Infinite Country

In August, Pittsburgh was one of 19 cities chosen to welcome Afghan immigrants. The decision was based on our city’s history of supporting refugees, as highlighted in this Library Welcome Center Staff Picks.

Recent national news focuses on migrants from Hispanic and Latinx countries at the southern border. Like their Afghan counterparts, their journeys to the US are fraught and complex. To get a more personal perspective on these factors, I highly recommend “Infinite Country” by Patricia Engel.

The book is fiction, though heavily influenced by Engel’s Colombian émigré parents. She has marked insight on people who leave everything for a chance at a better life for their children. And her writing is sublime to boot.

“Infinite Country” is a family saga via immigration politics. Add in romance, YA thriller and Andean legends. If all that sounds too much for 200 pages, I assure you it is not.

First-time parents Mauro and Elena flee their homeland’s violence for America. Fifteen-year-old Talia escapes a reformatory to reunite with her family. US-born Nando and Karina struggle growing up in a mixed-status household.

Books like this allow us to question what we would do in situations we only read about. They encourage us to offer kindness and compassion in a harsh world. Above all, “Infinite Country” is a powerful reminder of the human stories behind the headlines.

For more resources on language learning, citizenship resources and more, please visit our Library Welcome Centers. Everyone is welcome at the Library!

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