Insurrecto

Insurrecto Review

Histories and personalities collide in this literary tour-de-force about the Philippines' present and America's past by the PEN Open Book Award–winning author of Gun Dealer's Daughter.

Two women, a Filipino translator and an American filmmaker, go on a road trip in Duterte’s Philippines, collaborating and clashing in the writing of a film script about a massacre during the Philippine-American War. Chiara is working on a film about an incident in Balangiga, Samar, in 1901, when Filipino revolutionaries attacked an American garrison, and in retaliation American soldiers created “a howling wilderness” of the surrounding countryside. Magsalin reads Chiara’s film script and writes her own version. Insurrecto contains within its dramatic action two rival scripts from the filmmaker and the translator—one about a white photographer, the other about a Filipino schoolteacher.

Within the spiraling voices and narrative layers of Insurrecto are stories of women—artists, lovers, revolutionaries, daughters—finding their way to their own truths and histories. Using interlocking voices and a kaleidoscopic structure, the novel is startlingly innovative, meditative, and playful. Insurrecto masterfully questions and twists narrative in the manner of Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch, and Nabokov’s Pale Fire. Apostol pushes up against the limits of fiction in order to recover the atrocity in Balangiga, and in so doing, she shows us the dark heart of an untold and forgotten war that would shape the next century of Philippine and American history.

Title:Insurrecto
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Marchpane

    Kaleidoscopic metafiction in the PhilippinesTowards the beginning of Insurrecto there is a reference to Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, an early 20th century artwork inspired by stop-motion p...

  • Lark Benobi

    Insurrecto gives me faith that the root meaning of 'novel', nouvelle, something new—will continue to be true for a long time to come. Every sentence here was a revelation. Manila—so perfectly capt...

  • Jaclyn Crupi

    How far can you push a labyrinthine meta-fictional, meta-cinematic novel complete with linked film scripts that takes on US imperialism and the troubled Philippine–American relationship and history?...

  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)

    I found the audiobook of this on Hoopla, but the narrative of this book is complex so I would recommend reading a hard copy if one is available to you. This is a multi-layered story about two women tr...

  • Gabe

    One of the best novels of the year....

  • Eugene

    A polymath's lyricism is woven with post-colonial tristesse. A deft and labyrinthine depiction of our helpless condition of ever-revolving insurrection, Gina Apostol has created an elegant mise en aby...

  • Paris (parisperusing)

    Initial thoughts: Girl, bye.Well. This was definitely not the book I believed it was going to be. Gina Apostol’s Insurrecto, a novel of two women — one a translator, the other a filmmaker — fore...

  • Nadine

    This is one of those books you want to start again immediately after finishing it - there is so much going on on so many levels I know my brain didn't pick it all up. It's a kaleidoscope of stories wi...

  • Collin

    This is an amazing, skilfully written book. Apostol uses repetition, alliteration, multiple perspectives, and shifts the narrative back and forth in time, all to wonderful effect. In fact, after finis...

  • Miranda Hency

    So complex and mind-boggling and incredibly meta, but so so worth it at the end. ...