Exclusive Author Essay by Luisita Lopez Torregrosa
Little did I know on a bone-freezing day in January, now a quarter-century ago, that I would gamble on an improbable chase after an illusion halfway around the globe. A gamble that would completely transform my life.
There was a touch of insanity, I have to say, in my decision to break away from an established career, to give up everything to follow a striking and inaccessible young woman who, as chance would have it, was seeking her own way in the world.
That is the heart of the matter in Before the Rain. The story revolves around a magnificent affair that defied social conventions, an edgy and obsessive relationship played out against the tumult of a revolution. It begins in a chaotic Manila, with the People Power revolution of 1986 which overthrew the twenty-year rule of Ferdinand E. Marcos.
Before the Rain evokes in palpable detail the exuberant mood of the revolution, the ecstatic hope of the Filipinos, the bloody coup attempts, and the bizarre legacy that Marcos and his wife, Imelda, left. The cast includes rogue colonels, undercover American operatives, coup plotters who are millionaires, and a clique of foreign correspondents who thrive in a state of high alert, running from bed to bedlam, making backroom deals, and sometimes backstabbing competitors. The days of constant crisis are lightened by the evenings of camaraderie, sexual escapades, star-crossed affairs, and late-night rounds by the pool at the Manila Hotel.
Hemingway once said to a friend, "If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." Manila was our Paris.