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The Bamboo Dancers (Filipino Literary Classics)

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In the Philippines, the caste of “untouchables” is not the impoverished peasant but the elite leadership, on which society depends so much for patronage, but from which the masses more commonly have received indifference, cruelty, and betrayal of purpose. In the Bamboo Dancers... Gonzalez’s characters are discovered rather than explained. They present themselves without com In the Philippines, the caste of “untouchables” is not the impoverished peasant but the elite leadership, on which society depends so much for patronage, but from which the masses more commonly have received indifference, cruelty, and betrayal of purpose. In the Bamboo Dancers... Gonzalez’s characters are discovered rather than explained. They present themselves without comment from the author. Such subtlety and disciplined self-restraint keep Gonzalez’s fiction far from the ordinary “literature of protest” ... Perhaps Gonzalez’s constant attentiveness to the manner of speech, and even to silence, owes much to his culture’s reliance, for unobtrusive communication, on courteous consideration of others... Gonzalez’s craft is perfectly expressive of these Asian aspects of Philippine folkways.- Leonard Casper, Critical Survey of Long Fiction


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In the Philippines, the caste of “untouchables” is not the impoverished peasant but the elite leadership, on which society depends so much for patronage, but from which the masses more commonly have received indifference, cruelty, and betrayal of purpose. In the Bamboo Dancers... Gonzalez’s characters are discovered rather than explained. They present themselves without com In the Philippines, the caste of “untouchables” is not the impoverished peasant but the elite leadership, on which society depends so much for patronage, but from which the masses more commonly have received indifference, cruelty, and betrayal of purpose. In the Bamboo Dancers... Gonzalez’s characters are discovered rather than explained. They present themselves without comment from the author. Such subtlety and disciplined self-restraint keep Gonzalez’s fiction far from the ordinary “literature of protest” ... Perhaps Gonzalez’s constant attentiveness to the manner of speech, and even to silence, owes much to his culture’s reliance, for unobtrusive communication, on courteous consideration of others... Gonzalez’s craft is perfectly expressive of these Asian aspects of Philippine folkways.- Leonard Casper, Critical Survey of Long Fiction

30 review for The Bamboo Dancers (Filipino Literary Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    This work is so simple, it's easy to dismiss by a non-careful reader. On an action-level, it's not lively, but if one is knowledgeable of the historical and cultural contexts its stark metaphors allude to and, in some ways, illuminate, a very subtle brilliance can be gleaned. It's a more laid-back book than most, and lives more in the gentle surprise of lovely language and concepts than go-go plot or quirky characters. Probably a book more for the mind and a creative heart (the protagonist is a This work is so simple, it's easy to dismiss by a non-careful reader. On an action-level, it's not lively, but if one is knowledgeable of the historical and cultural contexts its stark metaphors allude to and, in some ways, illuminate, a very subtle brilliance can be gleaned. It's a more laid-back book than most, and lives more in the gentle surprise of lovely language and concepts than go-go plot or quirky characters. Probably a book more for the mind and a creative heart (the protagonist is a sculptor) than a "bruising good read," per se. Probably not for everyone, this novel still remains one of my all-time favorites.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Perez

    Ugly cover, boring story. Sorry, Gonzales.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    how can i read this story?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kiankervy

    I think it was good but i have to read it first to sure that book wa good

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bay

    Well, the book is good, with much subtleties, but I have given it three stars for the following reasons: 1. I did not relate the relationship between the prologue and the main story; 2. My interpretation, I think, in the Japan trip, is the horrors of nuclear warfare. Again, it does not have a relation with the main story; 3. I did not get why Ernie was in the US. The Bamboo Dancers, as the title suggests, is the Tinikling, which many Filipinos overseas can be related into. The Filipino overseas, i Well, the book is good, with much subtleties, but I have given it three stars for the following reasons: 1. I did not relate the relationship between the prologue and the main story; 2. My interpretation, I think, in the Japan trip, is the horrors of nuclear warfare. Again, it does not have a relation with the main story; 3. I did not get why Ernie was in the US. The Bamboo Dancers, as the title suggests, is the Tinikling, which many Filipinos overseas can be related into. The Filipino overseas, in turn, have the nostalgia of home, just like Ernie feel. This is my first NVM Gonzalez book, and I hope his other works will be as subtle as this one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sea Aloba

    ang taba ng utak nyo gusto kong basahin ung libro ayaw nyo nmn ipakita mga utak palaka

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shuji

    i need this one

  8. 4 out of 5

    Em

    I love how subtle this is.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Reading this book I felt constantly that I was missing something. Very little exegesis is given; it reads as if we are dropped into the middle of conversations full of significance and history and we have to try to figure it out (I felt this way reading Hills Like White Elephants when I was in middle school, so maybe I need to wait twenty years or so and read this again). I like it, but I’m not sure I get it. There's this sort of affectless narrator, traveling around the world seemingly at rando Reading this book I felt constantly that I was missing something. Very little exegesis is given; it reads as if we are dropped into the middle of conversations full of significance and history and we have to try to figure it out (I felt this way reading Hills Like White Elephants when I was in middle school, so maybe I need to wait twenty years or so and read this again). I like it, but I’m not sure I get it. There's this sort of affectless narrator, traveling around the world seemingly at random (New York-Vermont-New York-San Francisco-Tokyo-Kyoto-Hiroshima), existing at a remove from all those he encounters, even his lovers and family. It reads like a lot of your favorite manly midcentury writers—Hemingway, Kerouac, Salinger (if I were going to be cruel I might describe it as Salinger without the heart, Kerouac without the enthusiasm, and Hemingway with more sensitivity...but it's better than that makes it sound). The Hemingway influence is perhaps intentional (at one point he tells his lover she looks like Lady Brett Ashley) but there is slightly too much emotion and too much exuberance for Hemingway. Slightly. Not that I would describe the work as exuberant (it’s fairly flat) but not quite as flat as Hemingway. There's a lot I don't remember about this book, but one of the few scenes that really stands out in my mind is when the narrator, Ernie, is invited to dinner at a Filipino couple's house in the US, and the way the smell of the food cooking reminds him of home. It is perhaps the most emotion we see from him, even in a book that involves a senseless hit-and-run killing and a tour of post-nuclear Hiroshima. It captured, for me, the feeling of constant tension that comes with living in a foreign country, the way that things are always just a little bit different from what you grew up with. Sometimes you're not even aware of the ways it wears you down until you are presented with something you didn't even know you were missing, like a home-cooked meal with ingredients from your childhood. I very much doubt this was the point of the book, but two years out that is my major takeaway. This is a condensed version of a review that I published on my blog, Around the World in 2000 Books.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Judith

    beautiful

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rezl Hernandez

    humhumhumhumhumhumhumhumhumhumhumhum... BORING

  12. 4 out of 5

    Princess Naling

    great

  13. 4 out of 5

    REGINE

    I really recommended to my study

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jhamzs Villanueva

    dsadasdsadasdsadsfdfdsf

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jamaica Camille

    how can i read this!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lady Peco

  17. 5 out of 5

    Leo

  18. 4 out of 5

    Roger Adrian

  19. 4 out of 5

    Robert Flora

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aia

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jim Jim

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tinah Ofong

  23. 4 out of 5

    Safiyyah

  24. 4 out of 5

    John Patrick

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maryrose

  26. 5 out of 5

    Francis Jimenez

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ezsie Cabrera-Cencilla

  28. 4 out of 5

    Genesis

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mary Joy

  30. 4 out of 5

    Allen Melody

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