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Fruit of the Drunken Tree

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4.28  ·  Rating details ·  64 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
In the vein of Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a mesmerizing debut set against the backdrop of the devastating violence of 1990's Colombia about a sheltered young girl and a teenage maid who strike an unlikely friendship that threatens to undo them both

The Santiago family lives in a gated community in Bogotá, safe from the political upheaval terrorizing the coun
...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: July 31st 2018 by Doubleday
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Patrice Hoffman
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow! What an incredibly moving and touching story. Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras delivers a vivid, profoundly engrossing coming of age story that is told through two young girls who couldn't be more different, yet, they share a connection that is unheard of given the circumstances

Fruit of the Drunken Tree begins with the primary narrator, Chula, studying a photo of a young girl she once knew in Bogota. Chula and her family live a relatively comfortable life behind the walls
...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
via my blog: http://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/
"Mamá said Papá had to work far away because there were no jobs in Bogotá, but all I knew was sometimes we told Papá about things, and sometimes we didn’t."

The Santiago’s lives behind a gated community may as well be a different world entirely from where their new, thirteen year old maid Petrona comes from. Despite their differences, or perhaps because of them, Chula is drawn into a friendship with her. Where Chula and her sister Cassandra spend
...more
Kelsey
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Set in Bogota, Colombia in the 1990s, Fruit of the Drunken Tree is an incredibly well crafted novel told mostly from the perspective of Chula, an upper middle class girl living a happy life with her older sister, mother, and father. Alternating with Chula is the perspective of Petrona, a poor girl from the Hills where Chula's mother was raised. Determined to help girls who were in that position, Chula's mother always hires poor girls to clean their house, and Petrona is the latest. Petrona's ent ...more
Ella McCrystle
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: literary fiction readers, Colombia
When I was young, I was frequently chastised for being "too sensitive." I wasn't a wimpy sort of kid; I just felt everything -- deeply. If I was happy, I was practically delirious. When I really felt something, I was frequently accused of being melodramatic. I truly was not trying to get attention. I was just a little different from my very tightly-wound family. I projected thoughts and feelings onto everything from animals to bedsheets. I remember the weighty impact certain realizations made on ...more
Tiffany PSquared
"Mamá always said -- the life she knew was a last-minute tsunami that could sweep away fathers, money, good, and children."

Chula and her family live in Bogatá in a nice home with all the standard comforts. Just a few miles away, their young housekeeper, Petrona, lives in a makeshift hut in the hills with the remnants of her large family and no comforts. But the thing that connects them all is the violence of the time and place in which they live. Car bombs, kidnappings, drought, and hours-long b
...more
Alejandra Rodriguez
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
This book was equal parts heart wrenching and beautiful. The writing in this book has been compared to the writing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and I would absolutely agree with that comparison. My parents are Colombian and I have visited Colombia several times, although not recently. Her descriptions brought back so many memories for me and I was astonished by how wonderful her descriptions were. Despite my heritage, I am unfamiliar with Colombian history. I still found it easy to follow the plot ...more
Mahi Senthilkumar
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Chula grows up in a wealthy Colombian family, spending her days getting into trouble with her sister and marveling at her family's graceful but mysterious maid, Petrona. This story, brought to life by the magic and anxiety of Chula's imagination, starts of as the account of a quaint and innocent school girl. However, as Colombia gets embroiled in the chaos of Pablo Escobar's nefarious dealings and the violent crime of narcotics
...more
Linda Barlow
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I want to give EVERYONE this book.
This is a powerful and beautifully written book. In the tradition of masterful Latin American writers, this story conveys the history of Colombia in the early 1990’s, the time of FARC, Pablo Escobar, kidnappings and violence. It’s the story of families and relationships and how the political circumstances affected everyone. The story is told from the point of view of a little girl named Chula and the family’s maid Petrona. The impossible choices made and secrets
...more
Creager
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
With her father away at work, Chula lives with her sister, Cassandra and her mother in Bogota, Colombia in a kingdom of women. With the naïveté of childish wonder pimpled with desperation Chula comes of age amidst civil unrest, car bombs, first loves and news of The Guerrilla, fiend and hobgoblin, Pablo Escobar. When Petrona comes to serve as a maid in her house her presence enchants the imaginative Chula and her protection as they try to navigate the adult world.
Julieth
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
http://booksensationlife.wordpress.c... full review on my blog. I cannot wait for this novel to come out. I will definitely be adding this to my library.
Diana
Feb 19, 2018 marked it as to-read
This was a great book! I'm an advocate for diverse literature but I do understand I do not read many books about the Hispanic / Latin American community. This is the second book I read that is written by a Colombian author. I loved the strong female characters in this book enjoyed the writing. I wish there was a bit more explanation about the historical events. Having little knowledge of Colombia and its history, it was a bit difficult to understand the turmoil. I did have to Google to gain bett ...more
Sharon
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In this enthralling novel, bits of Colombian history (especially the machinations and de-evolution of Pablo Escobar), are mixed with the coming of age of two diverse and unique female characters.
Chula is a child of a wealthy and insulated family in Bogota, and Petrona is a young woman who leaves her poverty stricken and violent slum to be a maid for the Santiagos. Both characters are fully realized, with their own growth path they need to travel- a parallel movement in the beginning, but one th
...more
Kathrin
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
This book was provided to me by NetGalley and Doubleday Books. All opinions are my own. Pub Date 31st Jul 2018.

This debut novel is narrated from the perspective of 7 year old Chula and set in the reign of terror by Pablo Escobar in Bogata, Columbia. The additional perspective is provided by Petrona, the 15 year old maid from the slums of Bogata working for Chula's family.

In the novel the author creates an astonishing picture of this time of instability and the contrasts between the rich and the
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Andrea
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I just finished binge-watching Narcos so this book/scenario particularly resonated -- Colombia and Pablo Escobar. And, Contreras relates in her notes that this story was inspired by personal experience. Kidnapping, guerrillas, Escobar, and car bombs were all part of her growing up--this is what makes the novel so vivid and realistic.

The Santiago family lives in a gated community in Bogota. The father works for a foreign oil com
...more
Angie
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Most of this beautifully-told story takes place roughly 1989-1993, and it draws the politics of Colombia at the time into the lives of young Chula and her family and friends. Chula's life is one of great privilege, and yet she is still in danger, aware of the unrest around her, and kidnapping, that ubiquitous threat in Colombia, affects her family deeply. It's based on the experience of Contreras herself, and rings true, adorned with the drama of the imaginative child narrating the story. Child ...more
Anna
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have definitely never read a book like this before and I learned so much about Columbian history while reading.

Chula and Cassandra are young when their mother hires Petrona to clean their house. What starts as a working relationship soon becomes much more than that for Chula - and getting close to Petrona will change their lives in ways they never could have imagined.

For the first several chapter of this book, I was intrigued by the beautiful writing and the well-done character development. I
...more
Claire
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received Fruit of the Drunken Tree as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

Fruit of the Drunken Tree explores the disparate backgrounds and unlikely friendship of Chula, a seven year old girl from a privileged Colombian family and Petrona, her family's teenage maid. Amidst the chaos and violence of 1990s Colombia, Chula is relatively sheltered from the upheaval around her, while Petrona, the oldest daughter of a poor family, must grow up quickly, forced to make important decisions about love and duty.
...more
Lesley
Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received Fruit of the Drunken Tree for free through Goodreads' Giveaways program.

I have mixed feelings about this novel, which is about a young girl, Chula, growing up in Bogota during a very violent time in Colombia. Much of the focus of the novel is on the relationship between Chula and Petrona, the maid who comes to work at Chula's house, where Chula lives with her mother, her sister, and occasionally her father. Petrona is a few years older than Chula and comes from the invasiones, a world
...more
Kim McGee
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Columbia in the 90's was a country torn apart by violence where drug kings like Pablo Escobar ruled the streets and terrorized both police and the well-off citizens. This is the story of two young sisters who live in the better part of Bogota and the young maid who comes to work for them from the other side of the tracks. There is a common theme of very strong women who fight for their way of life, and to keep their family safe amidst the violence and also about the loyalty and friendship of one ...more
Kara
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don’t know why I struggled with this book at first, it wasn’t until about 100 pages in that I started to feel for the characters. The novel is set in Bogota during Pablo Escobar’s "reign" and centers around the Santiago’s; Mama, Papa, Cassandra, and Chula. The chapters are narrated by the youngest daughter, seven year old Chula, and the maid, Petrona, alternating back and forth. Mostly it’s told from Chula’s perspective, which while I loved this young girl’s sense of imagination I really wante ...more
Patchogue-Medford Library
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was completely immersed in this read! Set in 1990's Colombia, this
novel is told in alternating voices of two young girls. Chula is a
seven year old from a privileged family who lives in a gated
community, and Petrona is the family’s new teenage maid who is from
the poor guerrilla-occupied slum. In the notes after the story, I was
amazed to find that so much of this book was based on the author’s
personal experience and intertwined with true news articles --
including the stories of kidnapping, terro
...more
Rhonda Lomazow
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A book you will not be able to forget based on the authors young life in Columbia the difficulties hardships adjustment.a literary book I loved hurt for and couldn’t put down.Thanks #doubleday #netgalley.
Amy
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was completely immersed in this read! Set in 1990's Colombia, this novel is told in alternating voices of two young girls. Chula is a seven year old from a privileged family who lives in a gated community, and Petrona is the family’s new teenage maid who is from the poor guerrilla-occupied slum. In the notes after the story, I was amazed to find that so much of this book was based on the author’s personal experience and intertwined with true news articles -- including the stories of kidnapping ...more
Rebecca
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-review
"When it's time, it's time. There's no escaping death."

This beautiful and heartfelt novel about a friendship between a young girl and her maid does an amazing job of transporting its' reader to late 20th century Columbia. I know that comparisons are being drawn between Contreras and writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende, but I was actually reminded a bit of Donna Tartt's The Little Friend because Chula's voice felt a lot like Harriet's - Contreras really captures the voice of a
...more
Jamckean
rated it really liked it
Mar 16, 2018
Bob
rated it it was amazing
May 18, 2018
Doubleday  Books
rated it it was amazing
May 16, 2018
Mackenzie
rated it it was amazing
Feb 27, 2018
Sarah
rated it really liked it
Feb 16, 2018
Melissa Young
rated it it was amazing
Jan 24, 2018
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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 recently received the Mary Tanenbaum Award for non-fiction, and the Audio Miller Prize from the Missouri Review. She has been a fellow at Bread Loaf Writer' ...more
More about Ingrid Rojas Contreras

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