Lit React's Reviews > Empire of Memory

Empire of Memory by Eric Gamalinda
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Oct 16, 10


For my money this book is a strong contender for the great Philippine novel. During my stay in college, I got the impression that the work traditionally feted as the great Philippine novel is A Woman with Two Navels . Don't you believe it. Empire and Woman topically share the shame theme of identity and searching. The title alone of Woman implies two mothers, or at least, two sources of nourishment for an infant. Personally though I found Woman to be staid, and well, boring. (This is not to knock Nick Joaquin, I like some of his short stories, particularly May Day Eve.) Empire on the other hand is alive; it's opening chapter after all details how Filipinos chased the Beatles out of the country! Pop, love, treachery, rebellion, fantasies, hip, remorse. If for nothing else Empire captures perfectly what a crazy country the Philippines is, an exasperating, befuddled country of forgetful romantics.
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