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Don Vicente: Two Novels (Modern Library Paperbacks) [Kindle Edition]

F. Sionil Jose
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $23.00
Kindle Price: $2.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Written in elegant and precise prose, Don Vicente contains two novels in F. Sionil José's classic Rosales Saga. The saga, begun in José's novel Dusk, traces the life of one family, and that of their rural town of Rosales, from the Philippine revolution against Spain through the arrival of the Americans to, ultimately, the Marcos dictatorship.
The first novel here, Tree, is told by the loving but uneasy son of a land overseer. It is the story of one young man's search for parental love and for his place in a society with rigid class structures. The tree of the title is a symbol of the hopes and dreams--too often dashed--of the Filipino people.
The second novel, My Brother, My Executioner, follows the misfortunes of two brothers, one the editor of a radical magazine who is tempted by the luxury of the city, the other an activist who is prepared to confront all of his enemies, real or imagined. The critic I. R. Cruz called it "a masterly symphony" of injustice, women, sex, and suicide.
Together in Don Vicente, they form the second volume of the five-novel Rosales Saga, an epic the Chicago Tribune has called "a masterpiece."

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The publisher has chosen to combine two novels (Tree and My Brother, My Executioner) in this second volume of the reissued Rosales Saga by Filipino writer Jos?. The two works, first published in Manila in 1924, are loosely held together by geographyAboth take place in the PhilippinesAand by the presence of Don Vincente Asperri, a rapacious feudal landlord. In the first, less interesting, section, a middle-aged man looks back on his youth as the son of the overseer for Don Vincente. Characters amble across the stage, tell their story or anecdote, then disappear: an old priest lives in abject poverty in order to save money for church renovations; a young man learns he cannot fight the establishment when he is betrayed by the very people he wants to help. The longer section deals with Luis Asperri, the illegitimate son of the "all-powerful, all-devouring" Don Vincente. Luis and his half-brother Victor (same mother, different fathers) choose opposing sides in a peasant uprising. Luis, though Don Vincente's heir, considers himself liberal. He writes poetry and edits a left-wing magazine, but in many ways he is as heartless as his father. At Don Vincente's insistence, in order to keep the family fortune intact, Luis marries a cousin instead of his city girlfriend, with tragic results all around. When the chips are down, he will not divest himself of his lands as his brother Victor, leader of the revolutionary Huks, demands. Jos?Afounding president of the Philippines PEN Center, bookseller, and editor and publisher of a literary journalAfills the story with melodramatic events (a mad woman in an attic, a deformed baby) and with heavy-handed political rhetoric, perhaps better suited to essays. As a result, both narratives seem somewhat unsophisticated. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The second in the prominent Filipino author's five-volume "Rosales Saga" (following Dusk), this two-part novel covers Filipino history in the 1950s, focusing on the social inequality rooted in the plantation system. Jos? details the harmful effects for both the oppressed and their oppressors, chronicling the birth of an uprising to transform Filipino society. The unnamed son of a plantation manager narrates "Tree," the first part of the novel. He recalls awakening to his father's culpability in subjugating other Filipinos in his hometown. The father works for a more powerful landowner, Don Vicente, whose illegitimate son Luis gives voice to the second, definitely stronger part, "My Brother, My Executioner." Once a victim of the system, Luis goes to live with Don Vicente, reaping the benefits of his father's exploitation. He also suffers deeply when he must leave his family behind amidst harsh, impoverished living conditions. This intense work is recommended for most collections.AFaye A. Chadwell, Univ. of Oregon Libs., Eugene
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1399 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; 1st edition (March 20, 2013)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BKK6F7Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #892,229 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Dramatized Ideological Debate June 4, 2000
By A Customer
I have always regarded F. Sionil Jose as one of the best Filipino authors. Don Vicente, as most of of Jose's books, is sharp-eyed in its observation of the class struggle still prevalent in Philippine society. While the novel is set in the 1950s, the ideological conflict between half-brothers Luis and Victor, presented in the second part of the novel, is still very much real today. Luis' struggle portrays how material comfort can make man turn his back on his personal ideals.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Part 2 and 3 of the Rosales Saga November 19, 2001
Two books in one. The first story of a boy growing up in a small town as the son of the controller for the local landowner. Through a series of encounters, the reader follows the growing distance of the boy from his father, whom he first loves, then respects and then hates. The second story is about Luis, the illegtimate son of Don Vicente, the rich landowner, and his half-brother Victor, who becomes a rebel commander. After being educated in Manila, Luis becomes a journalist with liberal to leftist tendencies. When his father dies, he inherits the land and becomes just the patriarchan landowner that his father was before. Because of this, he comes into conflict with his half-brother, and the end of the book is the final encounter of the two brothers.
On the surface, both books seem to show father-son conflicts, but it is not just generation this book is about. It is about a history of injustice and the urgent need for land reform. Anyway, Jose shows that there will never be a land reform a nd just society as long as the owners of the land have a say in it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Don Vicente July 17, 2010
By Bruce
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed both novels very much. I thought the first, The Tree, to be the best. It made its point in a more subtle way. The images of rural life in the Philippines were well drawn. Both novels illustrate how privilege in a society with gross economic disparity can corrupt. The elite as well as the masses suffer. This is a central theme in the recent novel Ilustrado by Miquel Syjuco . I wonder if Crispin in Illustrado was in part inspired by Jose.
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