Before the Rain: A Memoir of Love and Revolution

Luisita Lopez Torregrosa. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25 (240p) ISBN 978-0547669205
A friendship between two journalists covering the Philippines Revolution of 1986 deepens into a passionate, far-flung love affair in this serenely capable work by Lopez Torregrosa (The Noise of Infinite Longing). The two women were first colleagues at a Manhattan newspaper office: the Puerto Rico–born author was an editor at the New York Times, a refugee from a “dead relationship” in the suburbs who moved to her friend Tim’s house in a “seedy” neighborhood of the city; while Elizabeth (then known as Blake) was the newbie reporter in the office, sharp, diffident, a loner, and separating from her husband. A position for South Asia correspondent opened up, and Elizabeth took it, just as the presidential election campaign of Ferdinand Marcos and Corazon Aquino heated up. Tentatively the two writers grew closer over correspondence; the author arrived for a four-week vacation in Manila, sealing her resolve to leave her job at the newspaper, move to Manila to be with Elizabeth, and try to write a book, as Elizabeth has encouraged her. Indeed, over seven years amid tumultuous travels, journalistic assignments, and housekeeping from New York to Tokyo, their relationship charged their writerly ambition with passionate purpose, yet the long separations eventually took a lonely toll. Moreover, as Lopez Torregrosa fashions in her oblique and beautiful fashion, the two women could never really acknowledge their love publicly, underscoring a sad truth to this memorable work. Agent: Kathy Robbins. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2012
Release date: 08/07/2012
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Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-547-66923-6
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