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The Umbrella Countryby Bino A. Realuyo
Synopses & Reviews
Certain things are better kept than said. . . .
But certain things you have to find out now. . . .
On the tumultuous streets of Manila, where the earth is as brownas a tamarind leaf and the pungent smells of vinegar and mashed peppers fill the air, where seasons shift between scorching sun and torrential rain, eleven-year-old Gringo strives to make sense of his family and a worldthat is growing increasingly harsher before his young eyes.
There is Gringo's older brother, Pipo, wise beyond his years, a flamboyant, defiant youth and the three-time winner of the sequined MissUnibers contest; Daddy Groovie, whiling away his days with other hang-about men, out of work and wilting like a guava, clinging to the hope of someday joining his sister in Nuyork; Gringo's mother, Estrella, moving throughtheir ramshackle home, holding her emotions tight as a fist, which she often clenches in anger after curfew covers the neighborhood in a burst of dark; and Ninang Rola, wise godmother of words, who confides in Gringo ashocking secret from the past--and sets the stage for the profound events to come, in which no one will remain untouched by the jagged pieces of a shattered dream.
As Gringo learns; shame is passed downthrough generations, but so is the life-changing power of blood ties and enduring love.
In this lush, richly poetic novel of grinding hardship and resilient triumph, of selfless sacrifice and searingrevelation, Bino A. Realuyo brings the teeming world of 1970s Manila brilliantly to life. While mapping a young boy's awakening to adulthood in dazzling often unexpected ways, The Umbrella Country subtly works sweetmagic.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
A poor, eleven-year-old boy named Gringo contends with his older brother's transvestism, his father's unemployment, his mother's anger, and his godmother's shame as he dreams of a better world on the streets of Manila in the 1970s. Reprint.
About the Author
Born and raised in Manila, Bino A. Realuyo studied International Relations in the United States and South America. He has also completed a poetry collection, In Spite of Open Eyes, and is currently editing The NuyorAsian Anthology, a collection of Asian American writings about New York City. He is published widely in literary journals and anthologies both in the United States and the Philippines, including The Kenyon Review, Manoa, New Letters, The Literary Review, and Likhaan: Best of Philippine Poetry.
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