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The man who lit 'Chango's Fire'
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Ernesto Quinonez says his book "Chango's Fire" is a protest novel. He says it's important to protect working class neighborhoods and maintain them as affordable places for immigrants to stay. (Image courtesy Harper Collins (Photographer Geyna Turovsky))

St. Paul, Minn. — Julio Santana is an arsonist --- and the hero of Ernesto Quinonez's new novel "Chango's Fire."

Julio burns down buildings in New York's Spanish Harlem neighborhood. He gets his money from the building's owners, who cash in their insurance. His criminal activities aside, Julio is a community-minded kind of guy. He's good to his family and friends, and spends a lot of time fixing up his own place.

Quinonez says "Chango's Fire" is a protest novel of a kind, pointing out the downside to gentrification. To listen to his interview with MPR's Euan Kerr, choose the audio link in the right column.

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