‘My mother called anyone or anything that seemed alone, or ended up in the wrong place, a stray. There were stray people, stray dogs, stray bullets, and stray butterflies.’
Fourteen-year-old Pearl France lives in the front seat of a broken down car and her mother Margot lives in the back. Together they survive on a diet of powdered milk and bug spray, love songs and stolen cigarettes.
Life on the edge of a Florida trailer park is strange enough, but when Pastor Rex’s ‘Guns for God’ programme brings Eli Redmond to town Pearl’s world is upended. Eli pays regular visits to Margot in the back seat, forcing Pearl to find a world beyond the car. Margot is given a gift by Eli, a gun of her own, just like he’s given her flowers. It sits under the driver’s seat, a dark presence…
Gun Love is a hypnotic story of family, community and violence. Told from the perspective of a sharp-eyed teenager, it exposes America’s love affair with firearms and its painful consequences.
‘Now we make you ugly,’ my mother said. ‘The best thing you can be in Mexico is an ugly girl.’
On the mountainside in rural Mexico where Ladydi lives, being a girl is dangerous. Especially a pretty one. If the Narcos hear there is a pretty girl on the mountain, they steal her. So when the black SUVs roll into town, Ladydi and her friends hide in the warren of holes scattered across the mountain, safely out of sight. Because the stolen girls don’t come back.
Ladydi is determined to get out, to find a life that offers more than just the struggle to survive. But she soon finds that the drug cartels have eyes everywhere, and the cities are no safer than the mountains.
Jennifer Clement is the President of PEN International. She was born in 1960 and has lived in Mexico since 1961. She is a graduate of New York University. She is the author of the memoir Widow Basquiat and three novels: A True Story Based on Lies, The Poison That Fascinates and Prayers for the Stolen. She is also the author of several books of poetry, and is co-founder and director of the San Miguel Poetry Week. Jennifer Clement was awarded the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Fellowship for Literature 2012. She was President of PEN Mexico from 2009 to 2012 and is a member of Mexico's prestigious Sistema Nacional de Creadores. She lives in Mexico City.