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.
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... when he laughed there was no denying the resemblance. It was like one huge,
happy toad laughing right in front of you. As far back as I could remember Sapo
had always been called Sapo and no one called him by his real name, Enrique.
If anyone called you by your real name you were un mamao, a useless,
meaningless thing. It meant that you hadn't proved yourself, it was open season
for anybody who wanted to kick your ass. It was Sapo who taught me that it didn't
matter if ...
To us she was always “that bitch.” But we knew she cared, for the simple reason
that she never called us names; she would yell but never call us names. She only
wanted us to listen, and when we did well on her math tests she was all smiles.
It was an honor to be called Chino. But there were other honorable names in the
neighborhood. Indio, if you had straightblack hair, tan skin, and looked like a
Taino; Batuka, if you liked Santana music and played the congas real good; ...
She was intelligent, polite, and friendly, and since she never cursed everyone
called her Blanca. Blanca wasn't allowed to wear jeans but she made up for it by
wearing tight, short skirts. She always carried a Bible with her and never talked ...
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