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The Hour of Daydreams

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  80 ratings  ·  48 reviews
At a river near his home in the Philippine countryside, respected doctor Manolo Lualhati encounters the unthinkable—a young woman with wings. After several incredible visits, he coaxes her to stay behind—to quit flying to the stars with her sisters each night—so they can marry. Tala agrees, but soon finds herself grounded in a new life where she must negotiate Manolo’s par ...more
Paperback, 270 pages
Published March 14th 2017 by Forest Avenue Press
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one weird book that I am too dumb to fully appreciate.

I loved every bit of it. Full review to follow.
Rene Denfeld
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an absolutely stunning, poetic retelling of a Filipino folktale. Rutledge is a master at her craft, weaving this dreamlike story impeccably together, grounding the fantastical in a deep exploration of identity, marriage and family. I loved this.
Elise Hooper
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Renee Macalino Rutledge creates a lovely dream of a story in her debut novel THE HOUR OF DAYDREAMS. She tells the story of Tala and Manolo--their unusual meeting, love affair, and the complexity of their marriage--all in prose that is lyrical and mesmerizing. Multiple perspectives weave together and explore the secrets that lurk between lovers, friends, and family members. THE HOUR OF DAYDREAMS has stuck with me since I finished reading it. Always a good sign.
Kate Brandes
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Renee Rutledge’s beautifully crafted novel examines marriage, family, and identity. Inspired by a Filipino folktale, Rutledge deftly knits fable and contemporary story to explore the power of secrets in everyday lives. This lyrical, stirring first novel invites the reader to linger and dream.
Sandi Ward
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Hour of Daydreams: A Reimagined Filipino Folktale is a unique and romantic story, where the line between fantasy and reality is sometimes blurred. Magic and folklore infuse the narrative, as it jumps from past to present and back again. The story is told from different points of view, with woven and intersecting stories.

Does an entire barrio really fall asleep under a grandmother’s spell in the afternoon, or is this the daydream of an imaginative child? Do fish really fall with the rain, or
Erin Kelly
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I blurbed this book, and I'm so proud that I did. Gorgeous writing. Wonderful story. Rich, rich, rich. It reminded me of Isabel Allende.
S.J. Sindu
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a story about Manolo and his new wife Tala, who hides a magical secret. In The Hour of Daydreams, Rutledge combines the fantastic with the realist. She infuses a literary story of a husband and wife with fabulist elements, and by doing so creates a reading experience that feels more like a dream than a story. At times the beauty of the sentence-level writing is enough to break your heart. Other times, it’s the imagery that seems magical. But the strength of Rutledge’s writing is that eve ...more
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written and reminiscent, at times, of the prose of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but even accounting for the magic in its pages, Rutledge's story lacks some of the whimsy (for want of a better word) of Garcia Marquez. Fans of magical realism and re-framed folktales like Patrick Ness's The Crane Wife should find a lot to love here.

And, let's be honest: While I can appreciate the beauty of the prose and the ambiguous nature of the story, I am not really the right reader for this book. It too
Lolly K Dandeneau
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
“It’s like an infestation of the mind, these fairy tales, the way they’ve taken root in the bodies of our people. Are our lives so bland that we need this magic, this spice to fill up the holes? Are we ghosts ourselves without them? Or is it the land itself cannot sleep, packed with lost secrets and layers of bone by millions, scattered for centuries across seven thousand islands?”

The Hour of Daydreams is lyrical and fantastical while somehow weaving its way within Filipino culture. Early in the
Bob Kanegis
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a professional storyteller, I was naturally excited and intrigued to discover a novel subtitled a “Reimagined Filipino Folktale”. I quickly found myself totally absorbed in a story that reads like an unfolding mystery, while at the same time presents a truly unique approach to the sometimes tenuous threshold between the realm of everyday life and the life of the imagination. This is a book you can read for the pure pleasure of a great story well told, or if you are of the storyteller persuasi ...more
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A gorgeously surreal story of a woman who may or may not be an angel, and the family she affects. Manolo is a small-town doctor in Manlapaz, the Philippines, who one day encounters an angel bathing in the river. Or is she just an ordinary girl running away from a future of prostitution and abuse? Neither Manolo nor his daughter, the product of this union and the narrator of the tale, can ever be entirely sure.

The book is framed with Malaya, the daughter's, search for the true story of her mother
Karen Sargent
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Reading THE HOUR OF DAYDREAMS is like waltzing with words as Renee weaves folktale with the sweet and deceptive love story of Manolo and Tala. Be prepared for the moments the story shifts to folktale. The brief detours will quickly bring you back to Manolo and Tala, so enjoy the language, savor the images, and tuck them in your pocket. They are clues to secrets that will be revealed. As a reader, I am enchanted by Tala, just as the characters in the book are. As an English teacher, I am enchante ...more
Literary Mama
I was lucky enough to read an early copy of this book and I fell right into it. Renee reimagines a Filipino folktale, drawing her reader into a world of endless possibilities where a woman with wings swims in a river then flies with her sisters to the stars every evening. But, her world changes as she meets a rural doctor, falls in love, and leaves her wings on the shore. As their worlds collide, Renee’s story takes flight. Personally, I’ve had a devastating month, with deaths and illnesses that ...more
Adriana Arrington
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this Filipino folktale retelling. Imaginative and fresh, The Hour of Daydreams delves into relationships (and the lies & secrets embedded in those relationships) from an interesting perspective. Rutledge's style is lyrical and beautiful, and she weaves elements of magic into the story very well, pleasantly fuzzing the line between reality and the supernatural. The characters are well-developed - I felt like I knew both Manolo and Tala and their motivations well. Rutledge also does a fant ...more
Dec 23, 2016 added it
The book was well written, with descriptives that helped me buy into the fantasy portion of the story. I loved the reveals during the entire book and how I was slowly piecing the parts little by little. I did wish that the scenes of revelations were longer and emphasized. All in all, good book.
Moray Teale
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I received a free advance copy of this book through Netgalley and Forest Avenue Press in return for an honest reveiw.

During a time of grief Manolo Lualhati stumbles upon seven sisters bathing in the moonlit river. As he watches six of them don beautiful white wings and fly away while the seventh lingers in the waters. Struck by her beauty he hides her wings and they are soon married. But Manolo feels guilty and unworthy and these feelings are bound up with the fear that his beautiful wife will o
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A wonderful lyrical story, "The Hour of Daydreams" balances on a tightrope between contemporary novel and magic realism. Set in the Philippines and exploring the family life of Manolo and Tala, it was unclear to me until the end whether or not Tala was a angel slash angel-like-monster from local folklore or a woman who had escaped prostitution. The themes of trust and truth in marriage, as well as identity and change t
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of retellings and good writing alike
I wouldn’t call magical realism my genre, but I also wouldn’t say I dislike it. I’ve read a few books with magical realism and some have been good and some have been terrible. When the phrase, magical realism comes up, I hesitate and think, oh I probably won’t like that. When I read the description for The Hour of Daydreams I was intrigued, but hesitated because of the magical aspect of the book. I am so glad I decided to read this book.

I would not characterize this book as magical realism. I wo
This is a quiet and atmospheric retelling of a Filipino folk tale, "The Star Maidens" and its roots show through. Like many of its kind, there is a blurring of fantastical and real that encourages you to soften and drift through the story. The dialogue is especially sparse - intentionally so - and in terms of plot, there isn't much movement. We learn at the very beginning that this is the story of a woman named Tala whose daughter grows up without her. The rest of the book is investigating her l ...more
Oct 12, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars... I received an advance review copy courtesy of NetGalley.

The author weaves fantasy and fable into the story of Tala and Manolo's meeting and marriage. The writing has a lyrical, fairytale quality which at times is mesmerising ("He began walking along the lip of the water, where it saturated the sand with kisses") and the author has some imaginative metaphors/similes ("They talked rapidly and their conversation was like a dance; as one took the lead, the others were eager to follow. I
Nov 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed-books
This is the story of the marriage of Manolo and Tala. He, a respected village doctor, and she, a young woman with wings. Although this seems a fantastical story, it deals with the issues of trust in marriage and retaining identity when living within a traditional family that is not your own.
The story is opaque in parts, whilst seeming almost translucent in others. At times, it was hard to follow although I quickly regained ground and understanding. Some of the prose are magical, wise and didact
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I realised this was an own voices re-imagining of a Filipino folktale known as The Star Maidens, I knew that I needed to pick up a copy. (Also, Erin Entrada Kelly‘s excitement for this book, may have lifted it up the list too.) The Hour of Daydreams is an atmospheric read. I recommend it to anyone interested in adult retellings with a lyrical feel.

Review cont'd on the blog:
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Hour of Daydreams

by Renee Macalino Rutledge

This was a beautiful (and modernized) retelling of a Filipino folktale of love and deceit. Somewhere between the love story of a selkie-like woman, who sheds her wing instead of her coat, and a man entranced by her beauty enough to make her stay. It's about love and marriage and what happens when truth is withheld.

What I liked:

-The evocative language. Just utterly beautiful prose.

-The storytelling, the way that we were told about how things were an
Rosemary Standeven
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is part fairy-tale, part daydream, part real life – or all three things at once. The edges between the book’s various facets are blurred, and change from chapter to chapter, as does the narration – switching from first to third person and back again. The story is about truth, secrets and trust. How stories morph from actual events, through countless retellings, interpretations and wishful thinking to become new myths and accepted truths. One man’s superstition is another person’s reali ...more
Angie Reisetter
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This winding story keeps looping back on itself, as if the true story were some sort of craggy mountain, and the narrative kept backing up and going at it again from a different angle, getting a little farther this time, no, maybe backing off again, starting at a different point with a different person, with a little more magic, a little less, then climbing the peak again. It moves forward and backward in time, with a fairy tale and with an ordinary tale, switches narrators, moves around. Near t ...more
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-net-galley
I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 Stars

In the tradition of Isabelle Allende and Laura Esquivel, Renee Rutledge gives us a lush tale of magical realism set in a Filipino world. Dealing with love and marriage, with secrets and lies, she weaves a tale of Tala and Manolo's love, a love that unravels after self-doubt, distrust and jealousy slowly infect the relationship. The truth of Tala's history, a fallen angel, a soaring soul, a saint or an oppres
Rosie Reads
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Hour of Daydreams is an excellent, exciting work of fiction. I couldn't stop reading because the storyline was suspenseful and a nail biter. The writing style is exquisite; it was as if I could vividly picture all the descriptions and events happening in the book--very well written. The storyline is unique and it captures the era and setting perfectly, with mythological beings like the duende brought to life. I look forward to Part 2, if there is one, or the next book this author writes!
Gilion Dumas
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Renee Macalino Rutledge’s debut novel, The Hour of Daydreams, “reimagines” a traditional Filipino folktale about a man stealing a maiden’s wings so he can marry her. The “hour of daydreams” is a specific time in the book when one of the characters shares stories with his granddaughter. It also represents the time when the memories of the main characters, Tala and Manolo, begin to feel like dreams. This is a beautiful story, beautifully told.
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Magical story based on a Filipino folktale (I am going to have to look into them!). Beautifully written story, tho sad. It could make a good end of summer read. Good story to linger over as it's thought provoking and the writing is just marvelous in it's power. It's one to read again and again.
I received a Kindle arc fromNetgalley in exchange for a fair review.
Polly Krize
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Unusual, beautiful and romantic! Based upon a Filipino folktale, Ms. Rutledge has created a wonderful, thought-provoking look at marriage, trust, and secrets. Almost dreamlike, definitely worth the read.
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Renee Macalino Rutledge is the author of The Hour of Daydreams, a literary fiction novel that has been dubbed “essential reading” by Literary Mama, “one of 24 books to get excited for in 2017” by The Oregonian, and a “captivating story of love and loss unlike any other” by Foreword Reviews.

Renee's work has also been published in The Margins, ColorLines, Mutha Magazine, Ford City Anthology, Oaklan

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