Happy Tuesday! I have a review for Fruit of Drunken Tree publishing today by Doubleday.
When I saw Fruit of the Drunken Tree compared to Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I knew it was a must-read for my list.
Ingrid Rojas Contreras’ debut is set in Colombia in the 1990s. It is focused on the Santiago family living in Bogota in a gated community. Gates are necessary because of the extreme political unrest in the country at the time. While the children are insulated from the world, just outside those protective bars are kidnappings, bombings, and other violence, all at the hands and orders of a drug lord named Pablo Escobar.
A new housekeeper, Petrona, is hired by the mother, Chula Santiago, and Petrona has been living in a guerrilla-occupied slum. Petrona is overburdened working to care for her family, while also being pulled by love to the “wrong side,” the dangerous side. Both Chula and Petrona’s families are seeking stability and safety in a time of outright upheaval and abject terror.
The author was inspired by her own life in her writing of Fruit of the Drunken Tree. Rojas Contreras uses the voices of Chula and Petrona as her narrators to capture the essence of the disparities between their lives and their means to survive. Chula and Petrona will be forced to make incomprehensible choices in their desire to keep their families intact.
Overall, Rojas Contreras’ writing is exquisite. The contrast between the beauty of the area and the horrific violence and turmoil is executed with sensitivity. Like I mentioned above, I was very much looking forward to reading this book, and it most certainly delivered in its storytelling.
Thank you to Doubleday for the complimentary copy to review. All opinions are my own. The Fruit of the Drunken Tree will be published on July 31, 2018.
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 country. Seven-year-old Chula and her older sister Cassandra enjoy carefree lives thanks to this protective bubble, 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.
Have you read Fruit of the Drunken Tree? Have you read any great reads involving a culture different from your own? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR