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Patricia Engel Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

It's Not Love, It's Just Paris (2013)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Veins of the Ocean (2016)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Infinite Country (2021)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

The Bridge (2010)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Collections

Vida (2010)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Best American Mystery Stories 2014(2014)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The O. Henry Prize Stories 2019(2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Patricia Engel is a literary fiction author that is best known as the author of the New York Times Notable Book of the Year “Vida.” The author was raised in New Jersey even though she was the daughter of Colombian parents that had migrated to the US. She has won several awards over the years including an Independent Publisher Book Award, Young Lions Fiction Award by the New York Public Library, International Latino Book Award, Florida Book Award and the Paterson Fiction Award among many others. Her works have been translated into several languages and have been featured in the likes of Harvard Review, The New York Times, Guernica, The Atlantic, Boston Review and A Public Space among other publications. “The Best American Mystery Stories” was her first collection of short stories. She has also won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and Key West Literary Seminar.

Engle has been writing ever since she first held a pen in her hands and could write letters. She came from a family of musicians and artists and hence had the creative streak in her from very early on. She has said that her grandmother was a writer that wrote stories even though she never published anything. Growing up, she did not know any professional authors and did not know how one went on to pursue a career in writing. During this time, her grandmother who had several grandchildren from her nine children usually prioritized her writing and spent much of her free time writing. Following her lead, she began writing to keep away the boredom and entertain herself. However, she never showed her work to anyone and not even her parents knew she was writing stories. When she got to college as a first generation college kid, she had to figure out what to do with her life. She had nobody to tell her that she could major in creative writing and she was never the type that drew the attention of professors and teachers.

Once Patricia Engel graduated college, she spent several years in New York working while she attended writing workshops at night and went to continuing education classes. She used to go to the Union Square Barnes and Noble, particularly the magazine section located on the second floor. It was here that she discovered writers and poets magazines and found out about MFA programs. She applied and was lucky enough to be called to attend one. She thought it was very cool that she could learn how to become an author. She started thinking of quitting her job and trying her hand at writing and then go back if it did not work out. She took the year program and during this time gave it her all, writing several stories that would be sporadically published. She then won several contests and got her first book deal with “Vida” in the year in which she graduated from the MFA program.

Patricia Engel’s “Vida” is a collection of short stories that won her the Hemingway/PEN Award and established her as one of the best young authors in the US. The first story is a wistful and vibrant narrative about an American girl in Paris that navigates the treacherous and intoxicating complexities of romance, friendship and independence. Her name is Litadel Cielo and she is the child of Colombian immigrants that came to America with only the clothes on their backs. They went on to create a Latin food empire which makes it possible for them to send her to Europe for studies before she comes back to work in the family business. She lives at “The House of Stars,” a gently crumbling mansion on the banks of the river that is owned by Countess Seraphine, a bedridden noble woman. Guarded and cautious, Lita reveals very little to the other tenants who she believes are impulsive naïve and boldly adults, yet they also fascinate and intimidate her. When she meets Cato, everything changes as the enigmatic and charming man who is the son of a right wing politician sweeps her off her feet. As the two retreat into the world of romance, the outside world closes in. Lita will ultimately have to make a choice between fulfilling the wishes of her immigrant family or staying with Cato in Europe.

“The Veins of the Ocean” by Patricia Engel tells the fascinating story of Reina Castillo. She is a beautiful woman that is the brother to a man that had been sentenced to death for tossing a baby off a bridge. Reina thinks she is guilty of making him commit the despicable act and has never forgiven herself. When her brother is executed, she is devastated and goes into mourning. Seeking to remain anonymous, she leaves town and heads to a small town in the Florida Keys and meets recently arrived Cuban Nesto Cadena. He is hoping that the children he left in Cuba will finally be able to join him in the United States. Through her capacity for faith and Cadena’s love for the sea she comes to understand its role in shaping her family history, its destructive and life giving force and slowly but surely starts to forgive herself for what she had done to her brother. The novel is a riveting and profound story of broken lives finding redemption and solace in each other and in the power and beauty of the natural world.

Patrica Engel’s “Infinite Country” is a novel set just before the new millennium where Colombia has been dealing with almost fifty years of violence. Mauro and Elena met as teenagers and their love proved just what they needed to enjoy life in the violence of Bogota. Once they get their first daughter and see that their economic circumstances were not that bright, they decide to move to the US. The two head to Houston and they send money each month to Elena’s mother, even as they contemplate returning to Bogota or overstaying their tourist visas. As they get more children, they are forced to keep moving to stay ahead of immigration even as the threat of discovery looms large for the undocumented immigrants. Things come to a head when Mauro is caught and deported leaving Elena alone to care for their children. She has to decide if she should follow her husband back to Colombia or stay in the US and make enough money to support her children.

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