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About the Book

About the Book

The Umbrella Country

In the tempestuous landscape of the Philippines, a boy comes of age in the shadow of family secrets 

"Certain things are better kept than said...But certain things you have to find out now..." 

On the tumultuous streets of Manila, where the earth is as brown as tamarind and the pungent smells of vinegar and mashed peppers fill the air, where seasons shift between scorching sun and torrential rain, eleven-year-old Gringo strives to make sense of his family and a world that is growing increasingly harsher before his young eyes. 

There is Gringo's older brother, Pipo, wise beyond his years, a flamboyant, defiant youth and the three-time winner of the sequined Miss Unibers contest; Daddy Groovie, whiling away his days with other hang-around men, out of work and wilting like a guava leaf, clinging to the hope of someday joining his sister in Nuyork; Gringo's mother, Estrella, moving through their ramshackle home, holding her emotions tight as a fist, which she often clenches in anger after curfew covers the neighborhood in a burst of dark; and Ninang Rola, wise godmother of words, who confides in Gringo a shocking secret from the past--and sets the stage for the profound events to come, in which no one will remain untouched by the jagged pieces of a shattered dream. 

As Gringo learns; shame is passed down through generations, but so is the life-changing power of blood ties and enduring love.

The Umbrella Country
by Bino A. Realuyo

  • Publication Date: March 2, 1999
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0345428889
  • ISBN-13: 9780345428882