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Fruit of the Drunken Tree

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  15,719 ratings  ·  2,015 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 Bogota, safe from the political upheaval terrorizing the coun
Paperback, 306 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Anchor Books (first published July 31st 2018)
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Ingrid Contreras There is a magical understanding of reality that is very specific to South American culture. This cultural perspective does not come from Magical Real…moreThere is a magical understanding of reality that is very specific to South American culture. This cultural perspective does not come from Magical Realism—rather it is the other way around: Magical Realism was inspired by this cultural perspective. In Fruit of the Drunken Tree I wanted to write a South American experience faithful to this cultural perspective without the fabulism of Magical Realism. To give you an example, in Isabel Allende’s excellent memoir, My Invented Country, when Allende is exploring Chile's religious make-up, she mentions in passing that in addition to the country being largely fundamentalist, born-again, catholic, and atheist, there is also a profound cultural engagement with the idea that devils and evil spirits are real parts of reality. She explains, simply by saying, “My grandfather swore that he saw the devil on a bus, and that he recognized him because he had green cloven hooves like a billygoat.” Any South American can counter this anecdote with hundreds of her own. In Fruit of the Drunken Tree my characters live in this reality—they are beholden to that cultural tradition where the real is perceived within the shadows of the magical.(less)

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Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No matter who we are, what are race, religion, socio-economic background, we share some basic emotions and feelings. Fear, joy, love, jealousy, anger, sadness and hope are some of those emotions and feelings. What makes us different is our reaction to those feelings and the situations that brought about them.
Ingrid Rojas Contreras's debut novel, "Fruit of the Drunken Tree," takes us to the South American country of Colombia during the extremely violent and turbulent 1990's when drug-lord, Pablo
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)

First of all I think I’m in love with the cover of this book, what gorgeous color and pop this cover has! However the seeds from the “Drunken Tree” were used in making a very dangerous drug called “burundanga” used by many criminals in Bogota. “Victims who reported being drugged with burundanga woke up with no memory of sometimes assisting in the looting of their own apartments and bank accounts, opening their wallets and handing over everything, but that’s exactly what they had d
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
4 stars to Fruit of the Drunken Tree! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

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 kidn
Elyse Walters
Library Overdrive Audiobook....
.....narrated by...Marisol Ramirez Almarie who was sooooooo outstanding....I had visions of bright changing colored fireworks in the sky. Her voice was perfect - flawless for this incredible- magnificent Latin American novel.

Once I started this Audiobook (testing my ass), I literally did not want to stop being in this world. ‘We’ ( my buddy iPhone/ audiobook), and I, made the bed, folded laundry, took a 90 minute walk, rode the bike in the house, did stretching e
Ok truth- I added this one based on its title. Oh yes I did. The reality is, its flower, if consumed, can make one act as silly as a drunk 😵 and eventually poison it’s victim. Enough said.

This is a story of a relationship between a girl and her maid. In the background, the civil war rages in Columbia. Pablo Escobar reigning terror over the country. The impact is devastating. Until it moves to the forefront and the little tranquility known for this family disappears and in its place the violence
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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I wonder about Goodreads users sometimes. People will pile on to heap praises about one book in particular while utterly ignoring brilliant contributions to the literary canon like this. I almost didn't read this book because it was such a wild card - and I am so glad I did not do that. In many ways, FRUIT OF THE DRUNKEN TREE explores similar themes to other women-centered works of literary fiction like GIRLS BURN BRIGHTER or HOMEGOING.
Sometimes we are drawn to books by the cover, by the name, or even just the description. Well, it could also be the author too. But when I saw the name of this book, I was hooked. I knew I wanted to read it. Then, I saw it was about Columbia and Pablo Escobar and I immediately went to my library to grab it.

It tells the story of one family living in Bogota and their maid. Oh yeah, and in the world of Pablo Escobar. The story alternates between the young girl in the family, Chula, and their live-
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Buddy read in group Reading for Pleasure, review to follow when buddy read over.

4 stars for story
3 stars for prose
3.5 stars overall
Reviewing this book is particularly tough because despite really enjoying this, there remains this niggling feeling it could have been sensational if Contreras had worked out a few kinks first before embarking on such an ambitious debut. That may not be a fair criticism since writers need to start somewhere, right ? However, the meat of this story has so much potential that I was a little disappointed it didn't all work seamlessly. Despite these misgivings I am convinced The Fruit of the Drunken ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

I can’t believe I’m the first of my Goodreads friends to have read this. It seems like it was everywhere for a minute. And honestly? As soon as I saw the words . . . .

I was in. What can I say? I’m a cheap sell and my husband won’t wait for me when it comes to Netflix so there’s no chance I can keep up with Narcos to get my Pablo Escobar fix.

Now that I’m finished????

It wasn’t at all what I was expecting since I didn’t read the
Patrice Hoffman
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
I do not like the writing found in this book.

The prose, how a book is written and what characters say, is very important to me. I want a child to speak as a child does speak. A child and an adult have not the same vocabulary. Is a third grader going to say the following?

"It was at that moment I realized how fragile life really is?"

Not in my opinion. This is merely one example of many. A book’s credibility is tied to believable prose.

A mismatch between the words and the age of the person speaki
Jenna is buying a house and mostly too busy for GR ❤ ❀  ❤

Fruit of the Drunken Tree
is a beautiful and heart-rending novel set against the backdrop of Columbia in the 1990s. This was a dangerous and volatile period and the author draws on experiences from her own childhood. It is told through the eyes of 7 year old Chula, and through the eyes of her family's maid, 13 year old Petrona. Obviously, Chula's family has money; Petrona's does not. Petrona, who lives in a guerilla-occupied slum, has the responsibility of her entire family resting on her young
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Colombian-American author Contreras has set her poignant tale in Colombia during the rise-and-fall of Pablo Escobar (1989-1994). The country’s social and physical infrastructure is imploding—car bombings, gangs, random blackouts, and kidnappers. The police force is largely corrupt. Assassinations of key figures occur with disturbing frequency—Minister of Justice, the newspaper Editor-in-Chief, and even Luis Carlos Galan, the presidential candidate.

The author has the reader hear the story through
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a surprise. The blurb doesn’t really do this book justice. It’s not so much about the friendship of a girl and a teenage maid; it wasn’t a friendship, it was more of a desperate, awkward relationship under impossible circumstances. I flipped to the author’s note early on and realized that what I was reading was based on the true events of her growing up in Pablo Escobar’s Colombia, and things took on a more urgent slant. By the final third I was riveted and haunted, and I thought about ...more
Janelle Janson
Thank you so much Doubleday Books for providing my free copy of FRUIT OF THE DRUNKEN TREE by Ingrid Rojas Contreras - all opinions are my own.

This is a gorgeous, heart-wrenching debut that I completely devoured. Set in Bogotá, Colombia, in the 1990’s, the story begins with seven-year-old Chula Santiago and the Santiago’s maid, thirteen-year-old Petrona Sánchez during the time of Pablo Escobar, guerrilla warfare, corruption, the imminent threat of violence, kidnappings, and car bombings. This is
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2018
I love books about other cultures with historical viewpoints. This novel takes place in Colombia at the time of Pablo Escobar. There are two storylines. Petrona is a young girl from Las Invasiones, a slum area near Bogota, Colombia. She works as a housemaid in Chula’s parents’ home. Chula is seven and Petrona is thirteen at the beginning of the novel. Their stories are told in alternating chapters and are set against the drama of what is happening in Colombia with the rise of the vicious drug ca ...more
luce (so' morta dentro)
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Given that this book was described as being in the vein of Isabel Allende, I had quite high exceptions. While I did find the opening chapter to be intriguing, to compare Fruit of the Drunken Tree to Allende or Gabriel Garcia Marquez seems both lazy (a comparison that has less to do with substantial similarities—such as style or genre—that with geographical location....I'm not sure why publishers are still comparing any new authors from Latin America to Allende or G
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
‘Fruit of The Drunken Tree’ by Ingrid Rojas Contreras is a gripping account of growing up in Bogotá, Colombia during the years of Pablo Escobar’s drug empire. Chula, seven years old, and Cassandra Santiago, nine years old, are two sisters, whose Papá works at a faraway oil site and comes home every other weekend. Their Mamá rules what she and her two daughters think of as a ‘kingdom of women.’ Growing up in an invasión, a slum area where poor people take over the land and build houses out of wha ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is the story of a young girl whose family lives in Colombia during the height of Pablo Escobar. The narration moves between Chula, the girl, and a young woman who is hired from las Invaciones (the very poor part of town) to do various things in the home. It's an interesting reading experience because the reader has to fill in some of the gaps - Chula sees but she doesn't always understand (whether it's class difference, danger, intentions, hidden meanings, etc,) and Petrona makes decisions ...more
Kara Paes
Thank you to Doubleday Books for the free review copy via Netgalley. This was the first book I read set in Colombia and I was blown away. I learned so much about Colombia, Colombian culture, and Pablo Escobar. What we see in the news is so different than the perspective of actual Colombian citizens. I was surprised to learn that Pablo Escobar was not universally hated, but actually loved in his hometown. Ingrid Rojas Contreras' writing truly transported me to Colombia and made me feel as though ...more
Monica Kim: musings of monica
Multiply me when necessary. Transform me into light where there is shadow. — Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Fruit of the Drunken Tree
Ingrid Rojas Contreras’ debut novel, “Fruit of the Drunken Tree” was inspired by the author’s own personal experiences. This is a beautiful, emotional, heartbreaking coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of the beautiful, but violent Colombia in the 1990’s, at the height of druglord Pablo Escobar's violent reign. It’s a difficult read, there’s lot of devastating
Headlines were our funeral song.

3.5 stars. Be warned Fruit of the Drunken Tree has a very slow start. So much so, that I actually gave up just before the 20% mark. Luckily a GR friend mentioned in her review that she had the same issue, but that the pace picked up exponentially one you pass this point.

Wow, and what a turnaround it was. In fact the deeper I got into this book the more the writing, the story and the characters hooked me. Chula's voice was heartfelt and genuine, probably because
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I added this then removed it from my TBR but then changed my mind and picked it up again. It was a bit of a hard slog for me, I know nothing of this history of Columbia and didn't have internet access to look anything up. The main issue I had with this was that I had to try to keep remembering that Chula was a small child and yet the writing seemed to me to be representing a much more mature teen or someone closer to young adult. I am afraid it didn't work for me like some other GR friends here. ...more
DNF at 40%

Sigh. I thought I would love this - instead I found myself not wanting to pick it up and not caring for the choice of the dual narrative or the pacing... or the writing style. The story had such potential, but because of the reasons listed above I found it dry and dull. Unfortunate because this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year but I don’t have the patience to see if it improves.
Judith E
Feb 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Told through the eyes of two young girls, this is a sad and moving story of Colombia during the Pablo Escobar reign of terror. It is a murky and desperate setting that illustrates the wide divide between economic groups in Bogata and the terror in which both groups live.

A strange story but a promising debut by Ingrid Rojas Contreras. 3.5 stars.
Caro (Bookaria)
This is a story about a family living in Bogota, Colombia during the early 1990s, when  violence reigned due to conflicts caused by the FARC, guerrillas, Pablo Escobar, and the paras.

The novel is narrated in the alternating points of view of a child (Chula) and her family's maid (Petrona). I found it interesting, specially at the beginning since I enjoy reading stories with a backdrop of historical events and this one described many real incidents of the time.

What did not work for me was that a
Tori (InToriLex)

Content Warning: Rape, Child Soldiers, Disturbing Violent Imagery, Extreme Poverty

Chula and Petrona are two young girls struggling to grow up in a increasingly dangerous country. Chula and Petrona meet when Petrona is hired to be a maid for Chula's family. The novel is told through Petrona and Chula's point of view. They perspectives worked well, contrasting the very different thoughts and obstacles these young girls faced to survive childhood. The novel details their experiences an
Lolly K Dandeneau
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
via my blog: https://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
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INGRID ROJAS CONTRERAS was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Her memoir, The Man Who Could Move Clouds, was named a “Best Book of Summer” by TIME. Her first novel Fruit of the Drunken Tree was the silver medal winner in First Fiction from the California Book Awards, and a New York Times editor’s choice. Her essays and short stories have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Cut, and Zyzz ...more

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“I wanted to yell at the television like Mama and Papa, but I had to learn how to properly do it. I gathered that being a mouse was better than being a mosquita muerta, and being a snake was better than being a man, because flies pretending to be dead could be crushed, mice were shy, and men were persecuted; but everybody always avoided snakes.” 7 likes
“Multiply me when necessary. Transform me into light where there is shadow.” 7 likes
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