Title:  Fruit of the Drunken Tree

Author:  Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Seven-year-old Chula and her older sister Cassandra enjoy carefree lives thanks to their gated community in Bogota, but the threats of kidnapping, 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 befriend the aloof teenager.  But Petrona’s mysterious behavior conceals a powerful yearning.  She is a young woman crumbling under the burden of providing for her family as the riptide of first love pulls her in the opposite direction.  As both girls’ families scramble to maintain stability amid 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 portrays two very different but inextricably linked coming-of-age stories.  In lush prose, Rojas Contreras has written a powerful testament fo the impossible choices women and girls are often forced to make in the face of violence and to the unexpected connections that can blossom out of desperation.