On the streets of Spanish Harlem, Willie Bodega is king. Everyone in the neighborhood, it seems, owes a few favors to the drug-pusher turned community activist who provides most of the area's better housing, sends promising kids to college, and keeps the metaphoric trains running on time, but very few people recognize him when he walks the streets. With the help of his secretive lawyer, Nazario -- who runs Bodega's vast business interests with deadly cleverness and an unfailing flair for public relations -- Bodega has created a cult of personality that allows him maximum power while remaining hidden from modal eyes.The story unfolds as Chino, the narrator, a recently married college student, is trying to steer a cleaner path than the one chosen by his old best friend Sapo, a local thug who does some of Bodega's dirty work. But in spite of his higher ambition and his love and respect for his devout wife, Blanca, Chino soon finds himself in over his head, unable to extricate himself from the web of repaying favors and eye-for-an-eye capitalism that rules East Harlem.Called a snappy roman a clef by the Village Voice, Bodega Sold is written in the rhythmic, original language of the streets of New York, and announces the arrival of a writer of rare talent.
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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