Insurrecto

Insurrecto Review

Histories and personalities collide in this literary tour-de-force about the Philippines' present and America's past by the PEN Open Book Award–winning author of Gun Dealer's Daughter.

Two women, a Filipino translator and an American filmmaker, go on a road trip in Duterte’s Philippines, collaborating and clashing in the writing of a film script about a massacre during the Philippine-American War. Chiara is working on a film about an incident in Balangiga, Samar, in 1901, when Filipino revolutionaries attacked an American garrison, and in retaliation American soldiers created “a howling wilderness” of the surrounding countryside. Magsalin reads Chiara’s film script and writes her own version. Insurrecto contains within its dramatic action two rival scripts from the filmmaker and the translator—one about a white photographer, the other about a Filipino schoolteacher.

Within the spiraling voices and narrative layers of Insurrecto are stories of women—artists, lovers, revolutionaries, daughters—finding their way to their own truths and histories. Using interlocking voices and a kaleidoscopic structure, the novel is startlingly innovative, meditative, and playful. Insurrecto masterfully questions and twists narrative in the manner of Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch, and Nabokov’s Pale Fire. Apostol pushes up against the limits of fiction in order to recover the atrocity in Balangiga, and in so doing, she shows us the dark heart of an untold and forgotten war that would shape the next century of Philippine and American history.

Title:Insurrecto
Edition Language:English

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Marchpane

    Kaleidoscopic metafiction in the PhilippinesTowards the beginning of Insurrecto there is a reference to Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, an early 20th century artwork inspired by stop-motion p...

  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)

    I found the audiobook of this on Hoopla, but the narrative of this book is complex so I would recommend reading a hard copy if one is available to you. This is a multi-layered story about two women tr...

  • Eugene

    A polymath's lyricism is woven with post-colonial tristesse. A deft and labyrinthine depiction of our helpless condition of ever-revolving insurrection, Gina Apostol has created an elegant mise en aby...

  • Gabe

    One of the best novels of the year....

  • Miranda Hency

    So complex and mind-boggling and incredibly meta, but so so worth it at the end. ...

  • Sam Shaw

    From the PEN Open Book Award-winning author of Gun Dealers’ Daughter, Gina Apostol, comes Insurrecto, a haunting tribute to America’s past and present for the people of the Philippines. Woven betw...

  • Nick Klagge

    I found this book a difficult read in more ways than one--both literarily and as a matter of reflection on national and family history. But I found it very worthwhile and recommend reading it, especia...

  • Rachel

    This review was first published on my blog In Between Book Pages. eARC was provided by the publisher through Edelweiss.As much as I love reading historical fiction based off other countries’ histori...

  • L A

    I received an advanced reading copy of Insurrecto from NetGalley and Soho Press in exchange for an honest review.I was quite interested to read this as the Philippines is not an area of the world I am...

  • Kathleen Gray

    I really wanted to like this but I found it impenetrable at times. Apostol has used the stories of two modern women to tell the story of atrocities at Balangiga in 1901. There's a lot going on between...