Sundial: Patricia Engel makes us feel through the lives of her flawed characters
The characters in Patricia Engel’s new book, The Faraway World, are scattered.
They work in factories in New Jersey, where they save for plastic surgery. They run drugs in Miami and try to hold on to their boyfriends.
They drive taxis in Cuba and dream of other lives with other women. They clean Catholic churches in Colombia.
Wherever they are, Engel puts them through the wringer. They lose a sister. They’re hit by cars. They cheat and are cheated on. Sometimes, they even struggle to write.
Many of them are contorting themselves to fit into what Engel has called the "United States of Diasporica."
Ultimately, these characters feel. They confront those feelings. We watch them change.
At their best, Engel's characters feel real enough to make us consider the actual people around us.
Engel's last novel, Infinite Country, was a New York Times Bestseller. This time, she’s giving us a collection of short stories. She’ll be presenting them at Books & Books in Coral Gables Friday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m.
On the Feb. 2 episode of Sundial, Engel joins us to talk about the stories she wrote over the course of a decade.
On Sundial's previous episode, we spoke with scholar and former University of Miami professor Andy Gomez about his new children’s book about the history of Cuba and the diaspora. He wrote it after his oldest grandson asked him, "Abuelo, why did you leave Cuba?"
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