The Faraway World: Stories

Avid Reader: S. & S. Jan. 2023. 224p. ISBN 9781982159528. $26. F
Engel follows up her New American Voices Award–winning novel Infinite Country with a strong collection of 10 short stories. The stories primarily focus on the Colombian diaspora in the United States and Cuba and are tied together by events of misfortune and trauma as well as pervasive feelings of isolation and melancholy. A twin on the cusp of adulthood is left behind after her sister goes missing and is forced to grapple with her uncertain future and her parents’ failing marriage as they desperately await their child’s return. A young woman begins unknowingly and then knowingly helping her boyfriend run drugs for money to begin their lives together. A grieving woman must find a new resting place for her brother after his grave is ransacked. Engel writes with empathy and care, deeply exploring the inner world of her characters, and despite using first-person perspective, she keeps the stories from being melodramatic by having them told in retrospect. The result is a peek into rich, fully realized characters and their lives.
VERDICT Engel’s character-focused short stories are thought-provoking and intense; readers of literary fiction will enjoy this masterfully written collection.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing