La Perdida

La Perdida

by Jessica Abel


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From the Harvey and Lulu award–winning creator of Artbabe comes this riveting story of a young woman’s misadventures in Mexico City. Carla, an American estranged from her Mexican father, heads to Mexico City to “find herself.” She crashes with a former fling, Harry, who has been drinking his way through the capital in the great tradition of his heroes, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Harry is good—humored about Carla’s reappearance on his doorstep—until he realizes that Carla, who spends her days soaking in the city, exploring Frida Kahlo’s house, and learning Spanish, has no intention of leaving.

When Harry and Carla’s relationship of mutual tolerance reaches its inevitable end, she rejects his world of Anglo expats for her own set of friends: pretty-boy Oscar, who sells pot and dreams of being a DJ, and charismatic Memo, a left-wing, pseudo–intellectual ladies’ man. Determined to experience the real Mexico, Carla turns a blind eye to her new friends’ inconsistencies. But then she catches the eye of a drug don, el Gordo, and from that moment on her life gets a lot more complicated, and she is forced to confront the irreparable consequences of her willful innocence.

Jessica Abel’s evocative black–and–white drawings and creative mix of English and Spanish bring Mexico City’s past and present to life, unfurling Carla’s dark history against the legacies of Burroughs and Kahlo. A story about the youthful desire to live an authentic life and the consequences of trusting easy answers, La Perdida–at once grounded in the particulars of life in Mexico and resonantly universal–is a story about finding oneself by getting lost.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375714719
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/20/2008
Series: Pantheon Graphic Novels
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 710,205
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Jessica Abel is the author of Soundtrack and Mirror, Window, two collections that gather stories and drawings from her comic book Artbabe, which she published between 1992 and 1999. She also collaborated with Ira Glass on Radio: An Illustrated Guide, a nonfiction comic about how the public radio program This American Life is made. Abel won both the Harvey and Lulu awards for Best New Talent in 1997; La Perdida won the 2002 Harvey Award for Best New Series. Abel’s young adult novel, Carmina, is forthcoming in 2007, and she is currently collaborating on another graphic novel, Life Sucks, and a textbook about making comics.

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La Perdida 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
agingcow2345 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Most graphic novels tend towards super hero shallow even without masked spandexed POV characters. This one is different and special. It is a quite well done coming of age story and a decent take on some aspects of the expat lifestyle. I take off one star because the last third got quite predictable and somewhat repetitive but it is well worth a read if you like either genre. The last page while expected is still excellent.
saltypepper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a beautiful, well-executed graphic novel. The way the dialog moves from English to spanglish to "spanish" is well-thought out, and the drawings can make you feel like you're there. The main character is a well-meaning naif who moves to Mexico City and gets in over her head. The situations and characters feel very real, particularly the main character. I avoid people like her in real life, so it is a powerful testament to the high quality of Abel's work that I found it hard to finish the book because the protagonist was so realistic I didn't want to spend time watching her get more than she bargained for in Fictionland.
Knicke on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The art in this book is great, and I enjoyed the story too. I just have some quibbles with how it was done. The language thing was clunky (especially the footnote translations), but then again, I suppose it was somewhat important to capture the transition from uncomprehending gringa to Spanish speaker. It was hard to read, though. The other thing that was annoying was that the set-up took such a long time. But I guess that's also essential - if things had happened more abruptly, it would be harder to believe that the protagonist had gotten herself mixed up in such a bad situation. Despite these two big drawbacks, I enjoyed this book very much and will probably look up more of Abel's work in the future.
janeajones on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This graphic novel is a coming-to-consciousness tale, a very slow coming-to-consciousness. Carla, recently graduated from college, decides to go to Mexico City to connect with the culture of the father who abandoned her. Initially she moves in with an ex-pat old boyfriend, but eventually finds a job teaching English and gets her own apartment. Trying to escape the ex-pat experience, she connects with Oscar, a young Mexican who wants to move to the US to become a DJ, and Memo, a self-styled Communist revolutionary, who seduces Carla's mind while mocking her Americanness. As a typical 20-something, Carla indulges in sex, alcohol, drugs, drama and fiestas -- believing that she is experiencing Mexico with real Mexicans. But on the edges of her life, another Mexico looms with drug cartels and goons and violence. This is a cautionary tale. While at first I found the story interesting, I became increasingly annoyed with Carla's refusal to see what was in front of her face. Like all graphic novels this one reads quickly and the drawings capture the hectic life of young adults -- if not much of Mexico. Finally, I was disappointed -- La Perdida just doesn't have the same punch of something like Persepolis -- maybe I'm just too old
marnattij on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gritty, realistic travelogesque tale of a woman's search to find herself in Mexico. What she finds, however is not the woman she want to be or the life she wants to live. Nonexplicit sex, drug use, and violence make this graphic novel more appropriate for older teens and adults.
melissarecords on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Carla wants to discover her Mexican heritage, so she takes an extended visit to Mexico. She rejects the community of American expats that her boyfriend hangs with and decides that she needs to immerse herself in the "real" Mexico. But she ends up getting pulled into violence and crime when she blinds herself to some of the suspicious activities of her Mexican buddies. The thing that I liked about this book is that Carla comes across as such a real person in her passions, enthusiasm, innocence, foolishness, and misguided loyalty. Yeah, we all do stupid things. Really engaging graphics and storyline.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago