Fruit of the Drunken Tree

Doubleday. Jul. 2018. 320p. ISBN 9780385542722. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385542739. F
OrangeReviewStarBased on the author's experiences growing up in drug war-torn Bógota in the late 1980s and early 1990s, this moving story is told in the dreamlike voice of seven-year-old Chula, who lives with her sister, Cassandra, and their proud, personable mother in a rich neighborhood while their father is away working in an oil field. Then 13-year-old Petrona, whose now poverty-stricken family was ripped apart by guerillas, comes to work for them. Enamored of Petrona, Chula sets out to discover all she can about the girl and her new, dangerous boyfriend, no matter the cost to her own safety. Young Chula also harbors morbid fascinations with bloody tales of local car bombings and follows politics with as much fervor as she does telenovelas. Rojas Contreras's narrative presents a Colombia different from that portrayed in popular media, such as Netflix's Narcos. She does an excellent job of articulating the complicated political situation and illustrating the heartbreaking day-to-day reality for children.
VERDICT A fascinating, poetic read from an up-and-coming author. For fans of literary fiction and libraries with immigrant communities. [See Prepub Alert, 1/8/18.]
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing