G189 E-Reading: Book Review of A Light in the Cane Fields by Enrico Antiporda
Author: Enrico Antiporda
Type of book: Phillipines, History, 1960s, guerilla, politics, Asia, tropics, sibling reationship, wealth, secrets
Year it was published: 2013
Top Semi finalist, 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.
Manuscript Review from Publisher's Weekly
"This coming-of-age story chronicling a Filipino boy's wrenching passage from son of privilege to guerilla fighter is a stylistic tour-de-force. From its first lines, the saga of Jando Flores seizes readers with the same chilling intensity as the cold water that wraps around Jando's chest as he hides in a river to escape a gang of pillaging cutthroats. While such murderous militias dispossess cane farmers in the Central Plains of the Philippines, the NPA (a brutal leftist insurgency) combats the government troops of Ferdinand Marcos and the ruthless sugar barons who steal the poor farmers' land. Jando, whose family owns a plantation, is forced into the NPA, but he remains a sensitive soul, brimming with empathy for his fellow countrymen-even as he watches others, like his beloved uncle, morph into fierce, sadistic killers. Incandescent descriptions radiate from the pages of this book. When a wounded Jando wakes, after narrowly escaping a death squad, he sees "marmalade light slicing through the fronds, weaving orange and black tiger stripes." Mountain bandits, sugar warlords, Peace Corps volunteers, dignitaries, and revolutionaries all jostle beneath "mango-colored" skies in this riveting epic of loss and transformation, but it is a masterful and delicate choreography. "
The main character included Jando Flores, a sensitive, innocent, curious and kind Filipino boy who willingly shares lunches with those less fortunate than he, and loves being a big brother to Tanaya. He is also best described as sentimental and is very caring. Other characters included Maya who becomes a mother figure towards Jando. She is a GI baby and teaches survival techniques. Despite her tough exterior and her harshness, she is a warm person inside. There is Tio Mario as well whom Jando looks up to, and other characters too, although I felt that Jando and Maya and Tanaya to an extent are main characters.
One can't change their inner nature; preserve the innocence no matter what
This is written in first person narrative completely from Jando's point of view. He begins his tale at being raised as a plantation owner's son. His parents aren't extremely wealthy but they are well-off. History and politics play a huge role in this book. The descriptions of nature and the eventual guerilla life are very emotional and powerful, such as a mango colored sky. The reader sees his daily life, but then his family gets salvaged and he has no choice but to become a guerilla along with an uncle of his. The latter half of the book describes the camp life as well as what he learned from Maya, a leader there and so forth.
genre Literature & Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance
member since March 2011
I'm a fiction editor of Conclave, a Journal of Character, an annual literary magazine. I published my first novel, The Band of Gypsies, in 2000 with rave editorial reviews. A Light in the Cane Fields earned two consecutive scholarships at the Squaw Valley Writers Conference and was a top semifinalist in the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition. The novel earned a tour de force review from Publishers Weekly, garnering accolades like "a riveting epic of loss and transformation" and "a masterful choreography."
I'm a workshop leader of the Rockridge Writers Group in Oakland, California.
As for my history, after graduating with a BSBA degree at De La Salle University, I lived for two years in Bilbao, Spain working as a business intern under the AIESEC international exchange program. I'm now a full-time visual artist and writer and my post impressionist works have been exhibited in galleries and art shows in California.
I love painting, hiking, traveling, listening to world music, and writing.
If I did ratings in decimals, I'd honestly give it 4.9 stars. Besides the fact that ending felt very rushed, its a beautiful and fascinating story of Jando Flores and his fall from the son of privilege to becoming a guerilla fighter. The description of Philippines during the 1960s is incredibly beautiful, as well as a very fascinating history that I'm positive many people aren't aware of. I grew to really like and enjoy multiple characters that inhabited these pages, and I would highly recommend that this book be read, at least in order to learn history of Philippines as well as see a master in writing. What I wasn't happy with is the end. I honestly felt that new plots were introduced at the very end, and they weren't properly addressed.
Quick Notes: This is a review for Making Connections
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)