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The Umbrella Country
Bino A. Realuyo
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The Umbrella Country

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  108 Ratings  ·  14 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 brown as 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
ebook, 320 pages
Published February 23rd 2011 by Ballantine Books (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

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K.D. Absolutely
I saw a copy of this yesterday in the Manila International Book Fair. I remembered that I read this a many years back prior to joining Goodreads in 2008.

This is about an 11-year old boy who grew up in slums of Manila during the 70s then migrated to the US. It is a poignant coming-of-age novel that reminded me of Kite Runner. The only differences are: that there are no kite flying scenes here, the boy here is a homo and there is no real war in Manila except the opressions of the lower class due t
Sep 01, 2013 Neil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would always remember that this book actually made me cry while I was riding the LRT.

This book has been written perhaps haphazardly because of its weak presentation of events and underdeveloped characters. The story itself is fine, but it is the writing that actually digresses the plot. But nonetheless, this would stay as one of those books I would always remember and reread.

This book tends to be "canonized" as gay literature but I would like to argue it is more fitting to be "young adult" fo
Jul 20, 2011 Autumn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
very intense!
Jan 23, 2008 Vincent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
What sticks out most in my mind about Bino Realuyo's The Umbrella Country is that somewhere towards the end of the book, after page 200, there is this incredible "boy cabal." It was like a scene out of William S. Burroughs' The Wild Boys. The bloody murder that followed shortly after made it even more Burroughsesque.

However, the book is far from Burroughsesque. Where Burroughs adopts a persona of observer/agent/reporter, Bino is much more lyrical(?)/dreamy. What stuck for me about Bino's book is
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 03, 2011 Tess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW! I know life in many parts of Philippines was tough and difficult to accept it exists. This book shows a boy's life in a very tough part of the country and living through its harshness is absolutely intense!
Michael Nelmida
Apr 14, 2016 Michael Nelmida rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: phil-lit, diaspora
It started boring but the last few chapters are surprising.
Kim at Divergent Gryffindor
Interesting, although some parts are a bit ambiguous and vague.
Aug 23, 2009 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction

read this
Sep 12, 2013 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
it was similar to the kite runner I think but was good
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Who has read this book? 1 2 Sep 18, 2013 06:22PM  
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Bino A. Realuyo is a Filipino-American novelist, poet, community organizer and adult educator. He was born and raised in Manila, Philippines but spent most of his adult life in New York City. He is the author of a novel, The Umbrella Country, a poetry collection, The Gods We Worship Live Next Door, and the editor of two anthologies.
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