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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He was strong, squatty, with a huge mouth framed by fatlips, freaking bembas
that could almost swallow you. His eyes bulged in their sockets and when he
laughed there was no denying the resemblance. It was like one huge, happy toad
I was happy with the name. Chino was a cool name, qué chévere. There were
many guys named Chino in East Harlem but it wasn't a name that was just given
to you. First, you had to look a bit Chinese, and second, you had to fight. It was an
He was happy, as if he had won some duel. “Let me tell you, bro, I always knew
you were gonna marry that girl. And that's all right cuz she's fine, but you got to
admit she's a bitch sometimes." His hand landed on my shoulder and he said, ...
He was happy that I was there, as if he wanted me to be part of some crew. I saw
Bodega scope me out and shake his head, as if he was disappointed. As if he
had expected someone else. “You a friend of Sapo, right?" He asked, knowing
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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