"Words are all we have to save us, but they are not enough to make us whole."

 

Gun Dealers' Daughter

© 2017 by Gina Apostol

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BOOKS

 

From Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sympathizer:

 

“Gina Apostol—a smart writer, a sharp critic, a keen intellectual—takes on the vexed relationship between the Philippines and the United States, pivoting on that relationship’s bloody origins. Insurrecto is meta-fictional, meta-cinematic, even meta-meta, plunging us into the vortex of memory, history, and war where we can feel what it means to be forgotten, and what it takes to be remembered.”   

Insurrecto

Soho Press

November 2018

Cover painting by BenCab

Publishers' Weekly's Best Books of 2018

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 Cortázar’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.

“Gina Apostol uses an array of literary and cinematic techniques: memoirs, jump cuts, close-ups, and reveries to set a story in Duterte’s Philippines that shows us that though victors often write histories, survivors and artists can revise them.” 

 

NPR's Weekend Edition with Scott Simon

Hardcover | $26.00 
Published by Soho Press
Nov 13, 2018 | 336 Pages | 5-1/2 x 8-1/4| ISBN 9781616959449

 
Gun Dealers' Daughter

W.W. Norton

2012

 

Winner of the 2013 PEN/Open Book Award

Shortlisted for the 2014 Saroyan International Prize

At university in Manila, young, bookish Soledad Soliman falls in with radical friends, defying her wealthy parents and their society crowd. Drawn in by two romantic young rebels, Sol initiates a conspiracy that quickly spirals out of control. Years later, far from her homeland, Sol reconstructs her fractured memories, writing a confession she hopes will be her salvation. Illuminating the dramatic history of the Marcos-era Philippines, this story of youthful passion is a tour de force.

Read reviews:

Los Angeles Review of Books

Publishers Weekly

Public Books

Shelf Awareness

American Book Review

Counterpunch

 
The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata

Anvil Publishing, Manila

2009

 

Winner of 2010 Philippine National Book Award 

Winner of 2010 Gintong Aklat (Golden Book) Award

 

Judges' Citation, Philippine National Book Award:


"Gina Apostol tells our revolutionary history – or fragments of our history – using a pastiche of writing from the academe, a diary, stories within stories, jokes, puns, allusions, a virtual firecracker of words. Her novel is fearlessly intellectual, anchored firmly on the
theories of Jacques Lacan. But it is also funny and witty as it picks – lice, nits, and all – on the hoaxes in our history. It affirms, if it still needs to be affirmed, the power of fiction to shape and reshape the gaps in the narratives of our history as a nation. The main character here is History, and its protagonist, Imagination. For
this audacious sword-play of a novel, the National Book Award is given to Gina Apostol’s The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata."

From Eric Gamalinda, author of My Sad Republic

 

Edward Said wrote that the role of the intellectual is to present alternative narratives on history than those provided by the ‘combatants’ who claim entitlement to official memory and national identity—who propagate ‘heroic anthems sung in order to sweep all before them.’ In this fearlessly intellectual novel, Gina Apostol takes on the keepers of official memory and creates a new, atonal anthem that defies single ownership and, in fact, can only be performed by the many—by multiple voices in multiple readings. We may never look at ourselves and our history the same way again.

Read an interview 
at Kritika Kultura here.
 
Read the Introduction here.

From John Barth, author of Sot-Weed Factor

 

Gina Apostol’s The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata weaves the complex tangle of Philppine history, literature, and languages (along with contemporary academic scholarship) into a brilliant tour de force of a novel. Brava!

Read Katigbak's complete review here.
Read Remoto's complete review here.
Bibliolepsy

University of the Philippines Press

1996

 

Winner of 1997 Philippine National Book Award

 

Primi Peregrino is a girl on a mission: she hunts for books and writers even as her country is falling to pieces. She prefers sex to rebellion and words to war as the EDSA rebellion of 1986 magically and unexpectedly unravels. Going through a diary of poets, from Sabado Gloria to Viernes Santo, she falls prey to her own delusions but remains true to her fantasy: that books will make her whole.

Danton Remoto on Bibliolepsy

Other people write tomes that would be better off as doorstops. In 160 pages, Gina Apostol serves up Manila in the Eighties, swift, Swiftian, sexy, and sad.

Luis Katigbak on Bibliolepsy

 

Bibliolepsy, despite all the couplings and uncouplings, is not a love story, or at least not a typical love story involving a man or a woman. It is, as the title implies, about an obsessive, overpowering love of books...For those of us who have gotten down on our hands and knees to thoroughly search bargain book bins...we will find our fervor echoed in the character of pale, biblioleptic Primi, and find Bibliolepsy a dizzyingly eloquent, slightly disturbing, but ultimately strangely comforting read.

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