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.
“Before the Rain takes us to the exotic and pillaged places of the earth, through rain-swept streets and wine-soaked nights and into the hearts of two passionate, revolutionary women who dared to love and lose; and lived to dare again. A wild, brave, truthful story.”
--Carole DeSanti, author of The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R
“What is more exotic and unknowable than love? … Spare, precise and soulful, Before the Rain is an epic travelogue of the heart. It has the urgency of a front page news story, but then, no matter what is happening in the world, love is always revolutionary when it happens to you.”
-Bob Morris, author of Assisted Loving
"A friendship between two journalists covering the Philippines Revolution of 1986 deepens into a passionate, far-flung love affair in this serenely capable work...as Torregrosa fashions in her oblique and beautiful fashion, the two women could never really acknowledge their love publicly, underscoring a sad truth to this memorable work."
It is a beautiful sharing of detail.
While I personally can't feel approving of the relationship, I do appreciate how the author expresses her feelings openly without any gory physical descriptions.
In any event, though, I think this book is timely, powerful and very honest, and am glad I had the opportunity to read it.
Beautifully written; wide range of emotions; does not disappoint. Torregrossa elegantly writes with apparent ease of her internal emotions enabling the reader to live the ups and... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Kristen N.
It seems that it is `all about the drama'...how this love story memoir evolved between Luisita and Elizabeth... Read morePublished 21 months ago by An Educated Consumer
It is a detailed and poetic flashback throughout the world and journalism during political events. Exciting yet so romantic. Its definitely a must read! Read morePublished 21 months ago by Alex
Before the Rain is an incredibly beautiful work of literary art. Written with such honesty, I felt like a close friend trusted with the most secret and sacred moments of another... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Crystal
This is a beautiful book about the intricacies of, sure, a same sex relationship but also back stories of revolution and journalism in a place I knew very little about. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Nancy F.
To be honest I didn't enjoy this book much, but I give the author a lot of credit for writing something different and original in the current rather bland publishing environment. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Katie Luther
I feel I should get a medal for actually finishing this book. It was a long, hard, journey. One night, I just sat & finished not because I enjoyed it (really, I wanted to put it... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Shannon B Davis
Before the Rain is a fairly dull memoir-ish novel about a woman's affair with a journalist colleague which spans close to a decade and several mostly Asian localities. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Steve
Torregrosa's memoir is difficult for me to describe. While it tells the story of her relationship with Elizabeth and their time together, a portion of it is also spent depicting... Read morePublished on August 28, 2012 by Tina Says