Ernesto Quiñonez

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Ernesto Quiñonez
Born 1969 (age 45–46)
Occupation Novelist, professor
Nationality Ecuadorian, Puerto Rican, American
Genre Fiction, non-fiction, journalism
Notable works Bodega Dreams (2000)
Chango’s Fire (2004)

Ernesto Quiñonez (born 1969) is an American novelist. His work received the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers designation, the Borders Bookstore Original New Voice selection, and was declared a “Notable Book of the Year” by The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.


Quiñonez’s first novel, Bodega Dreams, was published in 2000. The New York Times declared it “a New Immigrant Classic”[1] and “a stark evocation of life in the projects of El Barrio...the story he tells has energy and nerve.”[2] Time Magazine announced that “Quiñonez knows this 'hood--readers may have to remind themselves that this is a work of fiction and not a memoir. His prose, detailed and passionate, brings the tale to life.” [3] The novel was chosen as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers title, as well as a Borders Bookstore Original New Voice selection. It was also named a “Notable book” by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.[4]

In Quiñonez’s second novel, Chango’s Fire, published in 2004, the protagonist, Julio Santana, is an intelligent high-school dropout who moonlights as an arsonist.[5]. The Washington Post declared that Chango’s Fire “succeeds in its rich characterizations of the people of the barrio, led by Julio, whose complexity and sensitivity carry the story.”[citation needed] The El Paso Times praised Quiñonez's “extraordinary ability to detail, and nurture, and then unveil complex emotions in his characters. For any reader who wants to believe in a difficult protagonist, and appreciate the reality of El Barrio beyond facile stereotypes, this book is essential.”[6] Kirkus Reviews criticized the characters and situations in Chango's Fire for lack of believability but hailed “Quiñonez's ingeniously detailed revelations of how people cheat and improvise, to survive in an impoverished and dangerous racist environment. This is an author who knows his material.”[5] Booklist heralded it as a “searing portrait of a community at the tipping point...Quiñonez ably illuminates the sordid politics of gentrification and the unexpected places new immigrants turn to for social and spiritual support.”[7]

Quiñonez has written for the New York Times.[8]


  • Bodega Dreams (2000)
  • Chango’s Fire (2004)


  • Ernesto Quiñonez, The White Baby, The New York Times, June 6, 2000
  • Ernesto Quiñonez, Dog Days, The New York Times Magazine, November 26, 2000
  • Ernesto Quiñonez, Counting The Ways, The New York Times Magazine, November 11, 2001
  • Ernesto Quiñonez, The Fires Last Time, The New York Times; December 18, 2005.
  • Ernesto Quiñonez, The Diaper Caper and Small Dog Scam, The New York Times, July 8, 2007
  • Ernesto Quiñonez, The Black and Brown Divide, Esquire, July 2008
  • Ernesto Quiñonez, Y Tu Black Mama, Tambien," Newsweek, June 12, 2003
  • Ernesto Quiñonez, Catcalling," Newsweek, August 14, 2003

Scholarly Engagement[edit]

  • Scholars continue to analyze Ernesto Quiñonez’s novels and their overarching themes of economic, cultural and political power.
  • "The postmodern ethnic condition in Ernesto Quiñónez’s Bodega Dreams," Domínguez, Barajas, Elias. Latino Studies, 2014, Volume 12, Issue 1, pg. 7–26.
  • The Fire Between Them: Religion & Gentrification In Ernesto Quinonez's Chango's Fire, Mendez, Susan C., CENTRO Journal, Spring 2011, Vol.23, Issue 1.
  • The Politics of Gentrification in Ernesto Quinonez's Novels, Moiles, Sean. Critique; 2011, Vol. 52 Issue 1.
  • Chapter 7: The Poetics of Aquí: Barriocentrism in Puerto Rican Diaspora Literature from Mean Streets to Neo- Noir, Dalia, Kandiyot, Migrant Sites, Dartmouth Press, 2010.
  • Reimagining the Ethnic Enclave: Gentrification, Rooted Cosmopolitanism, and Ernesto Quiñonez’s Chango’s Fire, Dwyer, June, MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the U.S., Volume 34, Number 2, Summer 2009.
  • On Bodega Dreams, Marwell, P. Nicole P., Sociological Forum, Volume 24, Issue 2, June 2009.
  • Chapter 7: Literary Tropicalizations of the Barrio: Ernesto Quiñonez's Bodega Dreams and Ed Vega's Mendoza's Dreams, Antonia Dominguez Miguela,Writiing Off the Hyphen: New Perspectives on the Literature of the Puerto Rican Diaspora, Editors, Jose L. Torres-Padilla, Carmen Haydee Rivera, University of Washington Press, 2008.
  • Chapter 13: Getting There and Back: The Road, the Journey, and Home in Nuyorican Diaspora Literature, Solimar Otero,Writiing Off the Hyphen: New Perspectives on the Literature of the Puerto Rican Diaspora,Editors, Jose L. Torres-Padilla, Carmen Haydee Rivera, University of Washington Press, 2008.
  • Ernesto Quiñonez’s Fiction Seen As A Picaresque Narrative, Ignacio Rodeño Iturriaga, CENTRO Journal, Volume: 20 Issue: 2, Fall 2008.
  • Barrio, Bodega, and Botanica Aesthetics: The Layered Traditions of the Latino Imaginary, Solimar Otero, Atlantic Studies, October 2007.
  • Chapter 2: The Meaning of Consuelo and Chango’s Fire, Profane & Sacred: Latino/a American Writers Reveal the Interplay of the Secular and the Religious, Bridget A. Kevane, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2007.
  • Chapter 2: Mercado Dreams: The End(s) of Sixties Nostalgia in Comptemporary Ghetto Fiction, The Latino/a Canon and the Emergence of Post-Sixties Literature, Raphael Dalleo, Elena Machado Saez, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
  • Chapter 8: The Fiction of Ernesto Quiñonez, Latino literature in America, Bridget A. Kevane, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003.
  • When Willie Met Gatsby: The Critical Implications of Ernesto Quiñonez's Bodega Dreams, Dwyer June, LIT: Literature, Interpretation, Theory 14.2, 2003.
  • Perchance to Dream: The Great Gatsby, Willie Bodega, and Other Related Topics." Jose L. Torres-Padilla. Book review of Bodega Dreams by Ernesto Quiñonez. Latino(a) Research Review, 5.2&3 (2002-2003): 157-59.

Further reading[edit]

  • Booklist, August, 2004, Frank Sennett, review of Chango's Fire, p. 1902.
  • Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2004, review of Chango's Fire, p. 772.
  • The Daily News, April 7, 2005, Carlos Cruz, Interview, Quinonez's Fire.
  • USA Today, Reviews, December 9, 2004, Carol Memmott, Review of Chango's Fire.
  • NOW, Toronto, Canada, October 22, 2004, Maria Amuchastegui, interview, Quinonez On Fire.
  • The Puerto Rico Herald, October 24, 2004, Mary Ann Grossmann, Interview, Latino Writers, Universal Themes.
  • The Independent, London, UK, November 26, 2000, Sue Steward, interview, Up Tempo at the Salsa Museum.
  • Library Journal, January 17, 2000, Lawrence Olszewski, review of Bodega Dreams, p. 42.
  • New York Times Book Review, March 12, 2000, Maud Casey, "Bad Influencia," p. 11.
  • Publishers Weekly, January 17, 2000, review of Bodega Dreams, p. 42; August 9, 2004, review of Chango's Fire, p. 228.
  • School Library Journal, September, 2000, Francisca Goldsmith, review of Bodega Dreams, p. 259.
  • Time, March 27, 2000, Desa Philadelphia, "Moving Up: A Debut about Upward Mobility, Lowdown Crime," p. 98.
  • Times Literary Supplement, November 3, 2000, Stephen Henighan, review of Bodega Dreams, p. 23.
  • El Pais, Spain, September 2, 2000, Isable Piquer, interview, Ernesto Quiñonez La Nueva Voz del Harlem Hispano,
  • The New York Times, March 15, 2000, Finn Robin, interview, Public Lives.
  • The Village Voice, April 15, 1999, Ed Morales, Interview, Writers on the Verge.


  1. ^
  2. ^ The New York Times
  3. ^ Time
  4. ^ Puerto Rico Herald
  5. ^ a b "Chango's Fire". Kirkus Reviews. August 15, 2004. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ The New York Times

External links[edit]