Thursday, October 27, 7:30 PM
Location: 2001 Royalwood Dr., Arlington, 76006
Call for directions: (817) 718-2424Letters to Montgomery Clift: A Novel (by Noel Alumit) This occasionally radiant coming-of-age tale crams human rights violations, the cultural and emotional turmoil of immigrant life, self-mutilation, family ties, abortion, coming out and the ubiquitous search for self all into a brisk, sometimes jarring read. In the midst of the atrocities of the Marcos regime in the Philippines in 1970s, eight-year-old Bong Bong Luwad is smuggled to Los Angeles, where he stays with his abusive, alcoholic Auntie Yuna, who writes "letters to God and dead relatives." Each chapter begins with missives to the eponymous dead movie star who catches Bong's imagination, filling in for his missing parents and rousing his burgeoning sexuality. Bounced around the foster care system after Auntie Yuna goes to the liquor store and never returns, Bong ends up with a well-to-do foster family, the Filipino Arangans, who are picture-perfect on the outside, but harbor their own mysteries, disillusionments and shames, one of which drives Bong away from them. He finds a confidante in their rebellious daughter, Amada, and a range of opportunities provided by their wealth, but he connects with Amnesty International and holds on to the hope that his parents are still alive. The obsessive letters are a rather clumsy expository device and the ending is less than credible, but Alumit's debut is affecting enough to suggest that when he hits his stride, he will be a writer to reckon with. Forecast: Though unlikely to find a large mainstream audience, this should strike a chord with gay and/or Filipino readers.
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