State of War

State of War

by Ninotchka Rosca

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Author of the recent nonfiction Endgame: The Fall of Marcos, Filipino Rosca turns once again to her native country. The main thread of this story is squarely political, yet, tucked inside is a novel within a novel, a dreamy, allegorical history of the Philippines in which the ancestors of the three central characters Eliza Hansen, Adrian Banyaga and Anna Villaverde figure prominently. The trio of young people travel to the island of K to take part in an orgiastic festival. Each shows a different face of Manila: Adrian is the son of a leading family; Anna, a dissident scarred by recent torture; Eliza sells her favors to whichever political figure is in power. They are pursued by fanatical Colonel Amor (Anna's interrogator and Eliza's lover) who is intent on discovering the secret of Adrian's power connections. Meanwhile, Anna has met up with a terrorist group planning to bomb the festival; and Eliza is hoping to act as matchmaker between Anna and Adrian. The interlockng episodes culminate in a terrifying finale. One wishes Rosca had used less allegory and more realistic detail; often the unique situation in the Philippines is lost in her somewhat mannered style. Still, there is an erratic, Kafkaesque brilliance, an intensity that makes this first novel a powerful piece of literature. (May)
Library Journal - Library Journal
$17.95. f Rosca's first novel explains how the lives of three Philippino friends of mixed native, Malaysian, Chinese, and Caucasian ancestry have brought them to a raucous, politically explosive three-day festival. Through their intertwined genealogies, ``the land of the morning's'' history of rebellions is traced from the time of Spanish missionaries through American occupation (interrupted for Japanese occupation), and independence. Rosca tells the story in very simple language, intruding only to point out when a situation repeats from generation to generation. Her attempt to capture different periods of her country's history is so heroic that it seems caviling to point out that with a more intricate prose style, a reader could in fact remember the repititions unassisted. Ethan Bumas, Fudan Univ., Shanghai

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1st Fireside ed

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