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COUNTRY OF UNDER, winner of the 1729 Book Prize, revolves around the transformative friendship of Pilar Salomé Reinfeld, raised by her undocumented father, a descendent of Bolivian Mennonites, in a Mexican-American community; and Carlos/Carla/Río Gomez, a gender-fluid DREAMer raised by their grandmother in the same Texican bordertown.
”COUNTRY OF UNDER, winner of the 1729 Book Prize, revolves around the transformative friendship of Pilar Salomé Reinfeld, raised by her undocumented father, a descendent of Bolivian Mennonites, in a Mexican-American community; and Carlos/Carla/Río Gomez, a gender-fluid DREAMer raised by their grandmother in the same Texican bordertown.
“After years away, tragedy calls them back to the Rio Grande Valley—their lives changed but still bound. Still mourning, Pilar returns to New York City with Río. As Río finds love and Pilar struggles to find a way forward, they drift apart. When Pilar’s decision to engage in a dangerous artivist act finally threatens to tear them apart, they struggle to do what they have done in their best moments: see the beauty in each other, even when the world does not.
”This luminous novel of big heart and span is a wonder. I am changed for having read it. The story has become part of my soul.”
— Diane Zinna, author of The All-Night Sun
Fiction. Family & Relationships. Latinx Studies. LGBTQ+ Studies.
”At its core, COUNTRY OF UNDER is about time: The time it takes to understand oneself, others, the family you have--and the family you make. And, the time it takes to develop the patience to wait, as self-revelation unfolds.” — Barbara Fischkin, author of Muddy Cup: A Dominican Family Comes of Age in a New America
”Brooke Shaffner's COUNTRY OF UNDER is a novel about the pain and wonder of being between identities. Between male and female. Citizen and immigrant. Fulfilled and empty. Outsider and insider. A novel of our time, told with deep compassion and striking beauty.” — Helen Benedict, author of The Good Deed and Wolf Season
Brooke Shaffner's novel COUNTRY OF UNDER was the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction runner-up and was shortlisted for Dzanc Books' Prize for Fiction and Black Lawrence Press's Big Moose Prize. An excerpt won the Asheville Writers' Workshop Fiction Contest. Brooke's work has appeared in The Hudson Review, Marie Claire, BOMB, Litmosphere: Journal of Charlotte Lit, Lost and Found: Stories from New York, and The Lit Pub. She's received grants from United States Artists and the Saltonstall Foundation and residencies from MacDowell, Ucross, Saltonstall, Edward Albee, Jentel, I-Park, and VCCA. Brooke is at work on a memoir that explores living and loving in the face of radical uncertainty. An excerpt won the 2023 Lit/South Award, judged by Melissa Febos. Brooke founded Between the Lines and is co-creating Freedom Tunnel Press with her partner Niteesh Elias. Read more about COUNTRY OF UNDER at BrookeShaffner.com.