Three generations of women from one immigrant family trying to reconcile the home they left behind with the life they're building in America.How many lives can one person lead in a single lifetime? When Hero de Vera arrives in America, disowned by her parents in the Philippines, she's already on her third. Her uncle, Pol, who has offered her a fresh start and a place to stay in the Bay Area, knows not to ask about her past. And his younger wife, Paz, has learned enough about the might and secrecy of the De Vera family to keep her head down. Only their daughter Roni asks Hero why her hands seem to constantly ache.Illuminating the violent political history of the Philippines in the 1980s and 1990s and the insular immigrant communities that spring up in the suburban United States with an uncanny ear for the unspoken intimacies and pain that get buried by the duties of everyday life and family ritual, Castillo delivers a powerful, increasingly relevant novel about the promise of the American dream and the unshakable power of the past. In a voice as immediate and startling as those of Junot Diaz and NoViolet Bulawayo, America Is Not the Heart is a sprawling, soulful telenovela of a debut novel. With exuberance, muscularity, and tenderness, here is a family saga; an origin story; a romance; a narrative of two nations and the people who leave home to grasp at another, sometimes turning back....
|Title||:||America Is Not the Heart|
|Number of Pages||:||416 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » America » America Is Not the Heart|
America Is Not the Heart Reviews
I want to admit, right up-front, that it took me awhile to really connect with this story. After all, what did I know about the Philipines? Absolutely nothing. Which meant that much of what I read in the beautifully told prologue and even the first several sections of Hero's story, felt like it went right by me. I had no knowledge of the places, customs - and especially the many passages in Filipino dialects (of which there many) and had trouble connecting with the story.
Once the story shifted t ...more
For a debut author, Elaine Castillo did an excellent job captivating the audience with the Filipino culture and lives of Filipino Americans. It was a real joy to read. Being that I'm Mestiza (1/2 Filipina, 1/2 white) I found myself writing down things I wanted to ask my mom even though she's from another part of the Philippines (Leyte) and speaks a different dialect (Visaya), she was great in answering my questions about Martial Law, foods I never heard of, superstitions and helping family that ...more
I really wanted to like this book. Elaine is an excellent writer and I read lots of good reviews of this book. I was sucked into it from the first page, but the "guts" of the book is slow and the plot doesn't peak until the end. I found myself getting annoyed at a chapter that took 3 or 4 pages for the characters simply to watch a movie.... it didn't move the plot or develop any characters. I did appreciate all the sumptuous descriptions of Filipino dishes which I will be looking up and cooking. ...more
This book was the only one I read in years that had a truly terrible middle. It started strong and ended strong, and the mess in the middle was the hardest part to get through. I wanted to love this book, and was thrilled to receive an ARC through Netgalley. However, despite featuring strong Filipina characters, and despite talking about delicious food on almost every page, the story wasn't as strong as I wanted it to be, although by the end I was mostly satisfied.
The story starts with a nice r ...more
I’m so conflicted about this book! After reading Mia Alver’s IN THE COUNTRY a few years ago I’ve been wanting to read more fiction about the Filipino diaspora so was thrilled to hear about AMERICA IS NOT THE HEART. The prologue pulled me in immediately and I ate it up. But I overinvested in Paz who then almost disappeared from the narrative once Hero, our true protagonist, arrived. Hero is an amazing character and the reveals about her life are handled masterfully but I experienced them at a rem ...more
AINTH takes you down a narrative course that is subversive at every corner.
In Geronimo's young life, she has already seen life in the Philippines from the countryside of Pangasinan, from the mountains of Baguio where she was slowly radicalized and inducted in the New People's Army during her years in college before dropping out, as a political recalcitrant serving as a medic, as a political prisoner for 2 years narrowly escaping death after a series of tortures, and having been estranged from h ...more
Shocking, heartbreaking, deeply affecting, confronting, balls-out, raw, passionate, sensual.
Those are just some of the words I noted down whilst reading this book. An amazing debut from Elaine Castillo who for me epitomises a good writer: someone who is able to convey a range of emotions and feelings that many people would find difficult to articulate.
"There was just a fist of emotion in her chest, but it was too tightly closed to tell just what emotion it was; she figured it was grief, or even ...more
I was really excited to read a queer, Asian, first-generation immigrant story since I haven’t come across many of those. This delivers such a detailed look at the recent history of the Philippines as well as the Filipino immigrant experience(s). I had little knowledge of either of these, so I’m glad I had the chance to read this book to learn about them.
However, I struggled to get into the slow and dense narrative, and the protagonist Hero’s story arc got a bit repetitive. There are a lot of gr ...more