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Monday, February 10, 2014

Leche: A Novel

R. Zamora Linmark's Leche was an off-the-cuff recommendation from a friend a while back.  It snaked its way to the top of my library queue and voila.  A good read for the weekend!

Vince has lived in Hawaii since he was a child, but he is a Philippines native.  He returns after 13 years, having won a free trip by participating in a male pageant.  This trip takes him on a whirlwind and sometime trippy ride through Manila and his shared history with the people who live there.  Can he reconcile who he has become as an American with who he once was as a Filipino?

Maybe it's just because the weather this winter here in New York City has been beyond miserable, but I felt the constant heat that Vince dealt with in the Philippines.  Of course I will be the first to tell you that it's waaaay better here than there, because at least I have the opportunity to bundle up, but the heat was its own character in this book, sending Vince off to shower multiple times a day.  I appreciated the different writing styles that Linmark used in his book; often sections were interspersed with "Tourist Tips" that listed facts (and cultural critiques) of Filipino culture.  If I were to ever visit, I would certainly check out this book again to read the tips.  Linmark also used postcards to tell some of Vince's story, and I found these to be the most effective storytelling structure.

I would love to read this book as I was traveling to or within the Philippines; I would love for any of my friends who have been there to read this and tell me how close it is to their experience of the country and the culture.

Kindle version on left, hard copy on right.

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