Revealing glimpses of the Philippine Revolution and the Filipino writer Jose Rizal emerge despite the worst efforts of feuding academics in Apostol’s hilariously erudite novel, which won the Philippine National Book Award. Gina Apostol’s riotous second novel takes the form of a memoir by one Raymundo Mata, a half-blind bookworm and revolutionary, tracing his childhood, his education in Manila, his love affairs, and his discovery of writer and fellow revolutionary, Jose Rizal. Mata’s 19th-century story is complicated by present-day foreword(s), afterword(s), and footnotes from three fiercely quarrelsome and comic voices: a nationalist editor, a neo-Freudian psychoanalyst critic, and a translator, Mimi C. Magsalin. In telling the contested and fragmentary story of Mata, Apostol finds new ways to depict the violence of the Spanish colonial era, and to reimagine the nation’s great writer, Jose Rizal, who was executed by the Spanish for his revolutionary activities, and is considered by many to be the father of Philippine independence.
The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata offers an intoxicating blend of fact and fiction, uncovering lost histories while building dazzling, anarchic modes of narrative.