published by Black Cat
Vida is a hard nut to crack. Engel is clearly influenced by Junot Diaz, whom she gives a shout out to in her acknowledgments and Diaz also blurbs the front cover. That's pretty much why I read it, because this is the debut Diaz had been waiting for, apparently. But this influence comes off as more imitation than her own solid voice but then again, it is a debut and Engel is still finding that voice.
Moderately recommended though nothing new in terms of moving Latin American immigrant fiction forward, not to pigeon hole her stuff but I mean, that's what it is...at least right now.
reviewed by Schuyler