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Prayers for the Stolen

Prayers for the Stolen [Kindle Edition]

Jennifer Clement
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"The theme of Prayers for the Stolen is the wanton violence inflicted on women and the destruction of communities as a result of the drug trade in Mexico, but Clement's eye for the revealing detail, the simple poetry of her language and the visceral authenticity of her characters turn that deadening reality into a compelling, tragically beautiful novel" (Yann Martel)

"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)

"Despite its violent premise, this is a darkly comic read with one of the funniest, most touching narrators in years, highlighting a very real issue in a remarkably fresh way. An inspiring story of female resilience" (Psychologies)

"With Ladydi, Jennifer Clement has created a feisty teenage heroine who is an unforgettable character" (Good Housekeeping)

"This book has attracted a huge amount of attention and deservedly so" (Four Shires)

"The brutal background of this terrific novel is only too real; Clement brings a modern tragedy to vivid life" (The Times)

"Kaleidoscopic... Glints with occasional shards of comedy as black as the charcoal used to obscure female beauty" (Sophie Baggott Times Literary Supplement)

"The most enchanting journey I’ve taken in a long, long time, and the most important. Prayers For The Stolen is a hand-guided tour through a ruthless true corner of our century, with characters so alive they will burrow into your heart like worms. Stunningly written, magically detailed, you see, smell and taste the action on every page, feel every foible, and miss the candour of these funny, achingly human voices long after you put them down. As the heroine herself might say: not something to read but to lick off a plate." (DBC Pierre)

"Prayers For the Stolen is a magnificent story, as filled with a wisdom so dense and ancient as to seem almost unbearable. One wants to turn away, but cannot. It’s a mesmerizing read, illustrative of the idea that even traces of beauty, deeply felt, can help carry a traveler through the harshest landscape, or the harshest life." (Rick Bass)

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: 1439 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: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #103,937 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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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting book 30 Mar 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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 manages to celebrate their strength and their capacity for love.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you, Jamie Bing!! 7 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is one of only two Kindle titles I have ever pre-ordered. I did so on the basis of Jamie Bing's recommendation as a must-read for 2014 and am extremely glad I did.
It explores a world where young and beautiful girls are stolen by the omnipotent drug cartels to be sold or used; where the police are lawless and corrupt; a mountain community which is almost exclusively female because all the men leave for America, never to return.
It's beautifully written - amidst the brutality and desolation of Ladydi's world, Clement's often poetic prose shines. Phrases and metaphors linger in the mind. Despite the harsh environment (geographically and sociologically) Ladydi is a resilient, feisty and witty protagonist, providing much-needed humour - and hope - among the bleakness.
The suffocating fear of the all-powerful 'narcos' and the hopelessness of the situation was so effectively realised that while one part of me reeled in horror & disbelief, the other was completely immersed in that world..
Not an easy read in terms of subject matter - and all the better for that. It is illuminating, thought-provoking, touching and heart-breaking.
Ladydi's resilience and humour and the mutual support the women and girls share prevent Prayers for the Stolen from being unremittingly bleak. Highly recommended for those who like an intelligent, multi-layered read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Agony in the Jungle 2 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very enlightening book about the life of a young girl living in the jungle half an hour's ride from Acapulco. I really got into this book, it's easy compulsive reading. Fact and fiction are intertwined to show the life these very underprivileged people endure with few opportunities available. The drug gangs, who steal young girls with apparent impunity are ever present. Highly recommended.
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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 woman’s 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

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.

Comparisons with 2666 are going to swarm around PRAYERS FOR THE UNUSUAL which is probably unfair
on 2666.

Jennifer Clement? How does someone with a name like that know so much – KNOW EVERYTHING – about this
subject matter?

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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Beautifully written..
Published 1 month 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 7 months ago by M. Loukoumis
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book in years!
This is the best book that I have read in a very long time. From the very first page it captivates, you can't believe that people have to live like this. Read more
Published 9 months ago by John Burchett
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