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Fruit of the Drunken Tree

By: Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Imprint: Anchor

Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780525434313

Other Formats:

Electronic | Hardcover | Audiobook Download

On Sale: | Pages: 320

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“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 WeeklyA 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 bothSeven-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 amidst 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.
...a beautifully rendered novel of an Escobar-era Colombian childhood. Although this debut novel is inspired by the author's personal experiences (as noted in an afterword), you don't need to have grown up in Bogotá to be taken in by Contreras's simple but memorable prose and absorbing story line.... Contreras's depiction of growing up amid such constant violence provides some of the most arresting passages in the book.... I'm writing this a few days after Colombia's recent presidential election, and 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.
—New York Times
“Fruit of the Drunken Tree” is one of the most dazzling and devastating novels I've read in a long time.... Rojas Contreras, in this vividly imagined and deeply researched book, renders in breathtaking specificity the humanity of each singular participant — whether perpetrator or bystander, betrayer or betrayed.... What cannot be summarized here is the prose on every page of this novel, with images that blister and burn, phrases that adorn and astonish.... Readers of “Fruit of the Drunken Tree” will surely be transformed by the imprints of the journeys Rojas Contreras' characters undertake; their escape routes include flights of imagination as well as involuntary amnesia. In the best of fiction as in the worst of life, we are given the opportunity to empathize with the suffering of others and to find inspiration in the grace of their resilience.
—San Francisco Chronicle
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