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Ingrid Rojas Contreras Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Fruit of the Drunken Tree (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Author Ingrid Rojas Contreas was born and grew up in Bogota, Colombia, and has since moved to San Francisco, California. She finds that Spanish is the language that is inside her mind, while English is the language that is alive and available at her fingertips. Her short stories and essays have appeared in quite a few publications, like Electric Literature, Huffington Post, and Guernica, as well as others.

For her non-fiction work, she has gotten the Mary Tanenbaum, and the Missouri Review’s Audio Miller Prize. She was a fellow at the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto as well as Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference.

She is an ex-communist intellectual’s daughter and is a psychic that comes from a line of seers. She has stated that her grandfather is a man who could move the clouds, as he is cuandero (which is a medicine man). Something that does not surprise the people of her country, but confuses those from America.

Because her grandfather neglected to initiate the next generation of seers, it caused accidents to happen to both her mother and to her, these accidents are said to be his fault. Her mother was about nine or ten when her accident happened, and she was about eight or nine when she suffered her accident.

She talks about how in Colombia, people live with an open door to the other world, as she puts it. Dreams are believed to be part of the great beyond. Her family studied the dreams and tried to study the architecture of them. Greetings in their country involve asking if the other person dreamed the night before. Asking about someone, they will ask if someone has been dreaming the past few days.

Her debut novel was released in the year 2018 and was called “Fruit of the Drunken Tree”. The book was inspired by events from Contreas’ own life. Her mother also hired a maid, when Ingrid was nine. The girl that was hired was only fourteen at the time, and the girl’s family was displaced due to war.

She has described the novel as being a tale of political conflict pushed upon the lives of children. It explores certain issues like privilege, luck, class, and gender, and dives into how females of all ages navigate harsh obstacles of powerlessness.

When she came to America, she was picked up by a woman from the Midwest with green and shrewd eyes. The woman was taking her to a friend’s house. The entire car ride, the woman had her eyes trained on Ingrid. Ingrid had never seen so much widespread wealth before.

There were some incredible houses, and she wanted to express some awe, but was aware that the woman had her eyes on her the whole time. So she was disinterested in the whole thing, which apparently is how she was supposed to react. The woman seemed like she was satisfied, and told her about another girl that she had driven, who was in awe over the nice houses. The green eyed woman wondered where the girl even came from, because they were just the regular houses, not even mansions.

Ingrid had to keep her words to herself, as where both she and the girl, was not something to share with the woman. It was a story meant for foreigners more. The woman, however, was part of the story and would be included whenever she would tell the story. She became a quintessential part of the experience of crossing the border as well as being caught between two different states of becoming.

She tries, like a lot of immigrants, to be a part of both worlds at the same time. Ingrid also tries to give context for where she comes from and who her family is, while in this country.

She feels that by writing in English, that she is losing sight of who her audience is. She begins feeling way too much like an encyclopedia, due to the fact that she is explaining too many things, and she gets lost. This is while she is trying to please Northerner’s desire to make sure everything is pinned down. She finds it is all worth it, when she is able to imagine her grandfather’s face and writes only to him and it is for him she is telling the story once again.

“Fruit of the Drunken Tree” is the first stand alone novel, which was released in the year 2018. In Bogota, the Santiago family lives in this gated community, where they are safe from all of the political problems that terrorizes the country. The protective bubble allows Chula (who is only seven years old) and Cassandra (who is Chula’s older sister) to live carefree.

The threat of car bombs, assassinations is right there, outside the walls of the neighborhood, where Pablo Escobar (the drug kingpin) is still eluding authorities and captures the nation’s attention.

Their mother hires a live in maid (who is named Petrona) who comes from the city’s slum (that the guerrillas occupy), Chula is on a mission to understand Petrona and all her mysterious ways. Petrona’s odd behavior suggest more than just some shyness. She is only a young woman and is falling apart under the strain of providing for her entire family, while at the same time, first love is pulling her in the other direction.

Both of their families are fighting to keep stability during the quickly escalating fight, and Chula and Petrona are both entangled in a secrecy web. It is going to force them to make a choice: betrayal or sacrifice.

The book is a worthwhile read that is thoroughly enjoyable all the way through. Fans of the novel found this to move and touch them quite a bit. It is a vivid and captivating tale, one involving coming of age; it focuses on two young females that are quite a bit different but share a connection. The author is able to break the reader’s heart. Readers were so engrossed by the story, they want to know what happened to the two women after the events of the novel.

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