Nicholas Mainieri’s debut novel is The Infinite, published by Harper Perennial. His short fiction has appeared in the Southern Review, the Southern Humanities Review, and Salamander, among other literary magazines. He holds a master of fine arts from the University of New Orleans and currently teaches writing and literature at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana. He lives in New Orleans with his wife and son.
10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
State Capitol, Senate Committee Room F
Coming of Age, Decades and Worlds Apart
11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Bookselling Tent
The Infinite: A Novel
In this suspenseful, tender, and completely absorbing debut set in a perilous post-Katrina New Orleans and cartel-plagued Mexico, two teenagers discover a temporary haven in each other.
“The Infinite is that rare, beautiful first novel, so contemporary and yet as timeless as first love itself. And Nick Mainieri does what great novelists do with their first great works. He creates unforgettable characters in young lovers Jonah and Luz who, both together and alone, navigate the rushing river of the borderlands that mark our two Americas. The Infinite is a heart song, and Nicholas Mainieri is one of our next great storytellers.”—Joseph Boyden, author of The Orenda and Three Day Road
Jonah McBee has deep roots in New Orleans, but with hardly any family left, he half-heartedly is planning to enlist in the army after high school. Luz Hidalgo, an undocumented Latina and budding track star, followed her father there after Hurricane Katrina. Both have known loss. Both are struggling to imagine a new future. And when Jonah and Luz fall in love, it is intense, addictive, and real.
But everything changes when Luz discovers that she’s pregnant. In a moment of panic, her father sends Luz back to Mexico so her grandmother can help raise the baby. Devastated, Jonah decides to take a road trip with his best friend when he doesn’t hear from her.
Little does Jonah know, Luz is fighting for her life. Her trip has been cut short by a shocking act of violence, thrusting her into the endless cycle of bloodshed perpetrated by the cartels. So Luz does what she does best: She runs. And she goes farther and deeper than she ever imagined.
A breathtaking portrait of post-Katrina New Orleans and a riveting descent into Mexico’s drug war, The Infinite is an utterly unique debut novel about the borders that divide us—and the truths that unite us.
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