“One of the most dazzling and devastating novels I’ve read in a long time...Readers of Fruit of the Drunken Tree will surely be transformed.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Simultaneously propulsive and poetic, reminiscent of Isabel Allende...Listen to this new author’s voice - she has something powerful to say.” (Entertainment Weekly)
A mesmerizing debut set in Colombia at the height Pablo Escobar's violent reign about a sheltered young girl and a teenage maid who strike an unlikely friendship that threatens to undo them both
Seven-year-old Chula and her older sister, Cassandra, enjoy carefree lives thanks to their gated community in Bogotá, but the threat of kidnappings, car bombs, and assassinations hover just outside the neighborhood walls, where the godlike drug lord Pablo Escobar continues to elude authorities and capture the attention of the nation.
When their mother hires Petrona, a live-in-maid from the city's guerrilla-occupied slum, Chula makes it her mission to understand Petrona's mysterious ways. But Petrona's unusual behavior belies more than shyness. She is a young woman crumbling under the burden of providing for her family as the rip tide of first love pulls her in the opposite direction. As both girls' families scramble to maintain stability amid the rapidly escalating conflict, Petrona and Chula find themselves entangled in a web of secrecy that will force them both to choose between sacrifice and betrayal.
Inspired by the author's own life, and told through the alternating perspectives of the willful Chula and the achingly hopeful Petrona, Fruit of the Drunken Tree contrasts two very different but inextricably linked coming-of-age stories. In lush prose, Rojas Contreras has written a powerful testament to the impossible choices women are often forced to make in the face of violence and the unexpected connections that can blossom out of desperation.
“One of the most dazzling and devastating novels I’ve read in a long time... An exquisitely intimate double portrait of two young women.... Unforgettable.... Readers of Fruit of the Drunken Tree will surely be transformed." (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Simultaneously propulsive and poetic, reminiscent of Isabel Allende...Fruit of the Drunken Tree offers a wake-up call for many. An eye-opening story of survival in a place history books and crime sagas (see: 'Narcos') would have us think we know better than we do... Listen to this new author’s voice - she has something powerful to say.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“A beautifully rendered novel of an Escobar-era Colombian childhood.... You don’t need to have grown up in Bogota to be taken in by Contreras’ simple but memorable prose and absorbing storyline.... I can’t help wondering what novels about Colombia 25 years from now will have to say about this current period. I can only hope they’ll be as sensitive and thoughtful as this one.” (The New York Times Book Review)
“When women tell stories, they are finally at the center of the page. When women of color write history, we see the world as we have never seen it before. In Fruit of the Drunken Tree, Ingrid Rojas Contreras honors the lives of girls who witness war. Brava! I was swept up by this story.” (Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street)
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I found this story captivating. In fact I couldn’t stop listening. Both readers Marisol Ramirez and Almarie Guerra did a fine job of portraying the characters Chule and Patrone. I highly recommend this audiobook.