In Prayers for the Stolen, Jennifer Clement takes her reader by the hand and leads them to the mountains of Guerrero, Mexico, into the adobe two-room home of Ladydi Garcia Martinez. Ladydi lives in a “land of women”. Men chase opportunities and futures down the highway while mothers and daughters are left in an isolated community, their survival dependent on sharpened senses and hardened mentalities.
Clement drew inspiration for the novel from conversations with actual women of Guerrero who spoke of digging holes in corn fields to hide their daughters from traffickers. In the novel, Ladydi and her friends learn to listen for the roars of the drug lords’ SUVs. They hide in holes dug in their backyards and wait for the the jungle to breathe again. Through Ladydi’s eyes we peek into the world of the women of Guerrero: we run with her to escape the herbicide showers from government helicopters sent to kill poppy fields, we watch her mother drink her sadness in beer and tequila. When her astonishingly beautiful friend, Paula, is stolen, we feel in our chests a stinging certainty of what is going to happen to her.
Fear and trouble loom over Ladydi’s world like the vultures that prey on carcasses discarded on her lonely mountain. In Prayers for the Stolen, we find ourselves in the middle of an ongoing struggle to survive, but along the way we familiarize ourselves with the reality of women’s unbreakable spirit and strength.