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 familyalready “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 ituntil 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 (New Jersey
, New York
, Bogotá) and interior in this stunning debut, and the constant throughout is Sabinaserious, 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.