Bodega Dreams

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Serpent's Tail, 2000 - Harlem (New York, N.Y.) - 213 pages
Hot town, summer in the city. This brilliantly entertaining novel - has it all: cracking dialogue, fast-paced plot, broken hearts and broken dreams, love and passion, betrayal and murder, and extraordinarily vivid characters: Sapo - who bites ( Whass close to my mouth is mine by right and my teeth ain t no fucken pawn-shop ); Chino - trying to get through college and out of the ghetto; Blanca - not allowed to wear jeans but makes up for it with tight, short skirts; Vera - with her dyed blonde hair she could almost be some middle-age Anglo woman with a taste for shopping on Fifth Avenue; Nene - who speaks in song titles ( You know me, I m just a soul whose intentions are good ); and Willie Bodega - the mover and shaker, king of Spanish Harlem.

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