cover image La Tercera

La Tercera

Gina Apostol. Soho, $27 (480p) ISBN 978-1-64129-390-7

Apostol (Insurrecto) returns with a powerful multigenerational epic of the Philippines. In present-day New York City, Filipina American novelist Rosario Delgado reflects on the life of her late mother, Adina, an aspiring multimedia artist who resembled former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos. In the 1970s, Adina left her abusive husband in Los Angeles and returned with their children, Rosario and her younger brother, Adino, to her childhood village on the island of Leyte. There, as a seven-year-old who’d been raised in the U.S., Rosario has difficulty adjusting. She plays in her grandparents’ rambling old house and discovers journals written by her great-great-uncle Paco during the Philippine-American War of 1899–1902, revealing how he and Rosario’s great-grandfather Jote fought for independence from the U.S. In later years, Rosario returns from New York and learns that her mother, who is dying, may have been cheated out of a significant inheritance. In addition to the colonial history, Apostol adds scenes of Filipinos marching for democracy during the People Power Revolution in 1986 and making desperate calls to friends and relatives following Supertyphoon Yolanda in 2013. Snippets of Waray, Cebano, and Tagalog enrich a narrative that is by turns gossipy, harrowing, and serene. This is worthy of the modern classics of postcolonial literature. Agent: Kirby Kim, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (May)