Insurrecto

Insurrecto

Book - 2018
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"Histories and personalities collide in this literary tour-de-force about the Philippines' present and America's past by the PEN Open Book Award-winning author of Gun Dealer's Daughter. Two women, a Filipino translator and an American filmmaker, go on a road trip in Duterte's Philippines, collaborating and clashing in the writing of a film script about a massacre during the Philippine-American War. Chiara is working on a film about an incident in Balangiga, Samar, in 1901, when Filipino revolutionaries attacked an American garrison, and in retaliation American soldiers created "a howling wilderness" of the surrounding countryside. Magsalin reads Chiara's film script and writes her own version. Insurrecto contains within its dramatic action two rival scripts from the filmmaker and the translator -- one about a white photographer, the other about a Filipino schoolteacher. Within the spiraling voices and narrative layers of Insurrecto are stories of women -- artists, lovers, revolutionaries, daughters -- finding their way to their own truths and histories. Using interlocking voices and a kaleidoscopic structure, the novel is startlingly innovative, meditative, and playful. Insurrecto masterfully questions and twists narrative in the manner of Italo Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler, Julio Cortazar's Hopscotch, and Nabokov's Pale fire. Apostol pushes up against the limits of fiction in order to recover the atrocity in Balangiga, and in so doing, she shows us the dark heart of an untold and forgotten war that would shape the next century of Philippine and American history"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Soho,, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781616959449
Branch Call Number: F APO
Characteristics: 316 pages ; 22 cm

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krsbozo
May 03, 2019

This was one of the oddest and densest books I've read recently. The language was difficult for me, perhaps because it was translated? Or perhaps it was so far outside of my cultural milieu. At any rate, I had to work to understand what was going on at some points. In the end, I'm glad I stuck with it and read the whole thing. As part of this story, I learned about the American military killing hundreds of people in the Philippines after an insurrection in the 19th century. I had never heard about this tragedy. Why am I not surprised that our military would react with overwhelming force against a native population?

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lukasevansherman
Dec 03, 2018

"It is there country, sergeant. You only hold the keys."
A remarkable novel about war, history, art, memory, and the blur between fact, fiction, and memory. Filipino author Gina Apostol dives deep into her country's tangled history with the United States, which began when we liberated the island from Spain and then stayed on as occupiers (Sound familiar?). Has some similarities with another excellent book about war and memory, Nguyen's "The Sympathizer." A good book on the history of our intervention in the Philippines is "A War of Frontier and Empire: The Philippine-American War, 1899-1902." One of my favorite books of 2018.

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