by Patricia Engel

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Vida by Patricia Engel

A New York Times Notable Book, an NPR Best Debut of the Year, and a PEN/Hemingway finalist.
These linked stories follow 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.
Vida calls to mind some of the best fiction from recent years. Like Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, Engel uses stories about connected characters to illuminate her main subject, in this case Sabina, who moves with her family from Bogotá, Colombia, to New Jersey. Engel brings Sabina’s family and culture to life with a narrative style reminiscent of Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao . . . Vivid, memorable . . . An exceptionally promising debut.” —The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802196187
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 09/07/2010
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 508,701
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Patricia Engel was born to Colombian parents and raised in New Jersey. She has a degree in French and Art History from New York University, and an MFA from Florida International University. She is thirty-two-years-old.

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Vida 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Diego_Winkle More than 1 year ago
From the moment I picked up the book I could not place it down. The metaphors and detailed setting descriptions provided throughout the stories allowed you to integrate with the story. I had the pleasure of meeting Patricia in person and she is a true visionary! Looking forward to seeing what she has up ahead because she can reach great heights in the literary world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by: Sandra Rating: 4 stars Review: Patricia Engel’s debut book was wonderful. Her main character, Sabina, was smart, witty, and real; she often referred to herself as a “late bloomer.” These are stories of a girl’s coming-of-age from childhood to adulthood (although not necessarily in that order) that trek through the hurdles revolving her family, friends, neighbors, and her ethnic identity. Living in a community shunned by “blancos” makes life a little lonely for Sabina in “Lucho.” In “Refuge,” Sabina must hide from the wreckage of the 9/11 aftermath while pondering the fact that she “cheated,” that she should’ve been in that building with all those victims if she had only gone to work that day. And, in “Vida,” Sabina befriends a prostitute that she can’t help but be fascinated by. Full of vivid and lively descriptions like “your skin looks like diarrhea.” (47) I couldn’t help but laugh at that one. “Death is a huge aphrodisiac.” (35) Interesting how you always want people when they’re dead –they are the “ungettable” get. Engel has a way of engaging the reader with her candid humor and elegant prose. Her unique writing style of broken sentences was so oddly poetic –yet it all seemed to work.
AbbyRefaat-Writer More than 1 year ago
A unique writing style from a brilliant talent.   
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LuciT More than 1 year ago
This is light reading (the paper used for printing is very interesting too). Not one of those book with long, never-ending descriptions of people and places. Something happens on every page and the book interests the reader from the beginning. Great for gifts, to carry in your purse (not heavy), for airport and airplane reading, or to read a chapter each night. Once you start, you can't stop. If has some drama but with good sense of humor in every page. The best character is Sabina's mother, a funny latin lady, which I can totally identify with other latin mothers I know!