Carlito Castillo has a rough start in life, tossed from Rickenbacker Bridge into the waters of Biscayne Bay, by his enraged father when his mother’s infidelity is discovered. How do you ever get over such a trauma? It seems he has managed for a while, but Carlito’s eventual destination is a death row cell. Abandoned by most of his family, only his sister Reina, wracked by guilt, travels to the jail for a weekly visit. Carlito’s death both devastates and frees Reina. Now she must decide who she will be in the aftermath. Reina retreats to the Florida Keys where she meets Nesto, a man with his own demons. Nesto got out of Cuba, without his children. He yearns to be united with them in Florida, a yearning that may not have an easy answer. The two eventually take jobs in a dolphin aquarium, where Reina has an unusual connection to the animals. Reina must find, if not absolution, peace, with her guilt over the crime that put her brother on death row. Nesto also must find redemption as he dreams of bringing his children to a better life in the US. Engel’s writing has a beautiful lyric cadence, her sensuous descriptions drawing the reader into her story. The story takes place in exotic locations, Miami, the Florida Keys, Havana, and Cartagena. It is a pleasure to read!— Deon Stonehouse
Winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize
A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year, A New York Times Editors' Choice and a finalist for the International Latino Book Award
"Lush and entrancing, steeped in love and sorrow, faith and myth. . . Patricia Engel is a gorgeous writer and I love the confidence of her prose. She knows the story she is telling, inside and out. She knows the story and its unfathomable depths and so that's how we experience reading this novel--fully, deeply, like an ocean." --Roxane Gay for Book of the Month Club
From award-winning author, Patricia Engel, The Veins of the Ocean is the profound and riveting story of a young woman's journey away from her family's painful past towards redemption and a freer future. Set in the vibrant coastal communities of Miami, the Florida Keys, Havana, and Cartagena, The Veins of the Ocean is a wrenching exploration of what happens when life tests the limits of compassion, and a stunning and unforgettable portrait of fractured lives finding solace in the beauty and power of the natural world, and in one another. " A] profound, daring venture . . . Engel is] a unique and necessary voice for the Americas . . . the book is a great pleasure to read, even while it's breaking your heart." --San Francisco Chronicle
"Sumptuous . . . This is a writer who understands that exile can be as much an emotional state as a geographical one . . . to immerse oneself in Engel's prose is to surrender to a seductive embrace, a hypnotic beauty that mingles submersion with submission."--New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Patricia Engel is the author of Vida, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Fiction Award and Young Lions Fiction Award, and the acclaimed novel It's Not Love, It's Just Paris, winner of the International Latino Book Award. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, Boston Review, A Public Space, Harvard Review, and Guernica, among other publications and anthologies, and received numerous awards including a 2014 fellowship in literature from the National Endowment for the Arts.