Fruit of the Drunken Tree

A Novel
Length: 12 hrs and 26 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (457 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“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.

©2018 Ingrid Rojas Contreras (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“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)

What listeners say about Fruit of the Drunken Tree

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Maybe better to read this book than listen???

I'm half way through this book and I'm bored. It moves so slow. I'm not sure it's the narrator, or the actual story.

9 people found this helpful

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Vibrant Important

This excellent rendering of girls caught in turbulent Columbia during the 80s and 90s is not only full or truth and imagination, it’s important today. Glad this story is getting the attention it deserves.

4 people found this helpful

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History Comes Alive

I had just coincidentally watched a TV program about the capture of Pablo Escobar when my friend recommended this book. The program was helpful for learning the historical facts, but this book really brought it to life: the emotions, the reality of living through those times, the impact on real people’s lives. So well done!

3 people found this helpful

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Too slow for me

I listen to Audible primarily while driving. The story is too slow for long distance driving as it just becomes white noise. I think I would like it better if I read it, but only do work related reading these days.

6 people found this helpful

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captivating read

this book shook me. The two young girls' perspectives what was going on in Colombia in the 90s and how it affected them personally was incredibly enthralling. I felt very connected to the characters, and spent a lot of time thinking about what they were going through. An Incredible story.

2 people found this helpful

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Couldn't stop listening

It is a beautiful, heart breaking story. The depth of all of the characters are there against a backdrop of amazing historical details.

2 people found this helpful

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Heart wrenching

Told from the perspective of children, but not simplistic by any means. It was a story of hope and heartbreak over familial bonds drowing in social turmoil.

1 person found this helpful

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A great story of sadness and hope

I love this book. The readers performance was spectacular, giving personality to each character in the story. The story provided insight from a child’s view into the political discourse that we only hear about in headlines. The story gives voice to the ways that children are tossed into situations in which they have to make decisions but which also let them carry forward emotional scars or insights or beliefs. This is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year..

1 person found this helpful

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Desgarrador

Muy bien escrito. Realista a pesar de ser ficción. Triste realidad que han vivido tantos compatriotas. La lectura excelente también gracias a la autora y a las lectoras.

5 people found this helpful

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Beautifully told story.

As the book went on, I became more attached to the characters. It weaves fact and fiction, reminding me of a time not so long ago.
It’s an important story, especially during this time in the States when we are making everything so Great Again’. Highly recommended.