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Leche

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  436 ratings  ·  46 reviews
After thirteen years of living in the U.S., Vince returns to his birthplace, the Philippines. As he ventures into the heat and chaos of the city, he encounters a motley cast of characters, including a renegade nun, a political film director, arrogant hustlers, and the country’s spotlight-driven First Daughter. Haunted by his childhood memories and a troubled family history ...more
Paperback, 361 pages
Published April 12th 2011 by Coffee House Press (first published March 29th 2011)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  436 ratings  ·  46 reviews


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K.D. Absolutely
Jun 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: Veronica
Shelves: gift-book, pinoy, english
Quite an enjoyable read. This is the story of a 23-y/o gay man Vince who migrated with his siblings to Hawaii when he was 10. Thirteen years after he goes back to Manila as part of his prize as first-runner up in the Mister Pogi, a male beauty pageant contest.

Linmark's writing style is entertaining and easy to understand. Reading is a breeze. It is even unconventional particularly his effective use of postcards as Vince tells his siblings, boyfriend Edgar and some friends about his experiences i
...more
Barbara
May 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
I just finished Leche yesterday, and am planning on teaching this in Filipino American Literature at USF in the Fall.

Some quick thoughts: I like Linmark's portrayal of Manila, which is one of the principal characters in this novel. Manila is crazy, contradictory, it evades understanding, especially by our apparently ordered American minds. Linmark's "hero," is the balikbayan Vince, or Vicente. So this book is his hero journey through the morass of Manila, to try to figure himself out, as a Filip
...more
Kristel
A novel filled with parodic exuberance and tongue-in-cheek humor often runs the risk of archness to the point coldness, becoming too intent at skewering the ridiculous to actually carry a human center. L. Zamora Linmark's Leche sidesteps this trap by grounding the chaos of his setting with a fallible and searching viewpoint character, a balikbayan named Vince who wins a trip through a Mr. Pogi beauty contest. Through his incredulous but largely game eyes, the readers navigate the crooked sidestr ...more
Benito Jr.
May 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
There’s no reason why R. Zamora Linmark shouldn’t shoot for the Great Philippine Novel in his ambitious and wide-ranging new book, Leche, even if it’s told from the perspective of a balikbayan, returning to the Philippines after 13 years. The fact that there may be anywhere from 8.2 to 11 million Filipinos overseas – about 10 percent of the Filipino population – surely makes it an “authentic” Filipino stance from which to write. Two of the greatest chroniclers of the Filipino experience, N.V.M. ...more
Lauri Saplad
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the most interesting books I have ever read! It's an eye-opening look at what it's like for a native Filipino to return to the Philippines, proving once and for all that, yes, you can go home again -- but it WILL be weird! Be prepared for a look at a totally different culture and lifestyle. Excellent and very well-written! ...more
Patrick Limcaco
Jan 17, 2015 rated it liked it
If you’ve read my important review of Jessica Hagedorn’s Dream Jungle, you would know that Philippines-set novels that make cheap, obvious (grinding poverty, golden-hearted prostitutes, balut, etc.) observations about Philippine things are not my favorite Philippines-set novels. Maybe this is because I don’t want my country described in a basic manner. Or maybe, I just don’t want my country’s filth thrown back at my face so relentlessly. What else could Fil-Ams write about other than the overbea ...more
Elaine
Jul 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
A clever, iconoclastic writer takes on all the contradictions of Manila in the 1990s -- and does a fantastic job. Of all the collage novelists I've read in the past few years, I think Zamora Linmark uses the genre most effectively. His narrative is interspersed with post cards, lists (of Tourist Tips from travelers to the Philippines), dialogue from a TV talk show -- but it all works, and none of it seems forced. The different modes allow him to relate information that wouldn't quite fit into th ...more
Alice
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
A book about identity, especially for immigrants. Is the protagonist American, or Phillipino, both, neither? On his first trip back after 13 years, he finds out it's not a simple question. (p.s. I enjoyed the novel, but didn't see the point of all the homoerotic imagery - it didn't seem to add to the question of identity in any useful way. It was as though the author was trying to make the book more titillating, or the character more real, or something . . . ?) ...more
Paolo
May 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Leche channels all that I love in Dante, Swift, Fellini, Calvino, Cesaire, Burroughs, Pasolini, Wong, Acker, and Brocka's art. A landmark by Linmark, Leche is the novel about a native son's return to the Philippines I long hoped to see published in my lifetime. I've already packed it in my desert isle suitcase, right next to its prequel, Rolling the Rs. Yeah, folks--it's that GREAT. ...more
Annie
May 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this. When I started it I had no idea of the Hawai`i connection in the book so that just made it better, of course. So much in this book reminded me of my Filipino family and friends in my second home.

This is the first time I've read anything by a Filipino author but it won't be the last.
...more
Jaymee
Feb 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
For someone who does not understand her own concept of home, this book greatly appealed to me. To be home in Manila and yet not, with its constant changes and surprises--both frustrating and endearing. It's a rollicking fun and bittersweet tour of Manila; one journey that will hopefully guide you in finding your own personal Manila, and self. ...more
Michael Miranda
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
R. Zamora Linmark continues to be a master at giving a voice to Asians and Pacific Islanders, especially those who are, or relate to, or have friends and family members of LGBT backgrounds. This novel masterfully weaves themes of colonization and other socio-political forces that drive self-identity. So much noise in the story, it actually feels Filipino.
Bridget
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I could feel Manila all over again. This book is a blast that makes the reader think and feel and sense what it might be like to return home where one does not necessarily want to be or feel welcome. As this seems somewhat of an homage to Jessica Hagedorn's Dogeaters, pair the two and find yourself mesmerized. ...more
Dr. Nicolyn
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Had a great time reading this one! I especially like the juxtaposition of the novel's present with historical past and imperial history of the US-Philippine relationship. Looking forward to working this into my candidacy exams this school year! ...more
Marc
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Following a young man going back to the Philippines after ten years. He tires to navigate the changes he saw in his old country, his new identity, and balancing being Filipino and American, and gay.

This is my second Linmark book I read, and like what I said on his first book this story was something from my life. Linmark writes story I see in front of me, around me, and in me. I can relate to his character, their inner struggle, and the culture because it is very similar to who I am and to wher
...more
A
Dec 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2011
At times Leche was quite funny and clearly ambitious, but it didn't really hold together at all. Ideas, characters, plots, revelations, etc. were picked up momentarily, then discarded forever a few pages later. Every character -- regardless of age, sex, gender, class, etc. -- spoke in the arch, allusive voice of a drag queen cliché. The tone toggled jerkily and inexplicably between high camp and didactic historian, with extended bouts of treacly sentimentality, but not in a way that seemed cleve ...more
DW
Aug 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Wow, I really didn't get this book. But unlike most books I don't get, I'm reluctant to declare it "bad." Perhaps what I saw as flaws were actually "artistic decisions." Guess it's been too long since my last literature class for me to say.

I spent most of the book wondering what exactly was the Mr. Pogi contest that Vicent won to give him the trip to the Philippines. Got all the way to the end and it was never explained. It took me a long time to figure out exactly what he was supposed to be doi
...more
Emma Grace
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really liked the way this book was written. It's full of flashbacks and memories. If you're okay with nonlinear writing, this is a great book to read because it's also full of postcards, side anecdotes, and tourist tips.
Vince is filipino, but he was sent to live in Hawaii like so many other filipinos. This takes place not to long after the Marcos regime and is dated, but still true to filipino culture and lifestyles. When Vince returns to Manilla, he struggles with his identity as a filipino a
...more
Kayzee Jusayan
Jul 31, 2012 rated it liked it
It's a good thing I kept reading this book. In the beginning I was afraid it was a "You know you're Filipino If" compilation of anecdotes being passed off as a novel but after the first few chapters I started to find it amusing and interesting. I don't often read Filipino literature but I'm glad I took the time to read this. I'm not one to take offense at people who portray the Philippines in a negative light - especially since most of the time it's the truth. So I found this quirky novel as a f ...more
Sharon
Sep 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this book. It started out really interesting me -- I am very fond of books with fast paced small sections, written from different perspectives and in different formats. Yet, I became confused and a bit bored about half way through, so I just gave up on it.

I often push through books anyways and find them eventually to have provided a good read -- but I borrowed this from the library, tried it several times over the three weeks, and just couldn't.
...more
Angela De ocampo
Jan 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
The beginning of this book actually reminded me of Miguel Syjuco's Ilustrado. Hence, I continued to read it. But towards the middle, it just got boring. In its quest to be as funny and truthful as possible about Manila and all its quirks, it became a book about whining a lot. And looking to have sex. And whining. And looking to have sex. It just hanged in that cycle, and none of the characters were interesting enough to follow, sympathize with, or even care for. ...more
Cory Blystone
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
R. Zamora Linmark writes with so much honesty and truth surrounding the fakeness, the reader is left in awe at what they've just devoured. Utilizing a heavy dose of humor to tell a story about the tragedy of The Philippines allows the reader to push through with ease. This author has quickly become a favorite, not just for the humor and honesty, but the vulgarity that is eerily reminiscent of my own writing. ...more
Christina
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
Was excited to think that maybe this novel was a Filipino version of Amy Tan's novels. That it would give Americans a peek into Filipino culture through entertaining stories. Instead it is attempting to be a Filipino version of David Sedaris, however very disappointly unsuccessful. Am currently reading/skimming this book hoping that it gets better. ...more
Meredith Links
Oct 14, 2016 rated it liked it
I read this for my Asian Pacific American literature class. Every time I sat down to read this book I fell asleep. The ending of the book was great, but there was too much humor along the way that got in the way of the main story. The humor was also not my kind of humor, so I did not think the book was that funny.
Meghna
Jul 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I have to admit, I knew nothing about the Philippines before reading this book. I enjoyed learning about the culture and liked the way the book was presented. The tone reminded me a little bit of Junot Diaz's /The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao/ (which I loved). ...more
Terryann
Nov 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
confusing, but interesting. i found the descriptions to be so realistic and enthralling that i was actually sweating. i had NO idea about the phillipines before this book, so i may have to read another just to be sure:)
Sarah
Jan 16, 2013 rated it liked it
If you haven't been to the Phillipines or if you know nothing about the Philippines, don't read this book, it will make no sense. I am not offended by many things but was offended several times in this book. Parts were very interesting, but not a great way to spend my time. Disappointing. ...more
Nuha
Jul 31, 2015 rated it liked it
It's one of those books where nothing really happens and that's the story. I liked the way the author experimented with different forms and the way Vince struggles with being of the Filipino diaspora. ...more
Debra
Jul 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Interesting story with lots of twists. Enjoyed a peek at Fillipino culture.
Katy
Dec 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle-to-lend
Interesting immigrant story with cool views of the philippines but I just didn't really connect with the main character. Fairly abrupt ending too. ...more
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R. Zamora Linmark is the author of Rolling The R’s, Prime Time Apparitions, The Evolution of a Sigh, and Leche, sequel to Rolling The R’s. A two-time Fulbright Scholar, he has received grants and fellowships from the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, San Francisco Arts Commission, and twice from the Fulbright Foundation, in 1998, and as a Senior Scholar in 2005.

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