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The Solemn Lantern Makerby Merlinda Bobis
Synopses & Reviews
From the award-winning author of Banana Heart Summer—“[a] wonderful debut…[that] resembles Sandra Cisneross The House on Mango Street and is destined to be a hit among book club members”*—comes a wondrous tale of hope, secrets, and family devotion.
Its six days until Christmas, and on the bustling streets of Manila a mute ten-year-old boy sells his version of the stars: exquisite lanterns handmade with colorful paper. But everything changes for young Noland when he witnesses an American tourist injured in a drive-by shooting of a journalist and imagines hes seen an angel falling from the sky. When Noland whisks her to the safety of the hut he shares with his mother, the magical and the real collide: shimmering lanterns and poverty, Christmas carols and loss, dreams of friendship and the global war on terror. While the story of the missing tourist grips the media, Noland and his mother care for their wounded guest, and a dark memory returns. But light sneaks in—and their lives are transformed by the power of love.
*Library Journal ( starred review, “Editors Pick”)
"Pornography and prostitution, the fear of terrorism, desperate attempts to make a fast buck, social status and cross-cultural differences are all part of the equation in Philippine native Bobis's second novel (after Banana Heart Summer). Manila's grim poverty is examined through the innocent eyes of Noland, a mute 10-year-old boy who sells beautiful paper lanterns on the street. The story begins with Noland and his friend Elvis competing for sales during the Christmas season. Their world changes when one evening a politically motivated drive-by shooting injures a young, beautiful American woman. Noland, inclined to fantasy, sees her as an angel and brings her to his home made of scraps, which nonetheless is magical, papered with pictures of stars and angels. His mother is furious: 'Ay, ay, you good-for-nothing kids, always picking up trouble....' While the outside world searches for the missing tourist, a transformation is taking place inside the shack. Sparse poetic style and Bobis's strong feeling for Philippine culture and the dialect of Manila's poor lends a fable-like charm to the story, but there are too many worthy issues, none fully addressed." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
From the award-winning author of "Banana Heart Summer" comes a wondrous tale of hope, secrets, and family devotion in a season of miracles.
About the Author
Merlinda Bobis has received numerous awards, prizes and fellowships for her fiction, poetry and plays, among them the Prix Italia for Ritas Lullaby, the Steel Rudd Award for the Best Published Collection of Australian Short Stories, the Judges Choice Award (Bumbershoot Bookfair, Seattle Arts Festival) and the Philippine National Book Award for White Turtle, or The Kissing, and the Philippine Balagtas Award, a lifetime achievement award for her fiction and poetry in English, Pilipino and Bicol. Her plays have been performed in Australia, the Philippines, France, China, Thailand and the Slovak Republic. Banana Heart Summer is her first novel; its Australian edition was short-listed for the Australian Literary Society Gold Medal. Her second novel, The Solemn Lantern Maker, will be released in the U.S. in 2009. As a performer for stage and radio, Merlinda works with artists from various genres. She lives in Australia where she teaches creative writing.
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