Fruit of the Drunken Tree

Fruit of the Drunken Tree

Book - 2018
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Seven-year-old Chula and her older sister Cassandra enjoy carefree lives thanks to their gated community in Bogot?, 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.
Publisher: New York :, Doubleday,, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385542722
Branch Call Number: FICTION ROJ
Characteristics: 306 pages ; 25 cm

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t
Tara_P
Nov 09, 2018

A friendship between two girls, one a servant in the home of the other, forms as they negotiate the gritty realities of Columbia in the late 20th century with its drug lords, paramilitary forces, and oppressive regime. Bombing and death are commonplace but still unsettling to the privileged girl in her gated community. Kidnapping by any of the forces in the conflict might happen at any time, particularly if there is a chance that the person is of some value to them. The sense of place is strong, so much so that it seems to dominate the story interestingly. The author's writing style is idiosyncratic in a way that fits the story. She has clearly used much of her own experience in writing this novel, but it is genuinely a work of fiction as is apparent when she speaks of her life in an author's note at the end.

l
LibraryLES
Oct 19, 2018

I did not enjoy this book despite all the great reviews. I just couldn't get into the characters. I did enjoy the historical aspect and descriptions of Bogota and Columbian life, as tragic and sad as it was at times.

b
brangwinn
Sep 30, 2018

One can’t love a sad story like this, but one can become enmeshed in the story of how life can change dramatically in Colombia as the drug lords laid siege. Telling the two intertwined stories of an upper middle class girl and a girl born in the slums, the girls relationships change as the story unfolds.

e
emroberts
Jun 26, 2018

I loved this debut novel. Chula, Cassandra and their parents live in Colombia during the operation of the Medellín Cartel and Pablo Escobar, though the young girls are barely old enough to know much about either. Primarily through the younger Chula's eyes, Contreras builds a story about family, country and uncertainty. It's a bit of a slow burn--the author does a good job of limiting what we know, like her narrator would, but retaining the curiosity and rebelliousness of childhood. This book is fictional, but based on some of the author's real experiences. There are some fairly traumatic events (family separation, assault, kidnapping, refugee camps), that may be difficult for some readers.

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