"Two half-Filipino brothers can pass for white, but their mother cannot; painful conflicts are in store for everybody in this complex exploration of racism in California, starting in 1993, a year after the Rodney King Riots." --New York Times editors, Notable Books of 2001
"Heartbreaking...American Son is a gripping book." --Aleksandar Hemon, New York Times Book Review.
"(A) beautiful collection…elegant…The sudden revelations in these stories make them very raw, convincing, nostalgic yet lyrical and the endings are filled with a faint whiff of sorrow that will never completely die.
One very good reason to love this book? I have a particular liking for Jhumpa Lahiri’s way of writing and what she chooses to write about: the Bengali Indian diaspora and Indian Immigrants. The Last Mistress of Jose Rizal is an enchanting book for this same reason. As a reader I can immediately identify with all the characters: individuals who have their roots somewhere else than where they now ‘choose’ to belong. Life changes, friends change, families stay back in another country or move to a new place, language changes, memories change and for that matter, in a strange way History also packs itself in our baggage and moves with us."
-New pages (click for full review)
“A grandmother obsesses over her granddaughter’s un-Catholic upbringing. A son visits his estranged father at a hospital where he is under a suicide watch. A family imports a young maid from the Philippines, and all hell, with love, breaks loose. In the eyes of a dog, a boy reconnects with his deceased father. A war veteran migrates to Los Angeles and moves into the overcrowded home of his sister’s family to take care of their aging mother.
Written with seemingly effortless grace and in clean-eyed prose, the short stories in Roley’s long-awaited collection are poignant, intimate, and heartbreaking. These interlinked narratives—all the characters are from the same multi-generational family—offer refreshing perspectives of the Philippine experience in America and what it means to be a Filipino, or a Filipino American, in the country of dreams where they have to constantly make do with the odds; surrender to the scars of war, childhood, and family; endure failed hopes and loves; and grapple with the contradictions of living in between cultures, homes, and memories.”
--R. Zamora Linmark, author of Leche and These Books Belong to Ken Z