Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “State of War” as Want to Read:
State of War
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

State of War

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  362 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
An endless festival amidst an endless war is the central image of this stunning novel about the Philippines of the Marcos era, a time of brutality, treachery, and betrayed passion.

As the novel opens, our focus, in the Book of Acts, is on three young people—Eliza Hansen, Adrian Banyaga, and Anna Villaverde—as they arrive on the island of K_____ for the annual festival. Adri
Newsprint, Third Printing, 382 pages
Published 2007 by Anvil Publishing, Inc. (first published 1988)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 03, 2012 DC rated it it was amazing
This is a book not to be taken lightly. This is a book that requires a steady head and deep thinking. This is a dangerous book.

It deals with the history of the Filipino people, from pre-Spanish (with the priestesses babaylan who wore gold trinkets & traded with the Chinese) to Spanish (with the friars and other foreigners, such as Germans, who come to this godforsaken land to grab something that is not theirs) to American (with Hey, Joe! and chocolates aplenty) to the current (with the beaut
K.D. Absolutely
Feb 11, 2017 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it
Definitely a must-read for all Filipinos who still believe that the Marcoses are not guilty. This is also one of the books that I would like our President Rodrigo Duterte to read. Through the backstories of the three main characters, Eliza Hansen, Adrian Banyaga, and Anna Villaverde in the second part of the book called The Book of Numbers, he would have a good review of our history as a nation. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a history book, but through what happened to these characters and how ...more
Nov 09, 2007 Joe rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Rosca's prose can be balletic, frenzied even. But a brilliant start to the novel is completely subverted by a 200 page exploration of one of the main characters' blood lines. The final 80 or so pages, which return us to the action proper fails to both regain its momentum and to capitalize much on the back story provided. In the end, trying to cover too much ground, to speak to too much of the history of the Philippines, the overall design of the novel is unfortunately hectic. Read the tremendous ...more
Tito Quiling, Jr.
Aug 16, 2012 Tito Quiling, Jr. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: filipiniana, fiction
We've been told to read this novel back in college but I never had the chance and the interest to purchase a copy.

And I regret not reading State of War by Ninotchka Rosca earlier. The book is divided into three chapters -- The Book of Acts, the Book of Numbers, and the Book of Revelations. Among the three, I particularly liked the second half. State of War is a story about three characters: Adrian, Anna, and Eliza, whose lives are inherently intertwined because of their ancestors' history.

Feb 27, 2015 Anne rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who like One Hundred Years of Solitude or Noli me Tangere
This is so amazing I want to cry. Can't contain all these feels. To review (when I'm not busy anymore).
John Levi Masuli
Oct 10, 2012 John Levi Masuli rated it it was amazing
Shelves: filipino, fiction
The first part (Book of Acts) of this sort-of historical novel bored me. It was about three young people, leading different lives, attending a festival amid an ongoing dictatorship. Yet the second part (Book of Numbers) blew me away. Rosca displayed her deft narrative skills, pulling off something like a 100 Years of Solitude type of awesomeness. The final part is not satisfying, but still the book is great. Sorry for my post-reading incoherence.
Jun 19, 2008 Annalisa rated it it was amazing
"She lost all consciousness of who or where she was, knowing only that this would be the biggest, the best in her life, that henceforth she would suffer if he were not in her, beside her, on her, under her, holy mother of God who must have known the same pleasure once, forgive her."
Reviewing this now after the peak of protests against the Marcos burial seems to solidify one of the underlying themes of State of War: the ability of a nation to forget, or at least, its failure to recover the whole truth of its past. History is a battlefield of perspectives and most of the time, the victors, the oppressors, and the dominant characters are the ones who have the chance to become its writers. In this novel, Rosca tries to re-create history from the perspective of the "victims." S ...more
Aug 01, 2016 Bay rated it really liked it
Ninotchka Rosca's book, State of War, tells one of the Philippines' dark past: Martial Law. She, in my opinion, is using the endless parties in the book as an allegory of covering the atrocities of the military. Being distracted and drunk all the time, the people in the island of K------ were oblivious of what is happening around them. Even when the characters were chased by the military, the people seemed not to care to help. The only exception is the transvestite, who brought Eliza a gun.

Sep 04, 2016 vaneza rated it really liked it
i found this book very hard to read, not just because of the usage of really deep words, but also because im not used to reading books by filipino authors because 9 times out of 10, its gonna be about philippine history. and yes, this book is one of those. from the start of the book of acts to the beginning of the book of numbers, i was confused. so confused, and i still am. there were so many characters and so many points of views that it was hard to keep track even though i was writing notes. ...more
Feb 09, 2013 Neely rated it liked it
Written in the early 80's, Rosca's State of War is a novel of reclaiming memory and culture/ power after years of Spanish and US colonization of the Philippines. The novel moves in three parts: The Book Of Acts, The Book of Numbers and The Book of Revelations, wherein Rosca depicts the story of three young filipin@s who are caught in a sort of love triangle with one another and their country, although divided by their politics and social rankings. From the present day, the novel takes a step bac ...more
Lanie Macatangay-bautista
Apr 12, 2014 Lanie Macatangay-bautista rated it did not like it
this was an assigned novel back in college. content-wise, there's nothing that makes this novel any different from any other anti-government novels out there. the funny thing is, we even had a book signing in school. had mine signed, but was impressed with neither the book nor the author.

if you have to read it, then you should, because it's an ok book. but if you have to buy it, don't. it's just a waste of time and money. you're better off reading factual books instead. i didn't hang on to my c
Thomas Simmons
Jul 04, 2012 Thomas Simmons rated it it was amazing
No bibliography, just inside sources. Strangely enough that is the primary criticism for tis book, but the content has not been attacked specifically. It is not unlike the expose Richard Clark gave the Bush administration in "Against All Enemies" wherein the author's reputation served to carry the weight of credibility. Anyway, this is just as scathing and expose by a reputable source
Stephanie Chu
Sep 12, 2015 Stephanie Chu rated it really liked it
Not a fan of philippine activists movements, but curious now that I have the time.And since it is to them we have the time,I needed to start reading her books. Could have been a great beach book, philippine style, but with the deeply rooted stories of what it was like to be them during those days. Deeply grateful for her perspectives.
Jan 10, 2008 Reden added it
Quote from the book: Everything in this country happens only in the morning. Truly a great novel. Comparable to Franz Kafka's works.

I wonder why Ninotchka Rosca (the author) did not write more novels. Hope she does write another one.
Devine Garaza
it was amazing:)
nung una parang ayoko syng bshin ksi nga andami but then nung nsa book of numbers na ako, grabe!.....
Arisa Takagi
Dec 11, 2016 Arisa Takagi rated it it was ok
All i can say is: BIASED
Feb 13, 2011 BoekenTrol marked it as not_read_only_released  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to BoekenTrol by: creativechaos
Ik heb dit boek niet gelezen. Het zat in een boekendoos die ik gekregen hebt via bookcrossing.
Het inmiddels daar geregistreerd en gaat binnenkort op reis.
Nick Armbrister
May 22, 2015 Nick Armbrister rated it really liked it
a good read. under a military dictatorship ppl plot, party and live and also die. written in the style of liz hand. excellent.
Jun 10, 2008 Jollene rated it it was amazing
the language is beautiful and vivid, and the content is staunchly political. i loved it.
Jake Dua
Sep 19, 2015 Jake Dua rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1
Kim Murasaki
May 13, 2013 Kim Murasaki rated it really liked it
Rosca has accomplished a great feat in writing this novel: an account of our history, of our roots, written in a kaleidoscopic prose that will make us remember our forgotten history.
Mar 04, 2014 Christianloide rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bong Tan
Bong Tan rated it it was amazing
Mar 03, 2015
Jake Dua
Jake Dua rated it it was amazing
Sep 19, 2015
Jel Belza
Jel Belza rated it it was amazing
Jul 30, 2013
Westley rated it really liked it
Feb 21, 2016
Vince Lacson
Vince Lacson rated it it was ok
Jul 11, 2015
Sarah rated it it was ok
May 04, 2010
Rodel Ibanez
Rodel Ibanez rated it it was amazing
May 14, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Eating Fire and Drinking Water
  • Ermita: A Filipino Novel
  • Tropical Gothic
  • The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker: A Collection of Short Stories
  • Tikim: Essays on Philippine Food and Culture
  • Ang Mag-Anak na Cruz: Katha na Pumapaksa sa Pagpapahalagang Pilipino
  • Leche
  • The Umbrella Country
  • Gun Dealers' Daughter
  • When the Rainbow Goddess Wept
  • Catch A Falling Star
  • Soledad's Sister
  • Walong Diwata ng Pagkahulog
  • Without Seeing the Dawn
  • Toxicology
  • Insectissimo!
  • Empire of Memory
Ninotchka Rosca is an outstanding contemporary writer, human rights activist and feminist. She is the author of six books: her short story collections include Bitter Country and Monsoon Country; her two novels are State of War and Twice Blessed which earned the 1993 American Book Award for excellence in literature; and her books of non-fiction are Endgame: The Fall of Marcos and Jose Maria Sison: ...more
More about Ninotchka Rosca...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“It was a kind of sin, certainly, to forget—but it was not easy to remember, especially when names changed, languages changed. A century-old name held that century; when replaced, a hundred years were wiped out at one stroke. Amnesia set it; reality itself, being metamorphic, was affected.” 8 likes
“That to own things did not necessarily mean one belonged; that possession was no guarantee of control” 6 likes
More quotes…