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Posted December 6, 2008
An Audacious Story of Courage, Endurance, and Hope
"You see, this is what those in power would like to have, our memories. I am memory," explains a knife-sharpener to Doming in Baby Jesus Pawn Shop. Lucia Orth's debut novel is a stunning and audacious novel about betrayal and courage, complicity and resistance, endurance and hope.<BR/><BR/>Baby Jesus is an exceptional story about a group of people living through the repressive and corrupt Ferdinand Marcos regime in the Philippines, a regime supported by the U.S. government's interests in the resources of the island. What sustains the central characters are their memories, visions, and great love of a Philippines worth dying for.<BR/><BR/>Doming Aquinaldo, who was forced to give up his university studies after his father's murder by the Marcos regime, is a driver for Trace and Rue Caldwell, a couple from the U.S. As Rue awakens to the reality of her husband's support for the oppressive Marcos government, Doming finds himself drawn in to an attempt to overthrow the Marcos regime in order to pave the way for the return of Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino and his promise of a liberated Philippines. Other characters in the novel, including a reporter, a maid, and the owner of the Baby Jesus pawn shop, also depict these circumstances with a well-written realism.<BR/><BR/>The result is a suspenseful chain of events which are both heartbreaking in their portrayals of cooperation with government brutality and shining with instances of extraordinary bravery. Baby Jesus Pawn Shop is a superb and finely-crafted novel, authentically told, and reminiscent of the international politics and ordinary lives depicted in such films as Syriana, Traffic, and Men with Guns.<BR/><BR/>Julia Good Fox
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