Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Book Review of THE BETRAYED by Reine Arcache Melvin


Passion in the Time of Revolution

Book Review by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

Book Title: The Betrayed

Author: Reine Arcache Melvin

Published by Bughaw/Ateneo de Manila University Press 2018

For complete article in Postiviely Filipino - click here 

The Betrayed is a complex and rich novel that focuses on the lives of two sisters and the man they love. The story is set primarily in the Philippines; it fictionalizes historical events of the 1980s: the EDSA Revolution; the ousting of dictator Ferdinand Marcos; the election of the widow of his political enemy, Cory Aquino; the coup d’├ętats; and the pervading violence and political unrest of that era. Melvin’s main characters are members of the ruling political families in the Philippines, and their lifestyle reflects their extreme wealth and the corresponding poverty of the general population. These characters also reveal the feuding, violence, negotiations, and tentative alliances they engage in to maintain their wealth and power.

Lali and Pilar are the sisters whose father, Gregorio, had been jailed in Manila then hustled out of the city with his family to live in exile in San Francisco. The novel begins after Gregorio was gunned down by “the General’s men.” Now the prospect of ending their eight-year exile is possible, and Lali marries Arturo, a wealthy and powerful young man -- a member of the political opposition -- so she (and her mother and sister) can return to Manila where they can presumably resume their privileged life.Lali gets her Mercedes Benz and her lavish parties. Pilar, the more cerebral of the two, works on documenting the life of Gregorio, who is considered a hero of the government opposition – the communists, the extreme-right faction of the military, the religious left. Pilar lives in their neglected family house along the river, an area which used to have Spanish colonial mansions but has been taken over by factories and warehouses. (continue reading in Positively Filipino)

Tags: Philippine literature, Book Review  

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