July 04 , 2010



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.
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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.
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