Johnny Manalo-a Filipino who has lived for years in the United States, sometimes illegally-returns home for a brief visit during the last years of the Marcos dictatorship.
From his landing on the Manila tarmac where opposition leader Benigno Aquino was gunned down, through jetlagged reunions with family and friends, Johnny finds himself an alien in his own country, unable to grasp the physical, moral, and spiritual corruption that--from Marcos and his wife "Madame" on down--have consumed the nation's soul.
If Ty-Casper's earlier, brilliant novel Awaiting Trespass emphasizes contemplation, redemption and hope, Wings of Stone gives a nightmare picture of the mindless violence of martial law and the possible fire-storm of civil war. Sadly, since the Marcos regime was toppled in 1986, the triumph of democracy has faded, and the situation in the Philippines today remains as Ty-Casper so powerfully describes it here.
Linda Ty-Casper is a highly-acclaimed Filipino writer. She was born as Belinda Ty in Manila, Philippines in 1931. Her father worked in the Philippine National Railways; her mother was a school teacher and textbook writer. It was her grandmother who told her stories about the Philippine struggle for independence, a topic she picked up in her novels. She has law degrees from the University of the Philippines and Harvard. However, erroneous and biased statements in books at Widener Library converted her into an advocate, through faithfully researched historical fiction, of Filipino's right to self-definition/determination.
Her numerous books are generally historical fiction. The Peninsulars centers on eighteenth-century Manila; The Three-Cornered Sun written on a Radcliffe Institute grant, deals with the 1896 Revolution; and Ten Thousand Seeds, the start of the Philippine American War. Contemporary events, including martial law years, appear in Dread Empire, Hazards of Distance, Fortress in the Plaza, Awaiting Trespass, Wings of Stone, A Small Party in a Garden, and DreamEden.
Her stories, collected in Transparent Sun, The Secret Runner, and Common Continent, originally appeared in magazines such as Antioch Review, The Asia Magazine, Windsor Review, Hawaii Review, and Triquarterly. One short story was cited in The Best American Short Stories of 1977 Honor Roll. Another won a UNESCO and P.E.N. prizes. She has held grants from the Djerassi Foundation, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the Wheatland Foundation. She and her husband, (literary critic and professor emeritus of Boston College) Leonard Casper, reside in Massachusetts. They have two daughters.
An expatriate Filipino returns to his homeland in the days before the ousting of the Marcos regime, attempts to reconcile the mysteries of his own heritage, homeland, purpose. I can't say it was my favorite thing I ever read in this vein, but I didn't hate it neither.