Dusk (Modern Library Series)

( 6 )

Overview

With Dusk (originally published in the Philippines as Po-on), F. Sionil Jose begins his five-novel Rosales Saga, which the poet and critic Ricaredo Demetillo called "the first great Filipino novels written in English." Set in the 1880s, Dusk records the exile of a tenant family from its village and the new life it attempts to make in the small town of Rosales. Here commences the epic tale of a family unwillingly thrown into the turmoil of history. But this is more than a historical novel; it is also the eternal ...
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Dusk: A Novel

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Overview

With Dusk (originally published in the Philippines as Po-on), F. Sionil Jose begins his five-novel Rosales Saga, which the poet and critic Ricaredo Demetillo called "the first great Filipino novels written in English." Set in the 1880s, Dusk records the exile of a tenant family from its village and the new life it attempts to make in the small town of Rosales. Here commences the epic tale of a family unwillingly thrown into the turmoil of history. But this is more than a historical novel; it is also the eternal story of man's tortured search for true faith and the larger meaning of existence. Jose has achieved a fiction of extraordinary scope and passion, a book as meaningful to Philippine literature as One Hundred Years of Solitude is to Latin American literature.

"The foremost Filipino novelist in English, his novels deserve a much wider readership than the Philippines can offer."--Ian Buruma, New York Review of Books

"Tolstoy himself, not to mention Italo Svevo, would envy the author of this story."--Chicago Tribune

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Editorial Reviews

Time
One of the [Philippines'] most distinguished men of letters.
Le Monde
The literary work of Jose is inseparable from the modern politics and history of the Philippines.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Tapping a mostly unknown chapter in American history, Jose, one of the Philippines' most prominent authors, has created a vivid chronicle of Filipino life on the eve of the Spanish-American War. Set in the deep Filipino countryside in an area penetrated only by the Catholic church, the novel charts the fortunes of Istak, a member of the Ilokono tribe who trained as an acolyte under a kind priest. Able to speak Spanish and Latin and more comfortable writing than farming, Istak finds himself distanced from his family's simple village life. Driven off their land, Istak's family is beset on all sides, traveling across unknown territory and under attack by other tribes and Spanish soldiers. Istak's emerging political awareness coincides with the invasion of the Philippines by American forces, and he finds that his educated status obliges him to play a role in this conflict as well. Jose recalls Gabriel Garca Marquez in his concern for the effects of national politics on peasant life, though this book doesn't match Marquez for character sophistication or verbal acrobatics. Readers unfamiliar with the history of the region may wish for more background on the prevailing political conditionswhich are probably well known to the book's original audience. Jose also never provides much insight into the "enemy"either the church or the invading Americans. Still, this novel is a solid introduction to one of Southeast Asia's most respected voices. FYI: Jose is editor and publisher of the literary journal 'Solidarity', as well as founding president of the Philippines PEN center. "Dusk" is part of his five-part 'Rosales' saga. A previous novel, "Sins", was also published in America by Random House.
Library Journal
"Dusk" demonstrates why many claim that Jose ("Sins", LJ 4/1/96) could be the first Filipino writer to win a Nobel prize. The opening work of a five-novel series, the "Rosales Saga", it lures readers into its 19th-century setting in the Philippines and soon introduces Istak and his family as they flee from their home in Ilokos and try to regain even a meager existence in another region, Pangasinan. Jose says he examined Filipino history in this novel to give the "little people'a nobler image of themselves." He achieves that aim, especially with the unforgettable and admirable Istak. Jos also succeeds in personalizing his nation's attempt to shrug off the deleterious effects of Spanish colonialism only to face an equally unattractive foeAmerican imperialism. One only hopes that the publisher does not linger long in its plans to issue the entire "Rosales Saga." Highly recommended. Faye A. Chadwell, Univ. of Oregon Lib. System, Eugene
Kirkus Reviews
From Filipino writer Jose, the first novel in the acclaimed 'Rosales Saga' makes its American debut. Chronicling a century of Philippine history as experienced by one family, the story begins in the late 1800s as, in response to a growing indigenous revolutionary movement, the ruling Spanish increase their oppression. And it ends as American forces, after ousting Spain from Cuba in 1898, battle Philippine rebels who want to establish a government independent of American suzerainty. Jos‚ is one of those writers for whom sociopolitical message—here, the sorry record of injustice—is as important as purely literary concerns. This means that character and plot are shaped by issues, not just imagination. The hero is Istak, a would-be seminarian who's expelled from the church when he happens upon the new priest making love to a young parishioner. The priest insists further that Istak's family leave the lands they have farmed, and when Istak's father Ba-ac, who had been brutally maimed by this same priest, murders him, the family must find new lands as well as elude the pursuing Spanish authorities. Istak, torn between his faith and the cruelty he witnessesþa young girl is raped, and his brother is killed by the authorities—becomes the family's leader as they trek into remote areas in search of a new home. Eventually, they find sanctuary: Istak marries happily, becoming a farmer and a noted healer. But now, though the Spanish have left, the country is at war with America, and Istak the pacifist finds himself fighting on the rebel sideþbecause he believes in a free and united Philippine nation. Death in battle is inevitable. The obvious political agenda overwhelmsthe narrative, but Jose's luminous evocations of the land and the life are fair compensations.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375751448
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/1/1998
  • Series: Modern Library Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 788,036
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2014

    Dusk Shadow's bio

    Name: Dusk Shadow<br>
    Nickname: Dusk<br>
    Species: pegasus<br>
    Coat: dark cobalt blue<br>
    Mane/tail: black and dark purple, RD style<br>
    Wings: same as mane and tail<br>
    CM: a setting sun, with three stars around it<br>
    Likes: fencing, writing, drawing, Pokemon, Ninjago, Sylestia<br>
    Friends: everypony!<br>
    Other: ask

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  • Posted October 7, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Very interesting vantage point...

    A great novel deserving more exposure. This author is a genius of lyrical simplicity. His words are both accessible yet never boring - a must read for anyone interested in an interesting perspective of a time when American Imperialism first broke through.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2008

    The Great Filipino Novel

    Taken with all the other novels comprising the Rosales Saga, 'DUSK' is, by all standards of greatness, the most grounded and socially relevant piece of literature that the Philippines has produced. It is a story of the Filipino's virtues and his foibles --- how he is poor, but never in spirit and an allegory of his journey for truth and redemption in the beautiful yet blighted land that is the Philippines. Full of truth, humanity, and yes --- compassion, --- this book is a feast of the printed word. This is the Great Filipino Novel written by a great novelist who is an even greater Filipino.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2001

    UNPARALLELED....

    A must read for everyone who is interested in colonialism. Easy read yet cuts deep into your soul. Writer is one of a kind...extremely high caliber.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2001

    darkness of life

    a very vivid representation of earlier filipino society filled with social conflicts and struggles. as one extended family moved from a province to another, they discovered that amidst the turmoil of social class distinctions, there are still those who would risk their life to help others. istak, the main character, was an educated acolyte, and the novel shows the painful and lethal consequences he paid for being one. jose also related the title 'dusk' to LIFE itself, that we begin life from darkness, and sooner or later that's where we're headed to. but after you read the novel, you will be the one to judge if such thought is justified. i have finished the rest of the rosales saga. it was great!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2001

    praises! praises! praises!

    Mr. Jose is one man who could write with great intricacy about the lives of the filipinos during the turbulent days. His prose is subtle and marks a great sovereignty, which clearly marks that he uses the english language with great intricacy and use it with fine distinction.

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