Reviews for Prayers for the Stolen

Prayers for the Stolen is the first selection of National Reading Group Month’s 2014 Great Group Reads. Read more about it here.

New York Times Editor’s Choice, March 2014.


“Beguiling, and even crazily enchanting… [Clement] writes a poet’s prose, spare and simple, creating her world through patterns of repeated and varied metaphors and images that blossom inside the reader like radiant poppies…Prayers for the Stolen gives us words for what we haven’t had words for before, like something translated from a dream in a secret language. The novel is an ebullient yet deeply stirring paean to its female characters’ resiliency and capacity for loyalty, friendship, compassion and love, but also to the power of fiction and poetry.”—Francisco Goldman, New York Times Book 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, author of Life of Pi

“If Charles Dickens with Oliver Twist managed to change the laws that made martyrs out of poor English children and Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, helped the women of England become property owners, or the way that Garcia Marquez placed Latin America on the world stage with One Hundred Years of Solitude let’s hope that Prayers for the Stolen…changes the condition of Mexican and Central American girls who are stolen and trafficked for sex…the impact of Prayers for the Stolen could be fundamental in the life of  the women of our continent.” —Elena Poniatowska, Cervantes Prize 2014

“The brutal background of this terrific novel is only too real, Clement brings modern tragedy to vivid life.”—The London Times

“[A] beautiful, heart-rending novel…Fiercely observed comparisons of human and inanimate life form a continuing motif throughout the story…[Clement] achieves the formidable feat of smooth, clear English that pulses with an energy and sensibility that is convincingly Latin American… So compelling…Prayers for the Stolen is a powerful read.”—Thomas Chatterton Williams, Wall Street Journal

“…a consummate stylist who makes sure nothing is wasted. Every scene is related with her trademark sparity, concision and fastidious attention to detail – every phrase crafted to deliver the exact image, the exact tone – creating a prose that’s a gorgeous amalgam of spoken Mexican English, prayer, repetitions, incantations, riveting non sequiturs, and trash American dreck.” —Kirsty Gunn, The Guardian

“Compelling…Just beautiful…Really, really beautiful.”—Diane Rehm, NPR

“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

“With Prayers for the Stolen, Jennifer Clement has cracked open, rewired, and madly reimagined the coming-of-age narrative through the eyes and mind of an ingenious and wise young woman.  This book is a glorious fever dream of honesty and love.” —Patrick Somerville, author of This Bright River

“Prayers for the Stolen is a magnificent story, 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, author of Why I Came West
“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 ofThe World in Half

“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

“Moving…Through a beautifully rendered poetic rhythm all her own, Clement tells a story of the often forgotten women who carry on through the drug wars…Prayers for the Stolen tells a complicated and layered story…It feels painfully real, with a dry wit and subtly inquisitive subtext that should leave American readers wondering what can be done.”Kirkus Reviews


More Praise for Jennifer Clement

“What a marvelous writer Clement is. She contains…power in a prose that is simple and simply beguiling.” – The Scotsman

“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

“That is the triumph of Clement’s tone in the novel—she shows the black comedy in the details and the emergency in the broader picture…There is a chance that fiction can make a difference.”—Telegraph

“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”— 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”— 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