Talking to the Moon
By (author) Noel Alumit
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Talking to the Moon by Noel Alumit
Book DescriptionWhen Jory Lalaban, a Filipino postman, finds himself the target of a racially motivated shooting, he is forced to confront long buried memories of his life in the Philippines how he came to abandon the priesthood to become a worshipper of the Moon; his youth in an orphanage after World War II; the devastating "curse" that forced him and his new bride, Belen, to flee the Philippines for the United States. The shooting makes international headlines, disturbing the quiet life of the Lalabans, a family forced to face its darkest fears. The reader is introduced to a cast of memorable characters like Emerson Lalaban, the son who talks to his dead brother on the phone, but fails to properly communicate his feelings to the man he loves; Michael, Emerson's Taiwanese boyfriend, who vows to never fall in love with an American again; the wife Belen Lalaban, a woman who hears the quirky voice of the Virgin Mary; and William, the racist gunman who demands to be heard. Inspired by an actual event, this funny, rich novel unflinchingly tackles the most explosive topics facing America today: race, religion, and sexuality. .
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780786716296
(210mm x 140mm x 20mm)
Imprint: Carroll & Graf Publishers Inc
Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers Inc
Publish Date: 13-Dec-2006
Country of Publication: United States
US Kirkus Review » One man's near-fatal shooting unlocks his family's secrets about faith, finances and sexuality.Alumit's second novel (Letters to Montgomery Clift, not reviewed) is inspired by the 1999 shootings at a Los Angeles Jewish school, during which a Filipino-American postal worker was killed. In this story's version of events, mailman Jory Lalaban survives, and while confined to his hospital bed, he contemplates the life that was nearly cut short-a childhood in an orphanage where he was raised by Jesuits; his shotgun marriage to a wealthy girl, Belen; his love of transcendentalism and conversion to a moon-worshipping faith; and the death of his son Jun. Meanwhile, his immediate family has its own concerns. Belen, who works as a nurse, grows panicky about the ever-escalating hospital bill, and fears that Jory's shooting is proof of her mother's curse on her for becoming pregnant. Emerson, their eldest son, is a shy and neurotic gay man, and he anxiously strives to work up the nerve to speak publicly about his father while reaching out for the comfort of his estranged boyfriend, Michael, a flight attendant from Taiwan. In general, the focus here alternates from Jory to Belen to Emerson, a structure that lets the reader engage with each character's idiosyncrasies; Belen, for instance, believes she has a direct line to the Virgin Mary, while Emerson is comforted by cell-phone calls from his deceased brother. But though Alumit is skilled when it comes to characterization-the tension between Emerson and Michael is nicely rendered-the novel is so stuffed with good intentions that it becomes tedious. Alumit makes an honorable plea for the reader to understand Filipino culture, Jory's faith, Emerson's homosexuality and the way a child's death rends a family, but by the closing chapters, the narrative is firmly locked into tearjerker mode-its spiritual elements, initially intriguing, ultimately feel like bits of greeting-card sentimentality.A family-tragedy tale that makes some familiar pleas for understanding before wheezing to the finish line. (Kirkus Reviews)
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