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.
It was easy to be big and bad when you hated your life and felt meaningless. You
lived in projects with pissed-up elevators, junkies on the stairs, posters of the
rapist of the month, and whores you never knew were whores until 4 t R N t 5 To ...
the month, and whores you never knew were whores until you saw men go in
and out of their apartments like through revolving doors. You lived in a place
where vacant lots grew like wild grass does in Kansas. Kansas? What does a kid
As for history, we knew more about Italy than our own Latin American countries.
To Mr. Varatollo, the social studies teacher, everything was Italy this, Italy that,
Italy, Italy, Italy. Didn'the know the history of the neighborhood? Hadn'the ever
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.
Like a guy I knew named Junior, of 109th and Madison. Junior not only carried a
knife, a jiga, in his backpocket, he had ... knew that 80 percent of it was just for
show, puro aguaje. The other 20 percent you hoped would never come your way.
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