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Prayers for the Stolen [Hardcover]

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

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Book Description

11 Feb 2014
A haunting story of love and survival that introduces an unforgettable literary heroine
 
Ladydi Garcia Martínez is fierce, funny and smart. She was born into a world where being a girl is a dangerous thing. In the mountains of Guerrero, Mexico, women must fend for themselves, as their men have left to seek opportunities elsewhere. Here in the shadow of the drug war, bodies turn up on the outskirts of the village to be taken back to the earth by scorpions and snakes. School is held sporadically, when a volunteer can be coerced away from the big city for a semester. In Guerrero the drug lords are kings, and mothers disguise their daughters as sons, or when that fails they “make them ugly” – cropping their hair, blackening their teeth- anything to protect them from the rapacious grasp of the cartels. And when the black SUVs roll through town, Ladydi and her friends burrow into holes in their backyards like animals, tucked safely out of sight.
 
While her mother waits in vain for her husband’s return, Ladydi and her friends dream of a future that holds more promise than mere survival, finding humor, solidarity and fun in the face of so much tragedy. When Ladydi is offered work as a nanny for a wealthy family in Acapulco, she seizes the chance, and finds her first taste of love with a young caretaker there. But when a local murder tied to the cartel implicates a friend, Ladydi’s future takes a dark turn. Despite the odds against her, this spirited heroine’s resilience and resolve bring hope to otherwise heartbreaking conditions.
 
An illuminating and affecting portrait of women in rural Mexico, and a stunning exploration of the hidden consequences of an unjust war, PRAYERS FOR THE STOLEN is an unforgettable story of friendship, family, and determination.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Hogarth (11 Feb 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804138788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804138789
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 15.1 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,523,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.




Product Description

Review

"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) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
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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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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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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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 Best book in years! 28 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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. I would recommend this to everybody, it should be on the school syllabus.
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