One of the best character-oriented anthologies I have read in a long time. Focussed on South-American experiences in their native land and in the US. An emotional medley of sadness and hope.
beautifully written character-driven anthology that i wish was driven by a teensy bit more plot. first story was my favorite.
Aida- This was a strong and emotional start to the collection. A missing twin starts to unravel the family. There is no resolution, but the writing was impactful.
Fausto- I actually enjoyed this story because what began as young adults who get talked into drug running because there is not much to do in their town ends up a whole other way.
The Book of Saints - This story has two narrative voices. One is a woman who signs up to get married to a stranger just to move abroad, and the man has his own agenda. Both agendas are simple and uncomplicated in their own way. Although it is not a completely happy tale, it is different.
Campoamor - This was a standard story of a man-boy with time on his hands who is two-timing. It was not fun to read, mostly because of the way the characters came across-maybe which means the author did a good job.
Guapa - Woman keeps having work done on herself to attract a younger man until the very thing she is working towards lands her in a very sad situation. This story almost felt like the older ones with a moral to close things up.
La Ruta - A taxi driver dissatisfied with his life is attracted to a woman who is doing a tour of all the churches, praying for a chance to move to the US. Nothing actually happens by the time the story wraps up, but does a lot to show the situation in the country and people's lives.
Ramiro - Two young adults are under the care of the church to curtail their errant behaviour. One is more likeable than the other, but a positive spin on troubled lives (in some ways).
The Bones of Cristóbal Colón - A sister thinks about her life as she has to find a final resting place for her brother's bones. She has to take a long, lingering look at the life she leads and the chances she did not take.
Libélula- A woman is employed in a richer household. Although they are both from the same country, their current lives diverge a lot.
Aguacero- Two Columbians meet sporadically as they bond over the things they feel equally strongly about. It is only towards the end a fuller picture emerges of the truth in their conversations.
This entire collection is about taking a sharp look at different lifestyles and what people do with what they have. It is not a cheerful or positive book but is a well-written one. Although I had almost a similar reaction to the other book, I have read by the author. I would recommend it to fans of such books since they will better appreciate the author's writing skills.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.
I really appreciated the Faraway World and the stories contained therein. I love Engel's writing and how she can bring compassion to stories of struggles, immigration, family issues, and grief.
The Faraway World is a collection of 10 short stories. Each story follows a Latin American character, and each one is basically just a simple, contemporary fiction short story. My approach to this will be to write a mini review and summary of my favorite stories in the book.
The Book of Saints follows a woman from Columbia and the American man she marries. It follows the complexities of their marriage over time.
Campoamor follows an aspirating writer named Vladi and his relationships with his two girlfriends, Lily and Natasha.
This book is extremely simple. You’ll notice that all of my descriptions are vague, and this is a short review in general. That’s because nothing much happens in these stories and because it’s difficult to describe short stories with out spoiling them. In spite of the simplicity, I did love The Faraway World. The stories are all very character focused, and I thought that all of the characters were interesting and satisfying to follow. I think that most people will give this book three stars, and I understand why. Nothing particularly exciting happens in these stories. I do recommend The Faraway World, but I don’t think you should rush to go and read it.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Avid Reader Press (Simon & Schuster) through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
This is a book of short stories with settings in Cuba, Colombia … Hispanic settings. Stories include a missing child and family grief, drug trafficking and innocence, family not embracing a son’s wife and child, multiple girlfriends, striving to get to the US, immigration to US, tragedy, and much more. Each short story shares hardships and challenges. If you enjoy a book of short stories relating to Latino characters and settings, this is the book for you.
I had a hard time moving from story to story because I wanted more of each story!
I am sorry for the inconvenience but I don’t have the time to read this anymore and have lost interest in the concept. I believe that it would benefit your book more if I did not skim your book and write a rushed review. Again, I am sorry for the inconvenience.
The Faraway World is a book of short stories, each dealing with some version of the American dream. Patricia Engel has given us uncluttered and tautly written stories of poverty and desire; the harshness of lives where nothing comes easy. Whether they make their way to America or stay where they are, for the most part they remain unfulfilled. As my grandmother used to say, "Be careful what you wish for." Yes, I found the stories depressing but I was also struck by the characters resilience. They were not giving up. My ratings range from 3 to 5* with The Book of Saints and La Ruta (taxi) being my favorites.
I received a drc from the publisher via Netgalley.
Vivid and compelling, Consistently engaging. I’m not usually one for short stories, but I think this is one of the best collections I have read.
The Faraway World is a collection of ten rich, engaging, compelling short stories about the immigrant's experience. It explores the connections/separation in a disconnected world from one's emotions and identity with their homeland and culture. Universal themes of relationships, love, friendship, trust/betrayal, regret, belonging/acceptance, fear/hopes, grief, trauma, and class, are woven in.
I read and listened to the stories and enjoyed listening to the exceptional full-cast narration, including Patricia Engel. Hearing different voices for the stories enhances my enjoyment of them.
THE FARAWAY WORLD is a beautifully honest and empathetic depiction of life through the eyes of the people the reader encounters within these ten stories. Engel has the remarkable ability to give a voice to the full scope of the human condition.
What I loved the most about this collection of short stories is the common thread of candidness to the reality the characters experience. There is complexity, grit, and emotion wrapped up in short narratives. As the reader, there were moments I wished a story could go on longer or developed more. This is especially true with Aida, to find out what truly happened, and Libélula, to really experience more of the relationship between the women. However, on the flip side, I did enjoy the brevity of the glimpses into these characters' lives. After all, it is why one would read a short story collection.
Engel’s writing is not only eloquent but impactful as well. There is a truth within these pages that shows the reader an experience they may not know. The time spent with THE FARAWAY WORLD was well worth it. I cannot wait for what the author has for us next.
I enjoyed the first 3 stories more than the last ones. Her writing is impactful with emphasis on characters over plot. I would've liked to read even more of the first story. Themes of immigration, loss, friendships, love and more fill the stories
This collection of short stories touch on topics of migration, sacrifice and moral compromise. They were very thought provoking and made me really stop and ponder on what human beings can endure as well as struggle with. There were many instances when, as the story started, I viewed a character a certain way and a couple of pages later my view of them COMPLETELY changed (and I mean polar opposite and even bringing about anger/frustration towards the character) The way Engel writes her characters really brings them to life. A major theme is immigration and we see how far people will go to achieve dreams and attempt to live a better life. There are many strong messages in this book and I really enjoy reading books like this because they give me a reminder of the human spirit.
This collection was written by the author of one of my favorite books. So naturally, I was quite eager to read it. Unfortunately, it left me underwhelmed. The first few stories I read were wonderful, but I ended up not enjoying the rest. Engel is a talented writer who understands how to create likable characters, this book is no exception. However, I felt that most of the stories ended just as I was beginning to care about the characters. Reading this confirmed my suspicion that short stories are not for me. This has the potential to become somebody's favorite; sadly, it didn't work for me.
I loved Patricia Engel's last novel, Infinite Country, so I was very excited to get to read this collection of short stories. Short story collections can sometimes be hard for me, with some of the stories leaving me wanting more. That was definitely not the case here. While there were some stories I enjoyed more than others, each one drew me into its world.
The stories take place in the United States, Cuba, or Colombia. All the stories are linked by the characters' emotional connection to their homeland, either in the country where the story takes place or in as they look to it from afar. Some of the characters have questionable morals, while others are grappling with loss and isolation. Some of my favorite stories included: "Aida", in which a young girl processes the sudden disappearance of her twin sister; "Libélula", exploring the dynamics between a wealthy woman and her maid, both Colombian immigrants; and "The Book of Saints", in which a man and a woman have an unconventional marriage.
I definitely recommend this strong story collection!
The stories here were exactly my cup of tea. Mostly sad, uncertain, and in my mind I associate them with the vibes I get on a foggy environment. I loved how the author crafted her characters, and I have no words for the prose. Great writing.
THE FARAWAY WORLD by Patricia Engel is a short story collection that will enthrall readers much like Engel's earlier award-winning novel, Infinite Country, which itself is a must read. These stories tend to be rather quiet, almost intimate, and reflective. Engel changes voice, too, sometimes writing directly to another character, such as "Libélula" where an employee speaks silently to her employer, saying, "You wanted a ghost, a shadow to move about your home anticipating your every need. A double as loyal as an imaginary friend to accompany you..." I was also surprised by the ending of "Fausto" after he and his girlfriend, Paz, succumb to the temptation of what they believe will be easy money for running drugs. And, I especially liked "Aguacero" about two troubled Columbians who meet in New York and attempt to share life stories; it had previously been selected in 2019 for both The O. Henry Prize Stories and The Best American Short Stories. Containing ten tales in all, THE FARAWAY WORLD received a starred review from Kirkus.
Patricia Engel is one of my favorite authors; her prose is fantastic and I absolutely loved the heartbreaking Infinite Country. (It came out last year and you need to pick it up, stat!). I also love short story collections, but this one was not a favorite. These stories are about migration, family and morality — and while some of them hooked me, the majority did not. I picked it up over a period of weeks, which worked because the stories are standalone.
This was one of my most anticipated of the year and I had high expectations, which may have been part of my problem.
Loved Infinite country and didn’t even read what this was before requesting. Short stories rarely work for me and this wasn’t much different - however, I felt more of a ‘please tell me more’ with these than usual. The characters were so full.
This is a collection of short stories written by the author of Infinite Country.
The stories feature latinx characters and take place in Colombia, Cuba, New York, and Miami. The lives of the characters are mostly connected with immigration: those who dream of starting a better life in another country and those who have already immigrated and are attempting to build a new life.
This is a beautifully-written book. Patricia Engel has a magical way with words. I was caught up in the lives of these people, and that is sometimes hard to achieve in the short-story format.
The tone of the book is not happy. The characters are each struggling with something. The stories are odd and unsettling and often sad. I imagine that this is what the author was aiming for - a more realistic portrayal of what the lives of these people look like. (It is not all realistic. Engel sometimes uses strange occurrences to illustrate the point of a story. Yet nothing included is not credible, or at least possible.)
I was equally moved and disturbed by these powerful stories. Which is a pretty good recommendation, if you think about it! I think that everyone who reads this book will be glad they did and will carry some of the stories with them for a long time. ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2, available now.
My thanks to the author, Patricia Engel, to the publisher, Avid Reader Press / Simon and Schuster, and to NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book.
#TheFarawayWorld #netgalley #avidreaderpress #simonandschuster