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Publisher's Summary

"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)

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 riptide 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 inextricable coming-of-age stories. In lush prose, Rojas Contreras sheds light on 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

"A coming of age story, an immigrant story, a thrilling mystery novel, thoroughly lived and felt - this is an exciting debut novel that showcases a writer already in full command of her powers.  Make room on your shelves for a writer whose impressive debut promises many more." (Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies and How the García Girls Lost Their Accents)

"Set against the backdrop of Pablo Escobar's stranglehold on the fate of a nation, Fruit of the Drunken Tree is a spellbinding story of two girls whose realities collide and who are forced to make nearly unbearable choices in the name of survival. The thrum of mystery and danger haunts every page, and you won't be able to look away until you turn the last one." (Cristina Henríquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans)

"From its unforgettable opening image to its heartbreakingly perfect final line, Fruit of the Drunken Tree casts an irresistible spell, summoning us into the fierce, perilous world of two young girls in a nation on the brink. Ingrid Rojas Contreras’s lush language finds hidden beauty in even the ugliest pain. A stunning debut."(Robin Wasserman, author of Girls on Fire)

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  • SydSavvy
  • PARIS, TX, United States
  • 09-06-18

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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!

1 of 1 people found this review 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.

3 of 5 people found this review 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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful