Vida by Patricia Engel

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Synopsis

Fresh, accomplished, and fearless, Vida marks the debut of Patricia Engel, a young author of immense talent and promise. Vida follows a single narrator, Sabina, as she navigates her shifting identity as a daughter of the Colombian diaspora and struggles to find her place within and beyond the net of her strong, protective, but embattled family.

In “Lucho,” Sabina’s family—already “foreigners in a town of blancos”—is shunned by the community when a relative commits an unspeakable act of violence, but she is in turn befriended by the town bad boy who has a secret of his own; in “Desaliento,” Sabina surrounds herself with other young drifters who spend their time looking for love and then fleeing from it—until reality catches up with one of them; and in “Vida,” the urgency of Sabina’s self-imposed exile in Miami fades when she meets an enigmatic Colombian woman with a tragic past.

Patricia Engel maps landscapes both actual and interior in this stunning debut, and the constant throughout is Sabina—serious, witty, alternately cautious and reckless, open to transformation yet skeptical of its lasting power. Infused by a hard-won, edgy wisdom, Vida introduces a sensational new literary voice.
 

About Patricia Engel

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Patricia Engel's debut, Vida, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Fiction Award, Young Lions Fiction Award, winner of a Florida Book Award and Independent Publisher Book Award, and named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Barnes & Noble, and L.A. Weekly. Her award-winning fiction has appeared in A Public Space, The Atlantic, Boston Review, Guernica, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. Born to Colombian parents and raised in New Jersey, she is a graduate of New York University and earned her MFA at Florida International University. Patricia lives in Miami. patriciaengel.com
 
Published September 7, 2010 by Grove Press, Black Cat. 182 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Vida

The New York Times

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In “Vida,” Patricia Engel’s world is caught between Colombia and the United States, and truly at home in neither.

Sep 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Vida

The New York Times

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Patricia Engel’s understated stories are told from the perspective of a daughter of Colombian immigrants.

Oct 08 2010 | Read Full Review of Vida

NPR

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In her debut novel, Vida, Patricia Engel explores one woman's struggle to define her own life in a hard-boiled world of loss and disappointment. With searing and unsentimental prose, Engel demonstrates just how easy it is to stiffen into a person you never wanted to be.

Oct 07 2010 | Read Full Review of Vida

Tampa Bay Times

In Colombia, Vida was (like Sabina) a beloved daughter and (like Sabina's mother) a beauty pageant queen.

Sep 18 2010 | Read Full Review of Vida

Bookmarks Magazine

and in “Vida,” the urgency of Sabina’s self-imposed exile in Miami fades when she meets an enigmatic Colombian woman with a tragic past.

Patricia Engel maps landscapes both actual and interior in this stunning debut, and the constant throughout is Sabina—serious, witty, alternately cautiou...

Sep 12 2010 | Read Full Review of Vida

Reader Rating for Vida
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