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The Woman Who Had Two Navels

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  695 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages
Published 1991 by Bookmark, Inc.
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K.D. Absolutely
Jul 07, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: Filipino Classic Books List
Shelves: local
”The identity of a Filipino today is of a person asking what is his identity.” - Nick Joaquin

When I bought this book a couple of months ago, I immediately skimmed the first two pages. I did think that this was a book about a female character with anatomical deformity and the book was about what caused the deformity and what should be done to correct it. I thought that this book would make me endlessly laugh.

Having formed that ridiculous image in my mind, I set this book aside. There were and
Aug 27, 2011 Apokripos rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Filipino readers
Recommended to Apokripos by: Sheryl
Past Engagements
(A Book Review of Nick Joaquin’s The Woman Who Had Two Navels)

In 1955, Nick Joaquin left the Philippines on a Rockefeller creative writing grant taking him to countries such as Spain, the United States, and Mexico. This two-year sojourn gave birth to his first novel inspired by an earlier, shorter work, The Woman Who Had Two Navels, published in 1961 having won the very first Harry Stonehill award.

A historic novel now considered a seminal work in Philippine Literature, it revolv
Aj the Ravenous Reader
Nick Joaquin is known for his highly symbolic prose. This novel is no exception.

Over damp Hong Kong the day dawned drizzling, astonishing with sunshine the first passengers huddled inside the ferries, luring them out on deck to spread cold fingers in the blond air and to smile excitedly (that night was full moon of the Chinese New Year) at the great rock city coming up across the black water, rising so fat and spongy in the splashing light the waterfront's belt of buildings looked like a cake, with alleys cutting deep into the icing and hordes of rickshaws vanishing like a
May 01, 2010 zni rated it really liked it
I was a kid when I read this book. Probably, I was twelve or so. I also saw the short-story version (the short-story came first, then, upon a Rockefeller Grant, Joaquin expanded it into a novel).
cel de Jesus
Sep 29, 2007 cel de Jesus rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
it's like watching a play..
Jul 10, 2013 Patrick rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Considered as one of the best Philippine works of fiction in English, I found that I did not enjoy reading this work as much as I hoped to. At some point, I kept reading in the hopes that the story would become more interesting or that there would be some structure that would make more sense out of the story.
Jireh Lee
Mar 04, 2011 Jireh Lee rated it liked it
I read this when I was 8 years old or so, so I didn't really understand what it actually meant. Although, I thought it was rather excellent when I read it. I should probably re-read it sometime. I hope I can get a copy when I go back to the Philippines, since the two copies I had left was destroyed by Ondoy.
Mar 03, 2011 Gelo rated it it was ok
This book's plot really dragged, but it was the "best" Filipino literature that I have read. Personally, I think it would be better if it was written as a short story with like, twenty or so pages.
Camille Tolentino
the words are really deep but it expresses such meaning...whop thought that two navels actually meant rebirths? It took a lot of effort to make me realize that...
Maria Julieta
Dec 30, 2015 Maria Julieta rated it it was amazing
Just the best book I've read this year! Sobrang galing. Breathtaking as it is profound. I'm officially a fan, Sir. :)
Mar 11, 2016 Sabrina rated it did not like it
After glossing through hundreds of glowing four-to-five star ratings and insightful theme analyses of The Woman With Two Navels, you may be led to believe that I too will conduct this review in an appropriate, almost distant manner, praising Joaquin for such a glorious masterpiece.

You have been sorely mistaken.

There will be no detached observations. There will be no forced censoring. I will rant. I will spoil. It will be messy. If you take exception to this, then find another reviewer, because
John Rey
May 11, 2015 John Rey rated it it was amazing
I think that this book is more than about the Philippines and its history as other reviews suggest. Many allusions to events in the Philippine history was used but I guess they are there to contextualize "some things" in relation to one's personhood during those times. There are other topics about personhood discussed - like freedom, morality, etc. - and I think they are still relevant today as it was in the times when the plot is contextualized.

I think that the plot presents in an intricate yet
Ivan Labayne
Dec 15, 2013 Ivan Labayne rated it liked it
Maybe the novel is about Joaquin's lengthy, sometimes unwieldy, then occupying, hen mystifying, then heart-purging sentences which could leave you wanting to be a single person, or wanting to see these words in Facebook posts, or wanting these words to be unclutered paintings in selfie photograpghs, btu maybe the novel is also about this: "we're all so involved in one another we can hardly drew a breath without making somebody suffer somewhere. In the end we all have to be rather callous and rut ...more
May 27, 2014 Carmellie rated it liked it
It gets a bit confusing. The voice or the point of view being written with seems to change from time to time, seemingly without clear demarcation or purpose. Nonetheless it was the first major piece of Philippine literature I read on my own without it being required in school. The metaphor of the imagery was certainly astounding at times and I did find moments with the writing. I especially liked reading about places that I actually pass by or go to being so different at that era. I don't regret ...more
Nov 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Clement Mesa
Sep 09, 2014 Clement Mesa is currently reading it
requirements lng sa project :)
Jofarh Sinfuego
Jan 20, 2016 Jofarh Sinfuego added it
Shelves: l
Garry Cunat
Sep 30, 2015 Garry Cunat is currently reading it
Feb 10, 2015 Ej added it
Mar 15, 2016 Czarina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cz
Holden Alcazaren
May 26, 2015 Holden Alcazaren rated it really liked it
This book takes you to the life of Philippines' elite society and shows you the different secrets it keeps.
Maria Ella
Feb 19, 2012 Maria Ella rated it liked it
another high-school-compliance-read-this-or-else-zero-grade-in-report-card!

Good read. Concept of incepting an idea to a Filipino mind is not so great since the two-navel idea is not a good comparison with a typical Pinoy with two (or more) identities.

Little did I know is that the navels served as metaphor. :)
to join the read
Elizabeth Rae
Aug 12, 2013 Elizabeth Rae rated it liked it
Choosing between life and death.
Choosing between right and wrong.
Finding truth and freedom.
Being real and free. :)
Kiel Llaguno
Oct 29, 2011 Kiel Llaguno rated it really liked it
very symbolic.
its clear because despite the use of flashbacks, it still has a smooth transition.
Simon Theodore
the symbol is quite easy to decode.. but still now, i haven't thought to internalize it more
Melijo Anthony Chan
Aug 22, 2011 Melijo Anthony Chan rated it really liked it
rambling symbolism... superb characterization and conflict.
Aye de la Cruz
Jul 01, 2013 Aye de la Cruz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: filipino-authors
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Nicomedes Márquez Joaquín (May 4, 1917–April 29, 2004) was a Filipino writer, historian and journalist, best known for his short stories and novels in the English language. He also wrote using the pen name Quijano de Manila. Joaquin was conferred the rank and title of National Artist of the Philippines for Literature.

After Jose Rizal and Claro M. Recto, both writers in spanish language, he is cons
More about Nick Joaquín...

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“When he had gone home, he had been frightened, he had refused to face what he saw. But he had not really wanted to come home to a land, only to a pas; and not finding the past there, he had run away, fearing the reality, preferring the dream.” 7 likes
“...and that there were many things grow-ups did which couldn't properly be judged by young people until the young people were grown-ups themselves...” 4 likes
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