Garnering international prizes and acclaim before its publication, Ilustrado has been called “brilliantly conceived and stylishly executed . . .It is also ceaselessly entertaining, frequently raunchy, and effervescent with humor” (2008 Man Asian Literary Prize panel of judges).
It begins with a body. On a clear day in winter, the battered corpse of Crispin Salvador is pu
1 kg. Main Story Miguel Syjuco going back to Manila to find the truth about Crispin Salvador's death
1/2 kg. Biography in Progress Crispin Salvador Eight Lives Lived by Michael Syjuco
2 cups. Unfinished Manuscript The Bridge Ablaze
1/3 cup. Kaputol trilogy
5 tbs. Interview The Philippine-Gazette.com.ph
2 tps. 1988 Interview in the Paris Review
To taste: Crispin Salvador's email
For me, this is like reading patches of several para...more
The Ilustrados of 19th century Philippines, the “enlightened ones”, were young men born from landowners; educated in Europe; top-hatted; monocled; and Spanish-speaking bucks; with nannies and tutors to run after them. Seemed a harsh truth, but the truth nonetheless. What’s good about these men, despite their higher social status, was that they sought reform through social equality and economic power for our country. It was through their works that injustices imposed on Filipinos...more
In a way, the statement characterizes Syjuco's personal journey as a writer. Born to a well-to-do family, Syjuco shunned the comforts of his lineage at home to pursue writing abroad. But while Syjuco seeks not to be boxed by his roots, Ilustrado is inescapably rhizanthous— flowering with al...more
(A Book Review of Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco)
Ilustrado is the ambitious and exceptionally complicated debut novel by Miguel Syjuco that won the Palanca Grand Prize for the Novel Category in 2008 and the prestigious Man Asian Literary Prize later that year when it was still in manuscript form.
Since news of his prodigious success came out, I can’t help but feel elated, for his triumph is as much ours; his breakthrough is a vindication of sorts on our much neglected and often bel...more
Honestly, I didn't understand the story very much. It’s fragmented, and the author is very verbose. I only began to sort of grasp the whole unity of the novel when it was about to end. The twist in the ending reminded me of the twist in Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder. I didn't quite expect it.
From what my feeble mind was able to gather, the story is about a young writer who loses his mentor. The latter’s death is mysterious. No one knows if it's suicide o...more
Ilustrado intersperses storytelling with immense world-building: literary ‘excerpts’ (mostly Crispin’s), a glut of allusions to real political and showbiz characters, historical events and cult...more
(1) A good dictionary should be a good companion/reference material. I'm a wide reader, and I think my vocabulary is fair because of the nature of my work, but I thought this book had one flowery word too many. Lots of big words, in my opinion meant more to impress than to express.
(2) I didn't want to read more about the sorry state of my country ~ its politics, economy, poverty, and people. When I picked this book, I thought I had a mystery to read about. Instead, w...more
The book had a few problems
~ Stylistically flat. In literary fiction there is an expectation of eloquence...this book approaches this but does not quite make it.
~ Characters are not compelling and/or believable.
~ The variety of source materials should sound like they're from different personalities and they don't really do this. All seems to be the same flat character.
~ Too many pop culture references. The problem with this is that it giv...more
Ilustrado interweaves the story of two writers, born but living out of the country, in their quest...more
I know enough Philippine history and culture to catch enough references and to know that there had to be many others going over my head. I know little of the political situation, so the themes were shadows of on the proverbial cave wall to...more
This feels like a huge inside joke. And being Filipino drives home the punchline just like an arrow to the heart.
The book in one sentence: Young Filipino writer Miguel Syjuco seeks the truth about the death of his mentor Crispin Salvador and his missing last manuscript, and in the process shares with readers elements of the Filipino identity.
My thoughts: I'm a Filipino. Born, raised and lived in the Philippines for most of my 30 + odd ye...more
The story of a young Filipino writer's investigation into the murder and hence, the life of his mentor, Crispin Salvador (another ex-pat Filipino writer found dead in NY) spins o...more
This penchant for writing FX is on f...more
It's the story of two writers: Crispin Salvador and Miguel Syjuco (same name as the author!). At the beginning of the book, Salvador's body is found dead, floating in a river somewhere in the USA. Miguel decides to write a biography abo...more
However, as the pages went by, I grew to appreciate and then truly enjoy these many threads. Syjuco is truly talented,...more
First of all, it's really ambitious and I think ambition should be rewarded. None of the problems I had with the book had to do with structure (switching back and forth between the first person, Salvador's autiobiography, a biography about Salvador, some works of fiction etc ect). I actually think all that stuff worked really well. And I was generally really impressed with Miguel Syjuco's often beautiful writing. He is, for a lack a better word, hardworking....more
I'ts more of a 4.5 but I'll round up even though it's not a perfect book (I eventually zoned out on the jumparound structure with the exceprts and interviews) but that's very minor and I can see others loving it all the way through. For me the best parts were the ending (of course; solidifies it as a brilliant book) and the parts where the narrator is either lamenting his reminiscences of his old relationship or chronicling the burgeoning one in the 2nd half of the book.
For most of it I a...more
1 1/2 stars for entertainment. I find the jokes the jokes inserted bit by bit in the novel as they should be - FUNNY! And though not my normal read ( i generally do not like shifts and plot changes, moreso satire in my stories), i've come to like it as i turn every page.
1 1/2 for making me think. One is led to believe that the story is abo...more