La Perdida by Jessica Abel

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From the Harvey and Lulu award–winning creator of Artbabe comes this riveting story of a young woman’s misadventures in Mexico City. Carla, an American estranged from her Mexican father, heads to Mexico City to “find herself.” She crashes with a former fling, Harry, who has been drinking his way through the capital in the great tradition of his heroes, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Harry is good—humored about Carla’s reappearance on his doorstep—until he realizes that Carla, who spends her days soaking in the city, exploring Frida Kahlo’s house, and learning Spanish, has no intention of leaving.

When Harry and Carla’s relationship of mutual tolerance reaches its inevitable end, she rejects his world of Anglo expats for her own set of friends: pretty-boy Oscar, who sells pot and dreams of being a DJ, and charismatic Memo, a left-wing, pseudo–intellectual ladies’ man. Determined to experience the real Mexico, Carla turns a blind eye to her new friends’ inconsistencies. But then she catches the eye of a drug don, el Gordo, and from that moment on her life gets a lot more complicated, and she is forced to confront the irreparable consequences of her willful innocence.

Jessica Abel’s evocative black–and–white drawings and creative mix of English and Spanish bring Mexico City’s past and present to life, unfurling Carla’s dark history against the legacies of Burroughs and Kahlo. A story about the youthful desire to live an authentic life and the consequences of trusting easy answers, La Perdida–at once grounded in the particulars of life in Mexico and resonantly universal–is a story about finding oneself by getting lost.

About Jessica Abel

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Jessica Abel is the author of Soundtrack and Mirror, Window, two collections that gather stories and drawings from her comic book Artbabe, which she published between 1992 and 1999. She also collaborated with Ira Glass on Radio: An Illustrated Guide, a nonfiction comic about how the public radio program This American Life is made. Abel won both the Harvey and Lulu awards for Best New Talent in 1997; La Perdida won the 2002 Harvey Award for Best New Series. Abel's young adult novel, Carmina, is forthcoming in 2007, and she is currently collaborating on another graphic novel, Life Sucks, and a textbook about making comics.From the Hardcover edition.
Published March 7, 2006 by Pantheon. 288 pages
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for La Perdida

Kirkus Reviews

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Abel has been one of the leaders of the indie comics scene for several years, from her occasional “Artbabe” comics to her graphics journalism.

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BC Books

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Her time is spent visiting Frida Kahlo’s house, the pyramids, and other monuments that she feels will help get her in touch with her Mexican side.

Apr 10 2007 | Read Full Review of La Perdida

Book Reporter

Carla tries to find her place in this society, debating sociopolitical circumstances with Mexicans and Americans alike, never quite realizing just where all this blind ambition to fit in is leading her.

Dec 30 2010 | Read Full Review of La Perdida

Entertainment Weekly

A self-proclaimed ''crunchy ethnic wannabe,'' Carla leaves the United States to explore her Latin American roots, but her expat experiment quickly heads south.

Apr 05 2006 | Read Full Review of La Perdida

Suite 101

A brief biography of the artist and teacher who co-created 3-D comics and the character Sgt.

Dec 16 2010 | Read Full Review of La Perdida

Blogger News Network

It is the ending that reminds readers that while it reads an engrossing autobiography, La Perdida is a successful work of pure graphic fiction.

Jun 09 2008 | Read Full Review of La Perdida

Austin Chronicle

Abel's style, precise brushwork, honed through many projects (most notably her series Artbabe), shines somewhere between those two values and provides vivid pictures, expertly arranged, of what's going on.

May 12 2006 | Read Full Review of La Perdida

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