“How often would you exclaim words of amazement after reading a book? Not very seldom, I suppose. But amazing words may not suffice as to how I liked the book I just finished reading, Soledad’s Sister. It is, to me, the most well written novel I have ever read. Proudly Pinoy made, I might add (brag). The author Jose Dalisay’s words can be considered as a jewel, a priced and incomparable gem. Nahawa na ata ako haha! Galing kasi eh. I will definitely blog about this hehe! Enjoy the rest of the day, everyone! ;)”
That’s how my group sms went, the one I sent to some friends and relatives yesterday. Not very long after, I’ve received replies telling me that my message alone interests them to read the book. In fact, four of them promised to check it out. I told my cousin that my raving message won’t be even exacting enough, so she might as well read it. I actually found out about this book on the October issue of FHM. I thought the story is interesting so I decided to buy a copy last week when I chanced upon a visit to a National Bookstore in our area. It has also been a while since I’ve read something homegrown. The last time I remember were those of Nicanor David Jr.’s Kwentong Tambay, all six of Bob Ong’s books, and even way before my high school days, the B1Gang Adventure & Mystery Series.
I am not much of a critic nor an expert on literature and its vast spectrum of ideas and what not’s that entails with it, so this entry slash review slash reaction would be just as simple and as average a layman like me can conceive. Soledad’s Sister is indeed a rave worthy piece. Brilliantly made with its carefully structured approach, bore would actually be an understatement. Reading this puts me into a different state of elation, even if I always get sleepy everytime I got home after work, which is the only time I can read. Marveled with such a cunning plot, I found it difficult to put it down.
What I enjoyed most in this book is reading how the author amazingly sees and describes persons and things involved in a magnificent manner. I mean, I would have never looked at those shanty areas the way Mr. Dalisay sees it. My imagination really run wild in those three days I spent reading it. Here are some excerpts to justify what I want to further explain: (I just hope the author wouldn’t mind if I include some, if ever he stumbled upon this blog of mine)
- “The tricycle halted many meters past a house behind what looked, in the moonlight, like an iron gate painted in a diamond check pattern.”
- “The rain had turned the afternoon and everything in it a dull blue-gray, the surfaces coated with a fine silver sheen. Bayward, where the sky should have been a fiery orange at this time of day, a long gray curtain showed the barest fringe of light where it touched the water.”
- “The crate stood on the landing’s edge, about six feet above the black water, its surface as shiny yet as opaque as obsidian. Here and there a small bubble burst as an amphibian poked its eyes at the starlit world.”
If, and only if, this novel would be adapted into a movie, the director will have a hard time. It would be outrightly difficult, having the book’s outstanding and compelling perspective adapted into the big screen. It’s an exciting idea, however, but I don’t think one can actually adapt it the way the author and the readers saw and felt it through their minds. Well, movies and novels are two totally different things and I don’t think I am making any sense here. I’ll just probably think of who’s fitting to play the roles of Soli, Walter and Rory.
Speaking of the characters, the one I liked most was Soli’s. There’s a lot of mystery and heart in her, I think. Full of questions in mind, jealous and hated at times, bothered and disturbed, but she really appeals to me. Rory, on the other hand, was a typical town girl for me. A girl with great ambitions in life, but only had limited means. I liked, however, how she appreciates her ate’s concerns for her, and loved her in the end. Even promised to outdo everything she’s done. Which is a good way of looking at things that have gone worse. Walter is an interesting man, too. Although he made some mistakes in the past, still he has this undying love for his family. All the three main characters, their lives and struggles, are gently woven together and made the story more heart warming, one won’t even trade it for a dime.
After reading it yesterday, I did some research about it and the first review I happened to read seemed to have looked at it on a different way, mentioning about some Filipino evil traits (which obviously every nationality has) that was put into light, and that it has to have a universal theme or appeal (or something like that). Well, it was only his opinion, anyway. It just kind of spoiled the whole thing for me. Good thing I already finished reading the book before chancing on his review. Also, some further research made me learn that the book was launched on my birthday! Last July 31st. And because of that, I will definitely love it more.
And oh, before I forgot, Soledad’s Sister was shortlisted on The Man Asian Literary Prize 2007. Which proves that it is an essential reading. Go get a copy and be enthralled by Jose Dalisay’s mighty pen! 😉