In a stunning narrative combining the gritty rhythms of Junot Diaz with the noir genius of Walter Mosley, Bodega Dreams pulls us into Spanish Harlem, where the word is out: Willie Bodega is king. Need college tuition for your daughter? Start-up funds for your fruit stand? Bodega can help. He gives everyone a leg up, in exchange only for loyalty--and a steady income from the drugs he pushes.
Lyrical, inspired, and darkly funny, this powerful debut novel brilliantly evokes the trial of Chino, a smart, promising young man to whom Bodega turns for a favor. Chino is drawn to Bodega's street-smart idealism, but soon finds himself over his head, navigating an underworld of switchblade tempers, turncoat morality, and murder.
"Bodega is a fascinating character. . . . The story [Quiñonez] tells has energy and verve." --The New York Times Book Review
"Rich with eye-opening detail, [this is] a lively and entertaining work by a young writer whose talents are deserving of a wide readership." --Oscar Hijuelos, author of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
"A new and authentic voice of the urban Latino experience." --Esmeralda Santiago, author of When I Was Puerto Rican
"[Quiñonez's] ideas for using fiction to galvanize the city into confronting poverty are invigorating. . . . Blend[s] street-smart dialogue, culturally relevant prose, and progressive politics into a noir thriller with literary merit." --Time Out New York
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This gave me hope , and getting a name seemed possible . So I decided that I no
longer wanted to be called by the name my parents had given me , Julio . I
wanted a name like Sapo had and so I looked for fights . It was always easy to get
Bodega was a lost relic from a time when all things seemed possible . When
young people cared about social change . He had somehow brought that hope to
my time . It was hard to define it at first because I thought no one could possibly ...
Nazario would lead , leaving Bodega to take all the hits , absorb the stigma ,
because of what he was . It would be Bodega and the likes of Sapo who would
have the skeletons in the closet , all so Nazario could help create new hope for
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - BtB_Library - LibraryThing
Bodega Dreams features really well-written, sympathetic characters living in Spanish Harlem. With a gripping, detailed portrayal of the neighborhood and a fast moving plot that's very easy to get ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - marciathing - LibraryThing
The books by Ernesto Quinonez were my first introduction to Spanish Harlem. Thanks to my Midwestern existence, and even to some years in S. Texas, I had never known this place existed. Both his novels are fantastic and engrossing. I'm looking forward to more. Read full review