Book of the Week: Ilustrado, Miguel Syjuco

IlustradoMiguel Syjuco
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, New York; First U.S. edition (April 27, 2010)

Ilustrado won the Man Asia Literary Prize, as well as the Palanca Award (the biggest literary award in the Philippines). 

It begins with a body. On a clear day in winter, the battered corpse of Crispin Salvador is pulled from the Hudson River—taken from the world is the controversial lion of Philippine literature. Gone, too, is the only manuscript of his final book, a work meant to rescue him from obscurity by exposing the crimes of the Filipino ruling families. Miguel, his student and only remaining friend, sets out for Manila to investigate.
To understand the death, Miguel scours the life, piecing together Salvador’s story through his poetry, interviews, novels, polemics, and memoirs. The result is a rich and dramatic family saga of four generations, tracing 150 years of Philippine history forged under the Spanish, the Americans, and the Filipinos themselves. Finally, we are surprised to learn that this story belongs to young Miguel as much as to his lost mentor, and we are treated to an unhindered view of a society caught between reckless decay and hopeful progress.
Exuberant and wise, wildly funny and deeply moving, Ilustrado explores the hidden truths that haunt every family. It is a daring and inventive debut by a new writer of astonishing talent. [B&N]

First U.S. edition: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2010. Signed firsts are listed around $100 on (available on Amazon for $26-$40).
First U.K. edition: Picador, London, 2010 - signed firsts are listing around $80 on
First Canadian edition: Hamish Hamilton. Penguin Canada, Toronto, 2010. Signed firsts are listed up to $180

Labels: , , , ,