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In this acclaimed, debut novel by Jennifer Clement, Prayers for the Stolen explores the fate of women caught up in Mexico’s drug wars. Clement was awarded the NEA Fellowship for Literature for the book in 2012.
Born in a rural Mexico region where girls are disguised as boys to avoid the attentions of traffickers, Ladydi dreams of a better life before moving to Mexico City, where she falls in love and ends up in a prison with other women who share her experiences.
“In Clement's powerful new novel, Ladydi Garcia Martinez tells the story of how she grew up in a remote Mexican mountain village disguised as a boy. This was to ensure that the marauding gangs of drug dealers believed that the village was populated solely by adult women and young boys. No men and absolutely no pretty young girls. It's a survival strategy that works only marginally well. When it doesn't work, well, it's bad. It seems as if these thugs are always lurking, always hovering over villages, always ready to kidnap young, lovely girls. Ironically, it is the lure of this gang life or the flimsy promise of making it in the U.S. that has induced the men of Ladydi's village to leave. And so her History Channel–educated mother does the best she can with whatever meager means are available to raise and protect her daughter in this tenuous, matriarchal culture. It is her mother's pliable morality that defines her character and in a paradoxical way arms Ladydi to survive in modern Mexico. Clement's deft first-person narrative style imbues authenticity to her depiction of a world turned upside down by drug cartels, police corruption, and American exploitation.” –Booklist, starred review
“Highly original…[Clement’s] prose is poetic in the true sense: precise as a scalpel, lyrical without being indulgent.” – The Guardian
"Bold and innovative…The rich mixture of the outlandishly real and the hyperfabulistic has a certain superstitious power over the reader. Jennifer Clement employs poetry's ability to mirror thought… superbly drawn." —The Times Literary Supplement