Insurrecto

Narrated by: Justine Eyre
Length: 6 hrs and 58 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Two women, a Filipino translator and an American filmmaker, go on a road trip in Duterte's Philippines, collaborating and clashing in the writing of a film script about a massacre during the Philippine-American War. 

Chiara is working on a film about an incident in Balangiga, Samar, in 1901, when Filipino revolutionaries attacked an American garrison, and in retaliation, American soldiers created "a howling wilderness" of the surrounding countryside. Magsalin reads Chiara's film script and writes her own version. Insurrecto contains within its dramatic action two rival scripts from the filmmaker and the translator - one about a white photographer, the other about a Filipino schoolteacher.

Insurrecto masterfully questions and twists narrative in the manner of Italo Calvino's If on a Winter's Night a Traveler, Julio Cortazar's Hopscotch, and Nabokov's Pale Fire. But at its heart this is a novel of emotional power that grapples with our endless ability to erase the past. Apostol pushes up against the limits of fiction in order to recover the atrocity in Balangiga, and in so doing, she reveals the dark heart of an untold and forgotten war that would shape the next century of Philippine and American history.

©2018 Gina Apostol (P)2018 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating story, grating performance

The writing is, for the most part, excellent. I enjoyed the unusual subject matter a great deal. The big disappointment was the performance. Eyre pronounces the Filipino language well; however, she ends nearly every single phrase of dialogue with a nasal vocal fry that comes off as extremely contrived. One has to intentionally work to insert that much vocal fry into dialogue; it’s quite annoying and distracting.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
  • AJ
  • 12-12-18

Not my favorite

Maybe I've been spoiled by how good Elaine Castillo's America Is Not the Heart (and narrator Donnabella Mortel) was, and it might be unfair of me to compare these two - but I couldn't finish this. The story is ambitious, the history is intriguing and Magsalin and Chiara are intriguing characters, but it's all much too complex for audio. But it was the performance that finally sank this for me. The narrator was puzzlingly soft, almost at a whisper, and the last word of her sentences ended with a rising tone. The Filipino pronunciation was uneven - some words (Magsalin, Balangiga) were perfect, others (most notably, Tagalog) were inexcusable. The characters' voices made them feel flat. It was not an enjoyable listen for me overall.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Insurrecto

A masterpiece. Brilliantly written novel, nostalgic and funny. I can't stop listening until it's done.

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  • JM Bradley
  • 01-22-20

A Nearly Great B Movie

I enjoyed this book very much. It gave me pleasure, for which I give thanks to the writer and narrator.

If this book were a movie, which in a sense it is, then it would be a gem of a B movie, rather than a Hollywood blockbuster. Something stumbled upon by accident, but which grips the viewer.

This is not intended to be damnation by faint praise. I believe there is some greatness in this book and if the author is crazy enough to keep going, I would not be at all surprised if she produces something else that is truly extraordinary.

The narration is first class. However, there is one thing that made me want, like the oft mentioned Elvis, to do the equivalent of pull out my gun and shoot the TV ... or at least shout a string of expletives (I don't actually have a gun).

This one thing refers to the crime of saying the word AMOK as amuk. I don't know if the word is written incorrectly by the author, or spoken wrong by the narrator. The word amok is an Indonesian word received into English.

Anyway, if you have any interest or love for the Philippines and want to listen to a well told story, then I recommend Insurrecto 100%.

Thank you again Gina Apostol.

Kind regards John Martin Bradley