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Prayers for the Stolen [Kindle Edition]

Jennifer Clement
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

‘Now we make you ugly,’ my mother said. ‘The best thing you can be in Mexico is an ugly girl.’

On the mountainside in rural Mexico where Ladydi lives, being a girl is dangerous. Especially a pretty one. If the Narcos hear there is a pretty girl on the mountain, they steal her. So when the black SUVs roll into town, Ladydi and her friends hide in the warren of holes scattered across the mountain, safely out of sight. Because the stolen girls don’t come back.

Ladydi is determined to get out, to find a life that offers more than just the struggle to survive. But she soon finds that the drug cartels have eyes everywhere, and the cities are no safer than the mountains.

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Product Description


"Prayers For The Stolen is stark and brutal, but not without happiness. “Mexico is a warren of hidden women”, says Jennifer Clement. This book is a way of seeing them" (Stylist)

"Every sentence in Prayers for the Stolen is direct, potent, unexpected; twisting on the page like a knife in the gut… This work also gives us all of a novel's pleasures – a story laden with significance and drama and meaning, a keen feeling of relationship between reader and characters, a fully realised world through which we may roam" (Kirsty Gunn Guardian)

"[Clement] shows the black comedy in the details and the emergency in the broader picture" (Gaby Wood Telegraph)

"Bleak, but beautifully written… Clement's prose is luminous and startlingly original. The sentences are spare and stripped back, but brilliantly manage to contain complex characters and intense emotional histories in a few vividly poetic words. Her portrayal of modern Mexico is heartbreaking; a dangerous and damaging environment for women, but her portrait of Ladydi and her refusal to be one of the lost girls is defiantly bold and bravely uncompromising" (Eithne Farry Sunday Express)

"Ladydi’s irreverent voice sings off the page and there are laughs to be had as she relates her mother’s drunken wisdom and seeks to find a way to live" (Cathy Retzenbrink Metro)

Book Description

It was Paula’s mother who had the brilliant idea of digging the holes. My mother said that the State of Guerrero was turning into a rabbit warren with young girls hiding all over the place…

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1900 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (6 Feb. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #29,938 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Jennifer Clement's new novel Prayers for the Stolen was awarded the NEA Fellowship in Literature 2012 and will be published by Hogarth (USA and UK) in February 2014. The book has also been purchased by Suhrkamp, (Germany), Editions Flammarion, Gallimard (France), De Bezige Bij (Holland), Cappelen Damm (Norway), Hr Ferdinand (Denmark), Bonniers Förlag (Sweden), Laguna (Serbia), Euromedia (Czech Republic), Ikar (Slovakia) Lumen (Spain/Mexico), Guanda (Italy), Like (Finland), Libri (Hungary), Bjartur (Iceland),Rocco (Brazil),Israeli Penn Publishing (Israel), Muza (Poland) and Sindbad (Russia).

Jennifer Clement studied English Literature and Anthropology at New York University and also studied French literature in Paris, France. She has an MFA from the University of Southern Maine.

Clement is the author of the cult classic memoir Widow Basquiat (on the painter Jean Michel Basquiat) and two novels: A True Story Based on Lies, which was a finalist in the Orange Prize for Fiction, and The Poison That Fascinates.
She is also the author of several books of poetry: The Next Stranger (with an introduction by W.S. Merwin); Newton's Sailor; Lady of the Broom and Jennifer Clement: New and Selected Poems.

Jennifer Clement was awarded the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Fellowship for Literature 2012. She is also the recipient of the UK's Canongate Prize. In 2007, she received a MacDowell Fellowship and the MacDowell Colony named her the Robert and Stephanie Olmsted Fellow for 2007-08. Clement is a member of Mexico's prestigious "Sistema Nacional de Creadores." She was President of PEN Mexico from 2009 to 2012. Along with her sister, Barbara Sibley, she founded and directs The San Miguel Poetry Week.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best novel about Mexico that I have ever read 26 Mar. 2014
Protagonist, a girl named Ladydi Garcia Martínez, lives with her mother in a remote Mexican village of Guerrero in the jungle. Being a young girl in Mexico is not easy: learning about the existence of a beautiful girl, drug traffickers immediately want to kidnap her. That's why the girls' mothers make their daughters ugly, making them boy’s haircuts, putting them into second-hand clothes, banning cosmetics, and not letting anyone anywhere. In case, if the village hears the sounds of approaching traffickers’ jeeps, mothers immediately hide their daughters in a specially dug for such cases hole in the yard. These holes are in every yard.

Women in general have a harder time, especially in the absence of men. There are hardly any men in the village. A lot of men work in big cities, and those who are more gifted and more trickier leave for the United States to work there as gardeners or handymen. So it happened with Ladydi’s father, who initially worked as a bartender at a hotel in Acapulco, then moved to work in the United States, from there at first sent money to the family, and then suddenly stopped. Ladydi always loved her father, but the last time she saw him, the image of the perfect dad had been destroyed by her mother.

Ladydi’s mother, already drunk, told her daughter that her father slept with half the female population of the village. Moreover, Maria, one of Ladydi’s girldriends, is an illegitimate daughter of Ladydi’s father.

It’s hard to believe, but this seemingly full of violence story is rather funny thing. This effect is achieved due to the voice of the narrator Ladydi. Girl’s humor is a way to protect herself against the cruel world which she lives in.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Vivid and hard hitting 22 Dec. 2014
By BookWorm TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
'Prayers for the Stolen' transports the reader to a village in Guerrero state, Mexico, where the men have all emigrated and the women eke out a living in a lawless land terrorised by drug barons. The narrator is Ladydi (literally 'Lady Di'), a young girl whose mother pretends she is a boy in the hope that she will not be 'stolen' - kidnapped and sold as a sex slave. Her three best friends are all in the same boat. Their mothers even dig holes that the girls can hide in if the men in SUVs come calling.

The writing conjures up the heat and vibrancy of the Mexican jungle very vividly. I could almost feel the humid air and see the red ants swarming. It is a very good, if not very flattering, depiction of a hot, tropical place. The characters are very real and believable, and almost exclusively female, which makes an interesting dynamic. The women here aren't stereotypically 'strong' - they are just women, getting on with things as best they can - but it would probably be a good book to study from a feminist/gender studies perspective.

Not only is the place well evoked, but the way of life there and the fatalism of the people. No one would dream of calling the police when they find a corpse outside their house or when their child is kidnapped. And the reader understands this just as the characters do - they are powerless, unprotected by the state and at the mercy of both lawmakers and lawbreakers. When they aren't hiding from gun-toting gangsters, they are fleeing government helicopters dropping toxic herbicide indiscriminately over them. I don't know enough about the country to know if this is an accurate depiction or not, but it is believable and ties in with the occasional news stories about this region.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An `epoch making' book 3 Jun. 2014
PRAYERS FOR THE STOLEN is set in contemporary Mexico, in Acapulco's rural hinterland, a mansion in Acapulco, and a womans prison in Mexico City. The novel tells the story of Ladydi, a girl from a mountain village who is about 7 years old and ages by ten years during the story; her three childhood friends, their mothers and a few woman Ladydi meet in prison.

Part 1, has the hallmarks of childhood memoir. The village has no men, all having run off to the States, been killed or taken up the drug trade. The girls and women live in constant fear (or more properly they live in anticipation of the inevitable day) that the girls will be taken by gangsters as sex slaves and the elaborate precautions against this form the central binding factors in their lives, including disguising them as boys, preparing priestholes and never leaving them alone. It's fast paced, economical, brilliant, heartbreaking writing.

Some books are almost impossible to summarize or explain. The volume of the body of work which
surrounds a work like HARD TIMES, probably exceeds the work itself by more than 1000-1. There is not a spare word in PRAYERS FOR THE UNUSUAL: every sentence forces on the progression of plot and theme.

PRAYERS FOR THE UNUSUAL does for 2666 what THE GREAT GATSBY did for ANNA KARENINA.Comparisons with 2666 are going to swarm around PRAYERS FOR THE UNUSUAL which is probably unfair on 2666.

PRAYERS FOR THE UNUSUAL has the intensity of poetry. Nothing is wasted. There are no accidents in the writing. But is the clarity of plot and character that a great novel really needs. Here it all is.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A must read.
Published 17 days ago by AFRICA FUENTES
4.0 out of 5 stars speechless!
This books writing style isn't easy to follow but IT IS so worthwhile. You NEED to read this ,even just to realise how lucky you are. Read more
Published 5 months ago by allthatjazz
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
All fine - thank you.
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Beautifully written..
Published 9 months ago by Ije Chris-Okafor
4.0 out of 5 stars a little different
This is a really good book which is written with few frills, with no extravagant drama and yet captivates and haunts you. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Mysay
5.0 out of 5 stars An unusual and interesting story of the women and children left behind...
A really different story from a part of the world which is rarely represented. Captivating from page one, this extraordinary tale of young girls stolen from their villages is both... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Macc Lass
4.0 out of 5 stars An Unforgettable Examination of the Mexico Crime Scene
Jennifer Clement's third story gives a vivid and horrifying insight into life in Mexico's poor communities. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Kate Hopkins
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I highly recommend this book. It is both thought provoking yet funny. Although of a sinister thread (female abduction and slavery) this book is as much a comedic novel as it is a... Read more
Published 14 months ago by LizzyHurst82
4.0 out of 5 stars Bleak, but very much impactful
Telling the story of a young girl living in a remote mountain town in Guerrero, Mexico, Prayers for the Stolen is almost more a coming-of-age story than a tale about Mexico's... Read more
Published 15 months ago by M. Loukoumis
5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting book
An excellent book. It is written with great empathy for the central characters. It is a chilling account of the horrors facing so many Mexicans, particularly women, but it also... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Frances James
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