Fruit of the Drunken Tree

Fruit of the Drunken Tree

A Novel

eBook - 2018
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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 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 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.
Publisher: [S.l.]: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2018.
ISBN: 9780385542739
Characteristics: 320 p.
Additional Contributors: cloudLibrary

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OPL_AnnaW Dec 20, 2019

Simply and elegantly narrated by two young girls, Fruit of the Drunken Tree provides a fresh perspective on a complicated historical time. I still think about the compelling characters in this coming-of-age story set in turbulent 1990's Columbia.

m
mnack_0
Sep 11, 2019

There were a lot of layers to this book - besides the practical nuts & bolts of the story, her graphic descriptions of Columbian life through the eyes of a child were riveting. The author did a terrific job of catching the "magical realism" of a child. Well written story about the impact of Pablo Escobar's drug kingdom on Colombia. And what it means to be a refugee in our country.

ArapahoeLesley Jul 26, 2019

I didn't get into the story until half way through but from then on it was engrossing. Maybe because I listened to it I would get the two young female voices confused. Nonetheless this is an impactful own voices novel based on the author's experiences growing up in Columbia.

t
Tara_P
Nov 09, 2018

A friendship between two girls, one a servant in the home of the other, forms as they negotiate the gritty realities of Columbia in the late 20th century with its drug lords, paramilitary forces, and oppressive regime. Bombing and death are commonplace but still unsettling to the privileged girl in her gated community. Kidnapping by any of the forces in the conflict might happen at any time, particularly if there is a chance that the person is of some value to them. The sense of place is strong, so much so that it seems to dominate the story interestingly. The author's writing style is idiosyncratic in a way that fits the story. She has clearly used much of her own experience in writing this novel, but it is genuinely a work of fiction as is apparent when she speaks of her life in an author's note at the end.

l
LibraryLES
Oct 19, 2018

I did not enjoy this book despite all the great reviews. I just couldn't get into the characters. I did enjoy the historical aspect and descriptions of Bogota and Columbian life, as tragic and sad as it was at times.

b
brangwinn
Sep 30, 2018

One can’t love a sad story like this, but one can become enmeshed in the story of how life can change dramatically in Colombia as the drug lords laid siege. Telling the two intertwined stories of an upper middle class girl and a girl born in the slums, the girls relationships change as the story unfolds.

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emroberts
Jun 26, 2018

I loved this debut novel. Chula, Cassandra and their parents live in Colombia during the operation of the Medellín Cartel and Pablo Escobar, though the young girls are barely old enough to know much about either. Primarily through the younger Chula's eyes, Contreras builds a story about family, country and uncertainty. It's a bit of a slow burn--the author does a good job of limiting what we know, like her narrator would, but retaining the curiosity and rebelliousness of childhood. This book is fictional, but based on some of the author's real experiences. There are some fairly traumatic events (family separation, assault, kidnapping, refugee camps), that may be difficult for some readers.

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