Ilustrado (Winner of the Man Asian Literary Prize 2008)
The title is a winner of the Man Asian Literary Prize. It begins with a body. On a clear day in winter, the battered corpse of Crispin Salvador is pulled from the Hudson River - taken from the world is the controversial lion of Philippine literature. Missing, too, is the only manuscript of his final book - meant to rescue him from obscurity by exposing the corrupt roots of power behind the Filipino ruling families. His student, Miguel, investigates, journeying home from a city still in shock from terrorist attacks to a country caught between reckless decay and desperate progress. To understand his mentor's death, Miguel scours the life, charting Salvador's trajectory via his poetry, stories, interviews, novels, and memoirs. The literary fragments become patterns become stories become epic: a generations-long saga of revolution, familial duty, political intrigue, and a people's enduring struggle against their own worst tendencies. This is a clever, bravura, and exuberant debut novel from a new literary sensation.
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