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photo by Margarita Corporan

On 17 July, we publish Filipino novelist Gina Apostol’s novel Levi's Mens Capital E Embossed Leather Oxford Shoes Black 2412-07 NEW, her fourth book, all of which were written in English. Insurrecto follows several narrative threads, bouncing between the Philippine-American War in 1901, the 1970s and the present day. In 1901, Filipino insurrectos (as the rebels called themselves) attacked an American garrison on the island of Samar, and American soldiers created ‘a howling wilderness’ of the surrounding countryside in retaliation, murdering thousands of Filipino inhabitants in Balangiga. This real historical event is the backbone of Insurrecto, which also tells the story of the (fictional) American filmmaker, Jivana Men's Sneaker Flat Casual Shoes Black Brown Color DURABLE LeatherVans Mens Geoff Rowley Solos Navy Blue White Canvas Suede Skate Shoes Size 13Ludo Brasi, who went missing in Samar in the 1970s while shooting a movie, The Unintended, inspired by these events. Meanwhile, in the present day, Ludo’s daughter Chiara and the Filipino translator Magsalin go on a road trip in Duterte’s Philippines. Chiara is working on a film about the Balangiga massacre, when Magsalin reads Chiara’s film script and writes her own version of the story. GBX Harpoon Men Slip on shoes Black Moc Loafer Size 7MBass Sport shoes men CASUAL sneakers COMFORT black Nubuck leather US12 CXFWithin the spiralling voices and narrative layers of Insurrecto are stories of women – artists, lovers, revolutionaries, daughters – finding their way to their own truths and histories.

The novel, which was first published by the New York-based independent publishing house Soho Press in late 2018, was hailed in the New York Times as a ‘bravura performance in which war becomes farce, history becomes burlesque … Apostol is a magician with language (think Borges, think Nabokov) who can swing from slang and mockery to the stodgy argot of critical theory. She puns with gusto, potently and unabashedly, until one begins reading double meanings, New Fashion Men's Casual High Top Sport Sneakers Athletic Running Shoes SizeGentlemen/Ladies VIRAL CASUAL WORK SHOES NEW New product Impeccable TRUEallusions and ulterior motives into everything.’ Ahead of the novel’s UK publication, we caught up with Gina over Messenger while she was on holiday in Venice to get her perspective on gender in the novel, the depiction of war and the puzzle-like, non-linear structure which ‘hopscotches through time and space’ (Financial Times).

FITZCARRALDO EDITIONS

Even though you write from the perspective of the American soldiers, the women in Insurrecto are the characters who drive the various narrative threads forward. For example, the filmmaker Ludo Brasi’s story is told by his daughter, his wife and his lover rather than in the first person. Caterpillar Men's Brode Black Steel-Toe Work Shoes - Size 8 P90193Men's  Skechers 6618/CDB Tom Cats Work Shoes Dark BrownThe key ‘insurrecto’ in the book is Casiana Nacionales, a revolutionary also known as the Geronima of Balangiga. Why did you decide to make women so central to the plot?

GINA APOSTOL
I really wanted to decentre men because they often get to be the story in stories of war. Centring women in all stories will give us a truer picture of anything, I think. If you think about any historical or personal story (from Herodotus to Homer to Hiawatha), if you begin imagining what women were thinking, Apis Mt. Emey 718 Black Lycra Orthotic Bunion Casual Shoes - Men's Size 9 (6E)New Men Driving Casual Boat Deck Shoes Leather Moccasin Slip On Loafers Sneakersyou’d get a better picture. The world is in deep shit, as far as I can tell, because the stories have been about men, and told by men. We have to keep thinking of that when we consider the stories we tell. Not to say that women tell only ethical stories or only do ethical things – they do not – but the absence of women’s voices through the centuries – the lopsidedness of history – is telling in the way the world is run right now. I gave to this novel Casiana’s ethical figure. She was an actual woman whose name is inscribed in the Balangiga war memorial, but her story is not told in the war stories even though the Filipino women in that war were central – that’s just the way Filipinos are: Mens DEER STAGS Shoes Size 9 W Brown Tassel Loafers Slip On NWTDr Martens Men Casual Leather Shoes Brown U.S size 8women are central, that is how I have experienced the world. But their stories are hidden, not told. Regarding the filmmaker, I wished to centre the women’s grief, not the filmmaker’s death, which allowed me to focus on living, and loving, and surviving – I think that’s an important story in such deaths. But in terms of writing about history, I will be honest, at this point: I think men have fucked up humanity’s story.

FITZCARRALDO EDITIONS
And yet, your depiction of most of the American soldiers is quite sympathetic. Nothing is black and white and even though we’re cheering on the insurrectos, we’re sad for the loss of young men on both sides. Why did you decide to show the soldiers’ perspectives? Diadora N9000 Bright Protection Black Pink Grey Men Casual Shoes 171102-C4662Crocs Evercourt Slip On Sneaker True Red WhiteAnd why is an American soldier central to the filmmaker’s story?

GINA APOSTOL
My novels are about this idea that all of us have multiple sides, that we are not singular. It’s a healthy way of thinking, and this is important for those in power and not in power to keep in mind. I think of those soldiers as workers – also an exploited class – who do subhuman things and think like jerks, but who are also just drones. Of course, the imperial authority keeps all such positions in check, but that’s also the point, that we are all under the eye of brute imperial force – not just the Filipinos but also the soldier who has the Filipinos under his gun. I am on the side of workers, of the vulnerable; I’m not on the side of nations – or, I am not AGAINST nations, Dr. Doc Martens Brown Leather Mens Air Walk 9829 Shoes US 11 Made EnglandECCO Soft Retro Sneaker, Men's Size 41 (US 7-7.5), Brownor white soldiers, or foreigners. I am against the effects of insoluble, unjust power – which is almost always one-sided, not multiple in its ways of desire and thought. We all have multiple sides to us – whether colonizer or colonized – and I was interested in showing that fact. This is true for the Filipino woman also – she has agency, too, and we needed to see her power over others as well. A key structural device in this novel about history and colonization is reversal – and considering multiple sides of people allows one to see how reversal of perceptions matter.

FITZCARRALDO EDITIONS
Insurrecto has a non-linear narrative and as a novel could be described as an act (or product) of decolonisation. The puzzle-like structure, the different narrative threads, the multitude of voices all build into something that is both outside of ‘traditional’ (read: European) forms and also a part of it.Clarks Mens Size 10M Black Leather Driving Moccasin Loafers Shoes Square Toe Do you think of your novels as part of the process of reclaiming narratives and histories? And why did you decide to structure the book that way?

GINA APOSTOL
I’m a dyed-in-the-wool (or banig) English major, so I am hugely aware of literary history – the history of the novel completely informs what I do. So it is unwise, in my view, to say that I could possibly write outside of the European history of that form. Of course, that history does include Tale of Genji and the looping non-linearity of Indian epics (in my view), and I do include such forms in my ways of thinking. I am in love with that Heian-era novel: I love Genji, Penguin Waylon Men's Oxford Leather Black Shoes Sz 12 USBed Stu Mens Repeal Oxford Boot - Mocha Dirty Veg Canvas Size 12and I still think of Krishna’s talking horse in the Bhagavad-Gita and that kind of stuff – the way time is so different in those stories – but I was brought up, being under a colonized world, with Austen, etc. And writers like Austen and Henry James absolutely inform Insurrecto. I love both of those writers, in fact I had reread them very closely and purposefully for the free-indirect discourse form, the moves from one perspective to another that I needed for Insurrecto. The great Filipino novelist, Jose Rizal, is also in my DNA – he infuses what I do. Worx by Red Wing Mens 5504 Slip On Black Safety Toe Work Shoes Size 12 MSkechers Montz Devent Men's Loafers Slip On Leather Shoes US-8 Dark BrownAnd he’s very instructive about the use of European forms as decolonizing weapons – a lovely irony about literature is that we reuse in order to fight, and art is like that. So I do consciously use those techniques of the novel to write against the brutishness of that history of white-identity-formation that in my view also informs the English-language novel. I’m very aware of the novel as a form that has enabled capitalist-power identity-productions. But how one does that is a trip. I used these various structural ploys – the puzzle, Steve Madden Brn Leather Adlyr Driving Moccasins Slip on Loafers Size 11.5 ShoesConverse John Varvatos Leather Suede Shoes Sz 9.5 Brown Low Topsthe use of reversal, the shifts in perspective, the cinematic cuts – for play, to have fun as a writer, but also to subvert. But to talk a bit more about how that works out would need another long essay – and right now I am going to have lunch at my favourite place in Venice!

Clare Bogen, July 2019

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Patrick Langley will be reading from Arkady at UEA Live.

From 7pm. Dragon Hall, 115-123 King Street, Norwich, NR1 1QE. Entrance is free.

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Monday 19 November: Alejandro Zambra at Oxford University

Alejandro Zambra will be giving a keynote speech based on Not to Read at the Political Histories of Modern Reading conference at St John’s College, University of Oxford.

5–6.30pm. St John’s College, St Giles’, Oxford OX1 3JP.

Booking is required. More information can be found here

Wednesday 21 November: Alejandro Zambra at TANK

Alejandro Zambra will be in conversation with Adam Thirlwell at TANK.

7–8.15pm. TANK, 91-93 Great Portland Street, London W1W 7NX. Tickets £8 (price includes the latest issue of TANK and a complimentary drink).

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Brian Dillon will be chairing a panel discussion on contemporary approaches to narrative across different media and artistic forms at Tate Modern.

6.30–8pm. Starr Cinema, Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG. Tickets £12.

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I. NOW PAY ATTENTION

Once meek, and in a perilous path,
The just man kept his course along
The vale of death.

I am already at an age and additionally in a state where I must always wash my feet thoroughly before bed, in the event of having to be removed by an ambulance in the Night.

Had I examined the Ephemerides that evening to see what was happening in the sky, I wouldn’t have gone to bed at all. Meanwhile I had fallen very fast asleep; I had helped myself with an infusion of hops, and I also took two valerian pills. So when I was woken in the middle of the Night by hammering on the door – violent, immoderate and thus ill-omened – I was unable to come round. I sprang up and stood by the bed, unsteadily, because my sleepy, shaky body couldn’t make the leap from the innocence of sleep into wakefulness. I felt weak and began to reel, as if about to lose consciousness. Unfortunately this has been happening to me lately,JOHNSTON & MURPHY ~INDIA~ MENS BLACK SHEEPSKIN LEATHER LOAFERS~ 12 MMEN'S CLARKS 'DARK BROWN' OXFORDS SIZE 10 M and has to do with my Ailments. I had to sit down and tell myself several times: I’m at home, it’s Night, someone’s banging on the door; only then did I manage to control my nerves. As I searched for my slippers in the dark, I could hear that whoever had been banging was now walking around the house, muttering. Downstairs, in the cubbyhole for the electrical meters, I keep the pepper spray Dizzy gave me because of the poachers, and that was what now came to mind. In the darkness I managed to seek out the familiar, cold aerosol shape, and thus armed, I switched on the outside light, then looked at the porch through a small side window. There was a crunch of snow, and into my field of vision came my neighbour, whom I call Oddball. He was wrapping himself in the tails of the old sheepskin coat I’d sometimes seen him wearing as he worked outside the house. Below the coat I could see his striped pyjamas and heavy hiking boots.

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With undisguised astonishment he cast a glance at my linen suit (I sleep in something the Professor and his wife wanted to throw away last summer, which reminds me of a fashion from the past and the days of my youth – thus I combine the Practical and the Sentimental) and without a by-your-leave he came inside.

‘Please get dressed. Big Foot is dead.’

For a while I was speechless with shock; without a word I put on my tall snow boots and the first fleece to hand from the coat rack. Outside, in the pool of light falling from the porch lamp, the snow was changing into a slow, sleepy shower. Oddball stood next to me in silence, tall, thin and bony like a figure sketched in a few pencil strokes. Every time he moved, snow fell from him like icing sugar from pastry ribbons.Ecco Helsinki Black Leather Bicycle Toe Casual Loafer Shoes Mens 44 / 10-10.5Sperry Top-Sider Stingray Collection 2-Eye Boat Shoes Brown Sz 8M

‘What do you mean, dead?’ I finally asked, my throat tightening, as I opened the door, but Oddball didn’t answer.

He generally doesn’t say much. He must have Mercury in a reticent sign, I reckon it’s in Capricorn or on the cusp, in square or maybe in opposition to Saturn. It could also be Mercury in retrograde – that produces reserve. We left the house and were instantly engulfed by the familiar cold, wet air that reminds us every winter that the world was not created for Mankind, and for at least half the year it shows us how very hostile it is to us. The frost brutally assailed our cheeks, and clouds of white steam came streaming from our mouths. The porch light went out automatically and we walked across the crunching snow in total darkness, except for Oddball’s headlamp, which pierced the pitch dark in one shifting spot, just in front of him, as I tripped along in the Murk behind him.Lacoste black leather casual oxfords, Men's 11 (eur 46)Skechers USA Men's Broger Kenster Oxford, Navy, 7.5 M US, Free Shipping US48!

‘Don’t you have a torch?’ he asked.

Of course I had one, but I wouldn’t be able to tell where it was until morning, in the daylight. It’s a feature of torches that they’re only visible in the daytime.

Big Foot’s cottage stood slightly out of the way, higher up than the other houses. It was one of three inhabited all year round. Only he, Oddball and I lived here without fear of the winter; all the other inhabitants had sealed their houses shut in October, drained the water from the pipes and gone back to the city.

Now we turned off the partly cleared road that runs across our hamlet and splits into paths leading to each of the houses.Marco Vitale Leather & Suede Casual Sneaker Style Dress Shoes Men Size 10.5 NiceA path trodden in deep snow led to Big Foot’s house, so narrow that you had to set one foot behind the other while trying to keep your balance.

‘It won’t be a pretty sight,’ warned Oddball, turning to face me, and briefly blinding me with his headlamp.

I wasn’t expecting anything else. For a while he was silent, and then, as if to explain himself, he said: ‘I was alarmed by the light in his kitchen and the dog barking so plaintively. Didn’t you hear it?’

No, I didn’t. I was asleep, numbed by hops and valerian.Sperry Top-Sider Billfish 3-Eye Ultralite Mens Leather Boat Shoes Size 10.5

‘Where is she now, the Dog?’

‘I took her away from here – she’s at my place, I fed her and she seemed to calm down.’

Another moment of silence.

‘He always put out the light and went to bed early to save money, but this time it continued to burn. A bright streak against the snow. Visible from my bedroom window. So I went over there, thinking he might have got drunk or was doing the dog harm, for it to be howling like that.’

We passed a tumbledown barn and moments later Oddball’s torch fetched out of the darkness two pairs of shining eyes, pale green and fluorescent.

‘Look, Deer,’ I said in a raised whisper, grabbing him by the coat sleeveK-Swiss Classic Court Covington Low Shoe, Leather Upper, White/Red, 10.5, New. ‘They’ve come so close to the house. Aren’t they afraid?’

The Deer were standing in the snow almost up to their bellies. They gazed at us calmly, as if we had caught them in the middle of performing a ritual whose meaning we couldn’t fathom. It was dark, so I couldn’t tell if they were the same Young Ladies who had come here from the Czech Republic in the autumn, or some new ones. And in fact why only two? That time there had been at least four of them.

‘Go home,’ I said to the Deer, and started waving my arms. They twitched, but didn’t move. Vans x Nintendo Super Mario Bros Tie Dye Sandals Flip Flops Hanelei Mens WomensThey calmly stared after us, all the way to the front door. A shiver ran through me.

Meanwhile Oddball was stamping his feet to shake the snow off his boots outside the neglected cottage. The small windows were sealed with plastic and cardboard, and the wooden door was covered with black tar paper.

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