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Linmark (Rolling the R's) cunningly follows Philippines-born Vince De Los Reyes through the trials and surprises awaiting him upon his return to his home country after spending 13 years in Hawaii. Filipino emigres are often known as "balikbayans"-a distinction, Vince finds as soon as he reaches Philippines customs, that is fraught with political and cultural implications. Having won a contest, Vince has returned to free accommodations and fanfare, but he's not prepared for the heat, politics, and eccentric characters that accompany life in Manila. He immediately falls for a cab driver and, at a celebrity-studded party, befriends a famous activist nun, an acclaimed director, and the actress daughter of the country's president. Within the narrative of Vince's Manila sojourn and the teasing out of his dark past, Linmark intersperses tongue-in-cheek tourist tips ("staring is a favorite Filipino pastime") and revealing postcards Vince writes to friends back in Hawaii. As quirky and funny as its oddball characters, Linmark's latest is a unique, colorful portrait of cross-cultural experience and a view into the complexities of modern-day Philippines through the prism of an ex-pat's self-discovery and quasi-homecoming. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Linmark (Rolling the R's) offers both a meditation on what it means to be Filipino and an exuberant, affectionate, irreverent love letter to the city of Manila from one of its own. The protagonist, 23-year-old Vince, who was born in Manila but immigrated to Hawaii early in life, returns after a long absence, seeking to understand his heritage. Linmark, who like Vince has lived in both Manila and Hawaii, develops a lively and engaging narrative voice as he skillfully juxtaposes these two very different cultures. He presents Manila in vivid, gritty, and often unflattering detail, showing us heat, humidity, sprawl, pollution, beggars, squatters, vendors, blackouts, stray dogs, and traffic, along with a sordid and harrowing colonial history. Vince is gay and single, and Linmark depicts his determined search for love sympathetically. This is a jaunty, kaleidoscopic novel that amusingly chronicles the many challenges Vince faces moving between cultures. VERDICT Recommended for readers of lighthearted literary fiction.-Patrick Sullivan, Manchester Community Coll., CT (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Linmark (Rolling the R's, 1997) delivers a harrowing tale of love, family, and cultural bewilderment, a sardonically funny and vibrant novel about one man's journey to his past. After winning a contest that grants him a VIP pass to the Philippine version of a Hollywood party, 23-year-old Filipino American Vince returns to his native country after living in Hawaii for 13 years. But from the moment he first encounters the dreadful traffic, oppressive heat, and sheer chaos that make up life in Manila, Vince isn't sure he's ready to be back. He quickly falls for Dante, a cab driver with a wife and three kids, and encounters an activist-actress nun, a celebrated filmmaker, and the country's First Daughter. Comprised of memories, irreverent tourist tips (Three out of five Filipinos fall in and out of love every day), scripts, picture postcards, bits of Philippine history, and dreams, Linmark's novel reads like a bittersweet love letter to a vast and perplexing nation. This is a story of heritage, sexuality, and self-discovery that is as riveting as its locale is complex.--Fullmer, Jonatha. Copyright 2010 Booklist