Thanks to Ron Zack who wrote this Amazon Review about Cecilia Brainard’s novel, MAGDALENA. There is a new US Edition of this novel that includes illustrations by the author:
CREATIVE, ENTERTANING, AND POWERFUL
Review by Ron Zack
I read “Magdalena” while visiting the Philippines and wanted to combine my vacation with local authors. Although the author now lives in the U.S., she grew up in Cebu and I believe writes from the perspective of a Filipina, and has a deep understanding of the country. While this novel may be somewhat overdone in parts, it is extremely well-written, vividly presented, and the author does a great job with a very ambitious undertaking.
A short novel, it covers over 100 years of history, describing experiences of three generations of women and the effects of war, occupation, and corruption in the context of their personal relationships and struggles. The author clearly shows the struggles among many forces: poverty and wealth, rural and urban, physical appearances, ethnic differences, prejudice and oppression. The impact of social status, influence of cultures (Spanish, Chinese, American), and the patterns of wars and foreign occupation serve as a backdrop for the overlapping lives, the lies and truths, in-breeding, illegitimate children, hidden relations and relationships.
This is well worth reading for anyone wanting a better understanding of a complex culture.
Tags: book review, Philippines books literature novel Filipina fiction