Illustrado by Miguel Syjuco

Illustrado

Miguel Syjuco

A patchwork of a book, starring the author himself as his own hero. A book about books, writing, literature and the Philippines presented as a tapestry of narratives - thriller, autobiography, broadcasts, texts, emails ... you name it. If it sounds complicated, that's because it is; it intrigued, confused, amused and annoyed me all at the same time. A challenging, unusual read with some really daft Philippino jokes.

Extract

I say hello to a group of writers who remember me. They are clustered in the corner of the room, like a few last Cheerios in a bowl of milk. It's been a lifetime! one exclaims. How long are you here for? asks a second. I tell them a week. Only? says a third. What have you been up to all these years? asks a fourth. I tell them I'm writing a book. They raise their eyebrows and paste on smiles. What's it about? a fifth one inquires. I tell them, to throw them off: 'It's a novel about a young writer's death in a flood and how his teacher is moved to redeem the senseless loss by writing about the what-ifs.' Fascinating! a sixth one condescends. Where's it set? I reply: 'The Philippines.'

Parallels
  • The Match by Romesh Gunesekera
  • Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges
  • Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie