bogota urban life, steeped in Andean myth, and tense with the daily reality of the undocumented in the U.S., this book 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.
Mauro and Elena, grandmother Perla, and kids Karina (born in Bogota), Nando and Talia (US born) are rich characters navigating dual worlds.
Talia the youngest was sent back to Columbia as a baby and raised by Perla. Mauro gets caught in the US and deported. Elena manages to stay in the US, scrambling for jobs, a roof for her and the kids, and dreaming of a return to Columbia. Mauro only wants to return to the US. Talia is torn, but knows her best future lies in the states.
Engel's writing is beautiful and she captures the fears, yearnings, love of countries, concerns for life, and dreams for a better future with her tale.
I wondered about the matrix of separation and dislocation, our years bound to the phantom pain of a lost homeland...And maybe there is no nation or citizenry; they're just territories mapped in place of family, in place of love, the infinite country.
I highly recommend Infinite Country by Patricia Engel