Jennifer Clement’s PRAYERS FOR THE STOLEN is a hauntingly beautiful story of love and survival in rural Mexico.
Ladydi Garcia Martinez was born into a world where being a girl is a dangerous thing. In their village in the remote tropical mountains of Guerrero, Mexico, she and her friends are dressed as boys and “made ugly” by their mothers, to protect them from the roving drug traffickers and criminal groups that plague the region. The women must fend for themselves, as almost all of the men have left to find opportunities elsewhere. While her tormented mother waits in vain for her husband’s return, Ladydi dreams of a future that holds more promise than mere survival.
As we follow Ladydi from her village to a wealthy home in Acapulco, and further to a women’s prison in Mexico City, her resilience and spirited 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.
“Clement is more a poet than a documentarian, and the girls and women of the village she chronicles are complex individuals…Clement treats the brutal material honestly…and ultimately allows Ladydi to continue to hope.”—Publishers Weekly
“What can I say about this novel? That it’s extraordinary, electric, heartbreaking, profound? There aren’t enough adjectives to describe how moved I was by the story of Ladydi and her friends, of their tragic lives and quiet fortitude in spite of a world that conspires against them. Maybe it’s enough just to say this: Prayers for the Stolen is the best book I’ve read in years.” —Cristina Henríquez, author of The World in Half
“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. Stunningly written, magically detailed, you see, smell and taste the action on every page, feel every foible, and miss the candor 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, Man Booker Prize-winning author of Vernon God Little