Fruit of the Drunken Tree (Doubleday Books)
Seven-year-old Chula and her older sister Cassandra enjoy carefree lives thanks to their gated community in Bogotá, 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 inextricably linked coming-of-age stories. In lush prose, Rojas Contreras has written a powerful testament to the impossible choices women are often forced to make in the face of violence and the unexpected connections that can blossom out of desperation.
Ingrid Rojas Contreras is the author of Fruit of the Drunken Tree (Doubleday, 2018), a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick. She was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Her essays and short stories have appeared in the Nylon, Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric Literature, Guernica, and Huffington Post, among others. She received fellowships from Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, and the San Francisco Writer's Grotto. She currently teaches writing to immigrant high school students as part of a San Francisco Arts Commission initiative bringing artists into public schools. She is the book columnist for KQED, the Bay Area's NPR affiliate.
Lilliam Rivera is an award-winning writer and author of the young adult novels Dealing in Dreams, forthcoming from Simon & Schuster on March 5, 2019, and The Education of Margot Sanchez, available now in bookstores everywhere. Her work has appeared in Lenny Letter, Tin House, Los Angeles Times, and Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine, to name a few. Lilliam lives in Los Angeles.