Insurrecto by Gina Apostol

Insurrecto

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 ...


Details Insurrecto

TitleInsurrecto
ISBN9781616959449
Author
Release DateNov 13th, 2018
PublisherSoho Press
LanguageEnglish
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Cultural, Asia, Literary Fiction, Contemporary
Rating

Reviews Insurrecto

  • Lark Benobi
    2018-12-31
    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 captured. The strange, very strange layer of popular American culture that paints itself over the Philippines—perfect. The strange, very strange way that Tagalog becomes the language of choice for ‘strange’ in English-language movies set in far-off...
  • Marchpane
    2018-11-18
    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 photography, which depicts a figure in motion using overlapping abstract forms. This is a clue (one of many) to the book’s approach: if Insurrecto was a painting it would be a cubist one, the narrative broken apart and reassembled in highly stylised...
  • Katia N
    2019-08-06
    This novel reminded me Möbius strip. Reality flips into fiction and back without noticeable stitches. There is multitude of historical times and narratives spliced within its canvas. Everything doubles in the novel. The first part deals with the Philippines immersion into certain elements of the American popular culture. It shows how subtle the colonial influence could be; how the culture is appropriated notwithstanding the politics. Then, the c...
  • Tommi
    2019-07-21
    [4.5] Insurrecto puzzled, taught, entertained, and amazed me, its labyrinthine structure ensuring my engagement from the beginning to the end (the feeling of “at what point is anything going to make any sense?” persisting throughout). It’s maybe a tad too meta for a pure 5-star rating, but I still adore Apostol’s novel a lot. Feminist to the core, unabashedly literary, and illuminating a period of history I knew too little about (the Phil...
  • Paris (parisperusing)
    2018-12-13
    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 — forever bumping heads as they scribe the infamous and continuous brutalities of the Philippine-American War, had a promising foundation but was marred by the hands of its own creator.Getting through the first 50 pages of Apostol’s writing was, in itsel...
  • Jaclyn Crupi
    2019-01-29
    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? Exactly this far. Loved it. Reminded me of THE SYMPATHIZER but was even more dizzying. I’m happy to work for my fiction if it’s this good.
  • Gabe
    2018-08-01
    One of the best novels of the year.
  • Eugene
    2018-09-07
    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 abyme wherein the colonizer and the colonized reflect themselves over and over and yet over again._________________i found this site quite helpful : https://www.praxino.org/chapters-in-n...and https://www.praxino.org/album-of-ster..._________________pos...
  • Paul Fulcher
    2019-07-27
    At times, she feels discomfort over matters she knows nothing about, and Magsalin hears rising up in her that quaver which readers have, as if the artist should be holding her hand as she is walked through the story. But she rides the wave, she checks herself.A reader does not need to know everything.How many times has she waded into someone else’s history, say the mysteries of lemon soap and Irish pubs in Dedalus’s Dublin, or the Decemberis...
  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    2018-12-06
    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 traveling in the Philippines-a young American filmmaker and a translator. A central theme of the book is grief. Both women are dealing with personal grief, but there is also an examination of cultural/social grief in the face of colonialism and a parti...
  • Nadine
    2019-01-16
    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 within stories, and spiralling ideas on colonialism, filmmaking, popular culture and more, but all anchored around the history of the US in the Philippines. This makes it sound like hard work to read, but it isn't - here are some samples to prove it:In...
  • jo
    2019-02-21
    gina apostol is a brilliant writer and a polymath. the book is as lovely at the sentence level (so. much. beautiful. writing) as it is mindblowing in its conception. the layering is not discreet, but let me try: - a filipino translator is trying her hand at writing a mystery- which involves a famous director who is shooting a film- this director is using the translator because the movie is set in the philippines and the director is italian-americ...
  • Collin
    2018-12-04
    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 finishing this book, I feel it’s much deeper than I first thought and think I have only paddled over the surface. The narrative in its simplest form is about a massacre that took place in Balangiga in 1901. A terrible historical clash of cultures. Both ...
  • Miranda
    2018-08-07
    So complex and mind-boggling and incredibly meta, but so so worth it at the end.
  • Nick Klagge
    2018-12-02
    I found this book a difficult read in more ways than one--both literarily and as a matter of reflection on national and family history. But I found it very worthwhile and recommend reading it, especially to Americans who know little about the Philippine-American war of the early 20th century (which, of course, is virtually all of us).I read Gina Apostol's novel "Gun Dealers' Daughter" earlier this year and enjoyed it, although sometimes I found h...
  • Aimee Dars
    2019-02-05
    Chiara Brasi, a director, has arrived in the Philippines to make a pilgrimage to Samar where her father, Ludo, also a director, filmed his Vietnam War movie, The Unintended. She hires translator and budding mystery writer Magsalin who grew up in the Philippines but relocated to New York to accompany her on the trip.So that Magsalin might understand the purpose of her visit, Chiara sent her a copy of a script she planned on shooting in Samar herse...
  • Neil
    2019-07-15
    ”It will be set in 1901, or maybe 1972, or maybe 2018”In fact, it is set in all three of those years. Simultaneously.Insurrecto starts in the present day Philippines. In this time frame, Chiara Brasi is an American film-maker visiting the Philippines to research the disappearance of her father, Ludo Brasi, a cult film director in the 1970s. The movies planned by both Chiara and Ludo hinge on the massacres at Balangiga in 1901 (this refers to ...
  • Sam Shaw
    2018-10-21
    From the PEN Open Book Award-winning author of Gun Dealers’ Daughter, Gina Apostol, comes Insurrecto, a haunting tribute to America’s past and present for the people of the Philippines. Woven between the parallel storylines of Filipino translator Magsalin and American filmmaker Chiara emerges a brilliant narrative. While Chiara works on a film script about a massacre during the Philippine-American War in 1901, the reader gets an understanding...
  • Jan
    2018-12-09
    Contrary to the cover photo, this is a very modern or even postmodern novel. It exposes an important episode in Philippine-American history through the interactions two contemporary, strong-willed women, one a Filippina translator and one an American filmmaker. There's enough going on that the book deserves a second read, but I enjoyed the layered stories, the interaction of the two protagonists, the exploration of creativity, and the chance to l...
  • Jessie
    2018-12-13
    About two contemporary women, a filmmaker and a writer, travelling around the Philippines with a duelling narrative about an uprising against the Americans in 1901, this book tried to do all of the things. What I liked: 1. The idea of the book. There is an important story in there somewhere. 2. The badassery of the Filipinx folks that disrupts the western narratives of sweetness, forbearance and whatever other lies we tell ourselves to justify th...
  • Joshua Delos reyes
    2018-12-05
    It was good, until Apostol tried too hard :/
  • Rachel
    2018-11-15
    This review was first published on my blog In Between Book Pages. eARC was provided by the publisher through Edelweiss.As much as I love reading historical fiction based off other countries’ histories, I am hungry to see my own country’s history be featured in one, and that was what I was expecting to get in Gina Apostol’s Insurrecto. What I got instead was a mixed bag of a story, one that combines uniquely different strings and weirdly wea...
  • L A
    2018-10-30
    I received an advanced reading copy of Insurrecto from NetGalley and Soho Press in exchange for an honest review.I was quite interested to read this as the Philippines is not an area of the world I am very familiar with and I was looking forward to gaining an insight into the culture and some of the country’s history and culture. The book vividly describes the bustle, heat and culture of the Philippine setting. The characters initially seem com...
  • Kathleen Gray
    2018-11-07
    I really wanted to like this but I found it impenetrable at times. Apostol has used the stories of two modern women to tell the story of atrocities at Balangiga in 1901. There's a lot going on between Chiara the filmmaker, Magsalin who translates and rewrites her script, and the history of the Philippines. The language is dense at times and flowing at others, which made this a challenge. Ultimately and unfortunately, I DNF. Thanks to Edelweiss fo...
  • Cecily Sailer
    2018-12-08
    This is metafiction at an artisanal level. A gorgeous, haunting, harrowing take on American imperialism in the Philippines, refracted through the lens of two female filmmakers with competing narratives of power, victimization, cultural exchange/appropriation, and memory. Apostol's fiction is expert, both ruthless and gentle, an invitation to see through multiple layers of meaning. I loved many things about this book, but will emphasize two of the...
  • Anna
    2018-07-17
    God, I love Gina Apostol. The book is nervy, erudite, and ambitious in its exploration of American imperialism in the Philippines, the massacre in Samar, and the current political climate in the country. I'm not entirely sure the tough balancing act she's doing is always pulled off, and I found the ending a bit dissatisfying. Nevertheless, she's a Pinay-diaspora writer I'm always excited to read.
  • Paltia
    2019-01-27
    Gina Apostol’s knowledge seems infinite. It surely left me feeling an uninformed idiot. This story reads like an elegantly choreographed dance performed in hell. Forty eight Americans were deemed equal to 30,000 Filipinos. A sickening war that like all wars goes beyond tragedy. A unique joining of two women in two different times. So that’s four women. The description of the mistress at the funeral is what all writers should hope to their god...
  • Kevin Tracey
    2019-02-02
    I loved the beautiful language, and learning about another sordid chapter in American imperialism. I might not have the right kind of brain for this book as i found the narrative so confusing that I would not be able to summarize the story until the very end when the two protagonists explain it all a la the end of a Scooby-Doo episode. There was zero character development as well.
  • Jee Koh
    2019-01-13
    It restores my faith in the novel as a literary form.
  • Annie
    2018-10-18
    Insurrecto, by Gina Apostal, is a strange hybrid of a novel. It encapsulates the Balangiga Massacre of 1901 inside of the story of a woman trying to explore her auteur father’s disappearance through file, wrapped inside of a translator’s attempts to write a mystery novel about a famous woman director who visits Manila, Philippines. Confused? I suspect we’re supposed to be. But all this confusion left me with interesting thoughts about how l...