Your favorite novel written by a Filipino

noid's picture
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...in any language, of course. :)


Pinoy "Classics"

Bulaklak ng Maynila by Domingo Landicho - amidst the bitter past endured by Ada she was still able to stand up from her fall and pick up her shattered pieces - it just proves that a woman can still empower herself no matter what.

Maynila - Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag by Edgardo Reyes - i love it because i hate the ending.  it was an eye openner for me.  i was angered by the ending and it openned my mind to the harsh reality of life.  i used to believe that life is like a fairy tale... in time we will all fulfill a happy ending... but that's not true at all times...  kaya nga may comedy, tragedy and melodrama.

Dekada 70 by Lualhati Bautista - i was moved with the unity of the family at a time when our country is facing probably one of her worst crisis: Martial Law.  When I read the novel, I imagined myself being their mother, a wife and a sister (that they never had except for their in laws).  The mere thought of seeing myself suffering the same fate made my heart stop beating for a few seconds. 

the FACT

there's something about female writers...

Dekada 70 by Lualhati Bautista

and

The Hand of the Enemy by Kerima Polotan

maybe it's just coincidence that these novels were written by women.  there's just something so addicting with their sensitivity and verisimilitude...it's quite eerie actually especially if you're "in the zone" when reading it... 

Biyaheng Pinas

F. Siniol Jose's Viajero. Magaling ang pagkakwento. He made facts and fiction blend smoothly together that you are left re-thinking of the Philippine history. And as always, it is heaving with social and moral value.

Smaller and smaller circle

Smaller and Smaller Circles by F.H. Batacan - is my favorite book so far.. it's a thriller/detective story about a mass murderer. The setting was in Payatas.

I think this book won the Palanca Awards also.

writer's disability [?]

I have a big problem with this book. Although the sequence is well-crafted, and the prose is good I can't divorce it from a book I've read prior: The Alienist [by Caleb Carr, published 1994] If you can get a copy & read it, I think it'll burst your bubble. The similarities are unmistakable, it's there. All over.

I've had the same problem as a writer, but was able to deviate from it. It's one thing to be influenced by another's work, & it's another to pattern your work after someone else's & think you can get away with it by simply changing, say, the setting, the character's profession, the antagonist's background and retaining the attributes & the theme & sequence of the supposed influence.

I don't mean to detract the author, it's just that I happen to have read The Alienist & the semblance is disturbing.

noid's picture

Originality

Hi dtn. I also read The Alienist before reading Smaller and Smaller Circles, and when I read the latter, I was also reminded of the former. I can't say that I found it disturbing, but my unconscious reaction I guess was that it could have been a better novel if it were entirely original, although of course the concept of 'originality' is debatable. What consitutes originality? Is there really an original idea?

During one of F.H. Batacan's -- we called her Ichi in our M.A. Creative Writing class -- trips back here in the Philippines (she works in Singapore), she gave a talk at the UP Press Bookstore at the Balay Kalinaw, and I was able to talk to her and ask her which detective authors and books she read, and one of the authors she mentioned was Caleb Carr, the author of The Alienist. Oh, I told her, that's why Smaller reminded me of The Alienist. So I guess she doesn't hide the fact that The Alienist is one of her influences.

But going back to whether Smaller is a rip-off (or at least a partial one) is up for discussion. I guess it's up to the reader to decide. In my case, I can just share with you my experience reading the book. First, I was pleased that although the novel was a bit derivative of The Alienist, here was a detective/mystery novel, and a forensic crime novel at that, set in the Philippines -- something very hard to pull off in this setting because as we all know, we are really not that sophisticated when it comes to the technological and scientific aspects of crime detection much less in terms of criminal procedure (this is hardly CSI Philippines). Just read the newspaper accounts of crime and/or the Supreme Court decisions of the last two decades or so, and you'll get the idea. The great thing about Smaller is that the author was able to not just take into account this reality but, better yet, incorporate it in her novel.

Then, although, the trajectory or structure of Smaller is similar to The Alienist, the main premise, is at least different. In The Alienist, the theme, if my memory serves me right, revolved around the debate between nature and nurture, whether criminals are born or created. In Smaller, I think this motif is secondary (I think the novel has implicitly decided that criminals are created). What is primary in Smaller is the idea that there are serial killers in the Philippines, and we're not just aware because no one is keeping tabs and also because of the aformentioned lack of scientific means. Again, as you can see, the nuance is in informing the novel with Philippine realities. 

So I guess, in conclusion, you can say that although Smaller and Smaller is derivative of The Alienist, it is at the same time original and/or ingenious in the sense that it was able to employ Philippine realities as plot and story material.

GAPO! luwalhati

GAPO! luwalhati bautista.. 

"hinahangin ang talulot na malaya, mula sa bulaklak na sinta hanggang sa matabang lupa.. siya ay ligaya, musa ng pagkadakila.."

DESAPARESIDOS ni Lualhati

DESAPARESIDOS ni Lualhati Bautista at kahit may nagbanggit na kasama pa rin ang DEKADA 70 at GAPO

greatest novel written by a Filipino

The Hand of the Enemy by Kerima Polotan Tuvera. She has something to say and she says it very well.

I read the Mass of the Death

I read the Mass of the Death of an Enemy written by Renato Madrid. It's awesome if only novelist like him will write some more, or at least reprint his works. Anyone has read or seen the Devilwings by this same author?! I've been trying to find this book without any success.

Not The Usual Suspect

Without Seeing The Dawn by Stevan Javellana is my favorite Pinoy novel. 

This book is the usual required reading in some high schools and colleges, but the professors always seem to fail in making it more interesting for the student.  It's quite easy for the novice adolescent reader to disregard the book as less relevant to their lives compared to the Harry Potter or Twilight Series.  This is regrettable, since Without Seeing The Dawn has even more terrors and truthfulness to it than any Twilight book, and holds more fascinating secrets than any Harry Potter twist.  

I just hope that this novel gets more recognition as one of the precursors of the modern Pinoy "tragedies" from Edgardo Reyes, et al.   

about dead stars by paz marquez benitez

is there anyone here who knows some filipino writers who criticized dead stars by paz marquez benitez? please help me with my problem. I'm always googling it but i still did not get the right results. hope you guys help me.

Allanjohn Andres's picture

"Tutubi... Tutubi..." ni Jun

"Tutubi... Tutubi..." ni Jun Cruz Reyes; "Noli Me Tangere" -- kaso di ko maalala kung sino 'yong author nitong huli.

Tantizm's picture

  Sa Mga kuko ng Liwanag ni

 

Sa Mga kuko ng Liwanag ni Edgardo M. Reyes

Sumasalamin ito sa tunay na kulay ng buhay ng mga obrero sa bansa.

Kailangan pang makipagsapalaran ni Julio upang hanapin si Ligaya na kanyang sinisinta. Sa kasalukuyan ang bagong Julio ay kumakatawan sa mga OFW ng ating bansa na naghahanap ng Ligaya sa banyagang lupain upang iligtas ang naghihikahos na bansa mula sa mga ganid na linta sa lipunan na naghahasik ng kahirapan sa isang Sunog Apo.