MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Fruit of the Drunken Tree Summary and Reviews

Fruit of the Drunken Tree

by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras X
Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2018
    320 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

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 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A fascinating, poetic read from an up-and-coming author. For fans of literary fiction and libraries with immigrant communities." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. A riveting, powerful, and fascinating first novel." - Booklist

"This striking novel offers an atmospheric journey into the narrow choices for even a wealthy family as society crumbles around them." - Publishers Weekly

"A tragic history is filtered through fiction, and the results are patchy: sometimes constrained by invention, sometimes piercing." - Kirkus

"Original, politically daring, and passionately written - Fruit of the Drunken Tree is the coming-of-age female empowerment story we need in 2018." - Vogue

"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 "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

"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 Henriquez, 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

"This is storytelling as a heroic act, and Ingrid Rojas Contreras is a heroine that literature desperately needs - her every page feels born, urgent, and blazingly true."- Affinity Komar, author of Mischling

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Author Information

Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Ingrid Rojas Contreras is an award-winning author who was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Her essays and short stories have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric Literature, Guernica, and Huffington Post, among others. She has been a fellow at Bread Loaf Writer's Conference and the San Francisco Writer's Grotto, and has received scholarships and support from VONA, Hedgebrook, The Camargo Foundation, Djerassi Artist Residency Program, and the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture. She is the book columnist for KQED, the Bay Area's NPR affiliate. She has taught at Stanford University, the University of San Francisco, and currently teaches writing to immigrant high school students as part of a San Francisco Arts Commission initiative bringing artists into public schools.

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