Infinite Country

S. & S. Audio. Mar. 2021. 4:58 hrs. ISBN 9781797119618. $29.99. F
Engel’s (The Veins of the Ocean) latest is a saga of nationality, belonging, family, and the meaning of home. One U.S.-born teenager is reared in Colombia by her father and grandmother, while her two siblings are Colombian nationals who live in the U.S., undocumented, with their mother Elena. Elena never wanted to leave her beloved country, but her husband’s wish for a new life leaves her unsupported and alone in a new land. As the family tries to reunite, they face the meaning of alienation and belonging (or not belonging) to more than one society. Obligation and discordant responsibilities require them to decide between their own wants and the needs of others. The story is told from the point of view of each family member, with a partially non-linear construction, and slowly unfolds to reveal the characters’ motivations. Retellings of Colombian folklore are interspersed between scenes, shedding light on the characters’ inner landscapes. Inés del Castillo does a soulful narration. The story’s topics are fascinating, but its action happens in the past and feels more like background setting. The plot moves slowly with little suspense, despite several scenes that should evoke feelings of fear or trepidation.
VERDICT This uneven offering will provide valuable insight into the dilemmas of moving between nations with and without documentation, but it falls short of arousing what should be powerful emotional responses.
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