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Dusk: A Novel (Modern Library Paperbacks) [Kindle Edition]

F. Sionil Jose
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $19.00
Kindle Price: $2.99
You Save: $16.01 (84%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

With Dusk (originally published in the Philippines as Po-on), F. Sionil Jose begins his five-novel Rosales Saga, which the poet and critic Ricaredo Demetillo called "the first great Filipino novels written in English." Set in the 1880s, Dusk records the exile of a tenant family from its village and the new life it attempts to make in the small town of Rosales. Here commences the epic tale of a family unwillingly thrown into the turmoil of history. But this is more than a historical novel; it is also the eternal story of man's tortured search for true faith and the larger meaning of existence. Jose has achieved a fiction of extraordinary scope and passion, a book as meaningful to Philippine literature as One Hundred Years of Solitude is to Latin American literature.

"The foremost Filipino novelist in English, his novels deserve a much wider readership than the Philippines can offer."--Ian Buruma, New York Review of Books

"Tolstoy himself, not to mention Italo Svevo, would envy the author of this story."--Chicago Tribune

Editorial Reviews Review

The Philippines are an Asian anomaly: a primarily Catholic nation bred on European and American culture, the country has long been subjugated by foreign powers and homegrown dictators alike, leaving the people to quietly endure. But as F. Sionil José proves, they have never been silenced. One of the premier novelists in the Philippines (he won the Magsaysay Award, the Asian equivalent of the Nobel, in 1980), José's acclaimed Rosales saga chronicles the Filipino struggles and triumphs during the 20th century. Dusk, the fifth book in the saga but the first released in the United States, showcases a writer who deserves a much wider audience.

This rich historical novel takes place at the end of the 19th century as the Filipinos, with the aid of the Americans, finally expelled the Spanish after three centuries of often brutal rule. Major themes are on display here--war and peace; rich versus poor; tyranny versus freedom--all passionately presented within the context of one man and his family. After being unjustly dismissed from the seminary by a corrupt priest and then suffering the death of his brother at the hands of Spanish authorities, Istak Samson is forced to flee from increasing oppression and lead his family on a journey for a new home. This harsh quest from the coast to the central plains eventually leads Samson to find love, peace, and relative prosperity, as well as provide a device for José to vividly describe the beauty and complexity of his homeland and to elaborate on the cultural effects of Spanish occupation. The joy Samson finds, like Philippine independence, is short-lived, as the Filipinos soon engage in a bloody conflict with the Americans, who have substituted Spanish imperialism with their own. Unable to reconcile his pacifist nature with his sense of duty to his country, Samson reluctantly joins the rebel forces in their battle to reassert their freedom. After setting the stage for tragedy, José does not follow an easy route to a happy ending but instead builds to a climax that is moving, if not unexpected. In telling his epic tale from the perspective of a common peasant, José lends a powerful voice to a people long trapped in the midst of historical upheaval.

From Publishers Weekly

Tapping a mostly unknown chapter in American history, Jose, one of the Philippines' most prominent authors, has created a vivid chronicle of Filipino life on the eve of the Spanish-American War. Set in the deep Filipino countryside in an area penetrated only by the Catholic church, the novel charts the fortunes of Istak, a member of the Ilokono tribe who trained as an acolyte under a kind priest. Able to speak Spanish and Latin and more comfortable writing than farming, Istak finds himself distanced from his family's simple village life. Driven off their land, Istak's family is beset on all sides, traveling across unknown territory and under attack by other tribes and Spanish soldiers. Istak's emerging political awareness coincides with the invasion of the Philippines by American forces, and he finds that his educated status obliges him to play a role in this conflict as well. Jose recalls Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his concern for the effects of national politics on peasant life, though this book doesn't match Marquez for character sophistication or verbal acrobatics. Readers unfamiliar with the history of the region may wish for more background on the prevailing political conditions?which are probably well known to the book's original audience. Jose also never provides much insight into the "enemy"?either the church or the invading Americans. Still, this novel is a solid introduction to one of Southeast Asia's most respected voices. (May) FYI: Jose is editor and publisher of the literary journal Solidarity, as well as founding president of the Philippines PEN center. Dusk is part of his five-part Rosales saga. A previous novel, Sins, was also published in America by Random House.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1251 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; 1st edition (March 20, 2013)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BKK6F6C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #524,945 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In Need of More Recognition January 29, 2000
Initially, I intended to read Dusk simply in order to finish my research concerning Filipino Literature. When I completed reading this novel, however, I found myself more deeply reflective about my own history as a Filipino-American as well as the effects of Spanish colonization.
What Jose achieves in writing Dusk is a window: a window into the detrimental psychological and social effects of a people under oppression and assimilation. Within the confines of the novel itself, the characters shift and become symbols expressing the themes of loss, anger, and confusion. There is a lot to be learned from the characters and their fate: People can be forced into submission physically, but the spirit is made of an unbreakable bond. A people under oppression eventually break free.
Jose reclaims his Filipino heritage by recognizing the history that is a cornerstone to most modern perceptions and attitudes. This book is a definite piece to read in re/constructing one's knowledge of the Philippines, its history, or simply as a tool to understanding the overall impact of oppression/colonization.
This book is a great resource, and moving piece of literature. If you are a fan of Jose's work, share these same ideas, or curious about these issues just as much as I am then feel free to e-mail me.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent work of historical fiction October 19, 2000
By A Customer
I used this novel for a college course that I teach, and my students loved it. It really peaked their interest in Filipino history, the Spanish-American war, and the history of Christianity in the Philippines. It is a beautifully written book; a wonderful way to introduce students to a variety of issues, including colonialism (especially Spanish and U.S. imperialism in the pacific), Christianity in Asia, and Filipino studies.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A history of oppressed people November 19, 2001
In this work, F. Sionil Jose writes a kind of folk tale, describing the long history of what could be his family. Istak, the main character is clearly styled to be the hero of the story, undergoing a development from self-centered scholar, then father of a family and barrio to becoming a true Filipino patriot who is willing to give his life for the nation. During this development, Jose shows the suffering of the poor people, from various oppressors, but much more intense than Rizal did. Where Rizal mentions an injustice that happens, Jose shows ist in all details. And he also shows the heroism of the poor people, and he makes clear that it is the poor people that matters when it comes to building a nation that deserves this name.
A must for every reader who wantsto know more about history and psychology of the Philippines, or respectively, all ex-colonized people.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 - Stars, really.... February 27, 2002
By A Customer
What a wonderful book! As soon as I read the opening pages of the novel, I was hooked, couldn't put it down. I sometimes forgot I was turning pages. The vivid characters, the sceneries, the events, the history, Filipiniana..I was awestruck with to learn about my roots. Growing up in the US, I rarely had the chance to read about Philippine history. This book opened up so much for me. All my five senses were in use at almost every page. F. Sionil Jose can really weave a tale, a writer par exellance. I quickly bought the sequels to this opening "Rosales" saga and am looking forward to reading them. I am sure they are just as captivating. Maraming salamat po (thank you very much) to Mr. Jose and to the publishers.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening, engaging January 22, 2001
By A Customer
I got my hands on this (Dusk) book by happenstance and enjoyed it immensely. I admire Sionil Jose's incredible talent. I immediately bought the other books (Don Vicente and Samsons) and devoured both of them in four days. These books piqued my deepest sense of pride as a Filipino (and an Ilocano!). I am also saddened at the helplessness and hopelessness of the filipino masses. Read it simply for the enjoyment of a well-written book, and/or to learn and understand a complex people.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind-blowing Prose May 10, 1999
By A Customer
This is an amazing account of Philippine history never found in the history book sof our time. Jose is a poetic writer with an agility with words hardly found with any of his contemporaries. Dusk reads like an epic... true and moving!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any student of Filipino history. October 8, 1998
Hypnotically beautiful... F. Sionil Jose does a wonderful job of pulling the reader into the alternately fascinating and repulsive world of the turn-of-the-century Philippines. You can't help but notice the tension between illusion and reality--that while the setting could be tranquil at times, there is always this underlying anticipation of tragedy, especially with Istak's encounters with the Spanish and the Americans.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As a WWII veteran of Luzon action, I was enthralled August 23, 1998
I found myself envisioning the people and their lives. They were much the same as in 1944-45 when I was at Dagupan, Lingayen, and FLoridablanca on Luzon and at San Roque on Leyte. They have had much hardship and it comes through so vividly in "Dusk" I want to read the other four novels in the Rosales Saga but apparently they are not available.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
The kind of historical novel that lingers around in your mind long after you finish reading it.
Published 9 months ago by Lau Tian Chen
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent novel about the nature of man
This is an excellent novel. It is very well written so I found myself turning the pages quickly. For days after I was done reading it I found myself thinking about those characters... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Lush and passionate
Through lush yet unpretentious prose and a sinuous narrative, DUSK captures the smoldering discontent that created the Philippine nation. Read more
Published on March 21, 2013 by Raul Ramos
4.0 out of 5 stars LOVE IT, But What's up with the Ending!?
I had to read this for a Humanities class and found the book to be very lovable. The writing was marvelous and for the first part of the story, I was just totally in love with it. Read more
Published on February 15, 2013 by iamjdn
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
This fine fine writer is an outstanding introduction to the life and history of the Philippines through his fiction. Read more
Published on January 21, 2011 by columba
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant and Profound
I found this novel to be very poignant and profound. The writing style can be somewhat dry, along the same vein as Rizal's "Noli," but for anyone interested in Philippine history... Read more
Published on July 1, 2009 by Eliza T.
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt Saga of Rosales Family as Affected by War and Cultural...
Sionil Jose is one of many favorite fiction writers. The book on the Rosales' family saga as impacted by the Spanish-American war, politics, military duty, the clash of religion,... Read more
Published on November 10, 2007 by G
2.0 out of 5 stars Yawn
I just couldn't get interested in the subject of this book or any of the characters. Reading it was like swimming in molasses. Read more
Published on February 3, 2003 by Judith C. Kinney
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