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Gagamba: The Spider Man
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Gagamba: The Spider Man

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  353 ratings  ·  23 reviews
GAGAMBA, the cripple, sells sweepstakes tickets the whole day at the entrance to Camarin, the Ermita restaurant. He sees them all—the big men, politicians, journalists, generals, landlords, and the handsome call-girls who have made Camarin famous. In mid-July 1990, a killer earthquake struck and entombed all the beautiful people dining at the Camarin. Gagamba could have ea ...more
Hardcover, 121 pages
Published by Solidaridad Pub. House (first published 1991)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  353 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
wish all Filipinos will get to read this book.
K.D. Absolutely
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pinoy, english, sad
I share my friend Ayban's sentiments captured in his review of this book. The book is like a collection of short stories with the main characters going inside the high-class whorehouse/restaurant in Manila called Camarin when big earthquake (July 1991) hit the country. On that day, only Camarin fell and so it buried all those characters who happened to be eating their lunch in that building at exactly 1:00 p.m. Reading the book felt similar to the experience I had reading Thorton Wilder's Pulitz ...more
Janice Acosta
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One event, one tragedy various points of view. But the most striking part or viewpoint was that of Gagamba. An act of God and act of nature - explained how the character looked like a "spider-man."

Another novel mirroring the harsh and beautiful lives of people living in Manila. Touching and thought-provoking. I am such a fan of Mr. Sionil Jose.
from The Book Hooligan

"There is something so equal and democratic about dying, certainly not living though all men may live in sin - the poor who seek salvation in prayer or in a sheaf of sweepstakes tickets are sometimes left with nothing but the benediction of a new day." - Gagamba's Narrator

Martial Law-era Philippines was one of the worst periods in Philippine history. Not only graft and corruption were rampant during those times (issues such as these were present even before Martial Law star
Lyanndra Reads
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: filipino-fiction
I'm glad that a friend of mine's school library had a copy of Gagamba since I said I wanted to read more F. Sionil Jose books, and this particular title was actually the one I wanted to read in the first place. This book is really thin, which is why I finished it so quickly, but so engaging and poignant.

Much like The Feet of Juan Bacnang, this book discusses the many harsh conditions of the Philippines. At the famous Camarin "restaurant", people from different walks of life arrive, as if pulled
Becky Simplyme
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I never read F. Sionil Jose, but those forgotten short stories-The Refugee, Graduation?

To my mind this book is not about the existence of God or the none existence of God, not about how we meet death nor how we survive. This is about the co-existence of the good and bad, the weak and strong, the sinner and saint. "Gagamba" knits the lives of each character, in one setting and one sitting, Camarin. The use of heroes' names in chapter 4 is beneficial but not to the characters themselves. The use
Ayban Gabriyel
Hmmm... I think this is my least favorite novel/story from my favorite National Artist for Literature and writer F. Sionil Jose.I personally didn't like it, I don't know...

The title is Gagamba literally means spider,he is a limbless man who is selling lotto tickets to whoever enters the restaurant Camarin,the novel is not primarily about gagamba or about anything that concerns him. But he got his cameo in every chapter of the book, he greets everyone who enters the restaurant on that special day
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First book read for the year. No regrets at all. The book reads like an anthology but well stitched together to tackle the grander themes of fate and the nation.

Was hoping for a cameo of Ermita Rojo though!
Kristine Cervancia
Aug 30, 2008 rated it liked it
We are in a big web of life that has bound to end no matte who we are or what we have done.
Bernie Gourley
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers, particularly of foreign or literary fiction.
This short novel revolves around a real world event, the devastating earthquake that struck Luzon, wreaking havoc on Manila, in July of 1990. The novel is written in an unusual format. The chapters could be described as character sketches offering insight into various people who were in (or next to) the Camarin building when it collapses in the earthquake. Rather than the usual narrative approach, F. Sionil José offers captivating slices of the lives of these individuals that include insight int ...more
Sep 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book offers many insights on what it is to be Filipino - that we have the capability to deal with the realities given to us, that family always comes first, that we always yearn for better things, that unfortunately corruption in the government has somehow become a fact of life. It also exposes many of our unpleasant idiosyncrasies. In a way I was slightly offended by the negative portrayal of the many Filipino characters, after all most of us do have some positive characteristics, however, ...more
Tam Patapat
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I've read some of F. Sionil Jose's books and short stories, and this is my favorite collection because, even though I greatly respect his views on politics and the Filipino psyche, Gagamba has nothing to do with either of these topics, at least from what I understood and remember.

The book revolves around the stories of the people who had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and as if miraculously, a mis-shapen man the size of a hobbit, who bore a resemblance to a spider
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Otakore Literantadodist
I bought this signed copy from Anahaw Books.

Reading the story, I feel a deja vu. Of what's happening back then is happening also at the current time.

See my full book review at the ff. link:

Kenjohnmars L
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
BookNoy (Pinoy Reads Pinoy Books)
Gagamba The Spiderman ni F.Sionil Jose

Isa sa pinakapaborito kong awtor si F.Sionil Jose kaya naman lagi akong nagpapapirma sa kanya ng binili kong aklat na Gagamba. Pinupuntahan ko siya sa mga bookfairs, at sa Solidaridad Bookshop.

Sa aklat ng Gagamba, ang bida ay hindi isang superhero kundi isang pulubi o may abnormal na bahagi ng katawan. Tinalakay sa kwento ang isang trahedya na kumitil ng maraming buhay ng tao ang Lindol. Maraming tao ang namatay tulad ng mga sikat artistang tao, prominente,
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Called Gagamba, he resembles his namesake (gagamba means "spider" in Filipino) with his disfigured body, large head and long arms. He stations himself in front of the entrance of Camarin, a well-known Spanish restaurant (and cover for selling women's bodies), making a living by selling sweepstakes tickets to those who pity him and those who have deep pockets.

Gagamba and the people working behind the scenes such as the waiters and call girls, are juxtaposed with the wealthy and powerful Camarin c
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone that has eyes
My first F. Sionil book and certainly won't be the last.

Though the story was not in anyway breath taking, it still captures a vivid picture of Filipino attitude even if it was set 20 years ago. It's sad and funny at the same time. Buildings in Manila grow taller while Filipinos, well,... I don't know.
Dec 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Jan Deiparine
Apr 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
No wonder he's a national artist. Damn good writing and anything about Philippine Politics thrills me. ...more
Michael Nelmida
May 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: phil-lit
It is much more inter-weave short stories. Its bizarre that the waiters serving are heroes like offering their ideas to high intellectuals. The last part is melo-dramatic - denouement.
rated it liked it
Oct 09, 2010
Michael Ryan
rated it it was amazing
Jan 27, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Jul 18, 2009
Pat Bation
rated it it was ok
Oct 03, 2013
rated it it was ok
Dec 27, 2012
Rigore Bias
rated it really liked it
Aug 06, 2016
Rhoda R
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Nov 12, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Nov 12, 2012
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Oct 28, 2011
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Francisco Sionil José was born in 1924 in Pangasinan province and attended the public school in his hometown. He attended the University of Santo Tomas after World War II and in 1949, started his career in writing. Since then, his fiction has been published internationally and translated into several languages including his native Ilokano. He has been involved with the international cultural organ ...more

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