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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It was Junior who introduced the phrase “Kool-Aid smile" when he cut a guy's
face so bad, from ear to ear, that he was left looking like the chubby, smiling
cartoon logo from Kool-Aid packets. Soon this term caught on and it became a
he said with his Sapo smile, showing all his teeth as he glued some razors to his
kite. “This neighborhood is beautiful, bro." “Yeah, you're right, pana," I said to him,
but knew I didn't mean it. I gave my kite to the wind, which took it with a hiss, ...
When he saw me he smiled, his big lips uncovering all his teeth. 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
... phone and when he saw Sapo and me he quickly smiled, cutoff the
conversation, hung up the phone, and motioned to me to take the seat in front of
him. Sapo sat on the dirty sofa and pulled out the Playboy. "Sapito, this is your
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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