Fruit of the Drunken Tree (Hardcover)
Not Yet Published
"When women of color write history, we see the world as we have never seen it before. In Fruit of the Drunken Tree, Ingrid Rojas Contreras honors the lives of girls who witness war. Brava I was swept up by this story."
--Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street For readers of Homegoing, 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 Seven-year-old Chula and her older sister Cassandra enjoy carefree lives thanks to their gated community in Bogota, 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.
About the Author
INGRID ROJAS CONTRERAS was born in Bogota and holds an MFA from Columbia College Chicago. She is the 2014 recipient of the Mary Tanenbaum Literary Award in Nonfiction and was a 2015 fellow at the San Francisco Writer's Grotto. She recently received a Bread Loaf Bakeless Camargo Fellowship. Her writing has been anthologized in Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica and Electric Literature, among others. Contreras currently lives in San Francisco where she blogs about books for NPR affiliate KQED and teaches fiction at the University of San Francisco. She can be found online at http: //www.ingridrojascontreras.com.