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REVIEWS & what others say about...

Francisco Sionil Jose, Asia's white hope (or tan stand?) for the Nobel, has been translated into every major language, including the Scandinavian, and is, hands down, the most widely read Filipino author. Nick Joaquin, Philippine Graphic

...an outstanding saga writer. If ever a Nobel Prize in literature will be awarded to a Southeast Asia writer, it will be F. Sionil Jose... The Mainichi Shimbun , Tokyo
Considered by many to be Asia's most likely candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature... The Singapore Straits Times
F. Sionil Jose could become the first Filipino to win the Nobel Prize for Literature...he's a fine writer and it would be welcome recognition of cultural achievement in his troubled country. (He) is widely known and acclaimed in Asia. John Griffin, The Honolulu Advertiser

Sionil Jose has the ability to write evocatively...his descriptions of the rural environment have an intense glow and a lyrical shine...Linguistically and artistically he has developed his craft and is now the complete master of an American style...he is no longer an author depending on a language and psychology whose origins are in colonialism but is truly an emancipated stylist, an interpreter of character and analyst of society. Artur Lundkvist, The Swedish Academy , Svenska Dagbladet , Stockholm

Tolstoy himself, not to mention Italo Svevo, would envy the author of this story; Flaubert would resent the portrait of himself in the narrator, who tells us in the first person, never understanding it himself, how it is impossible to love another without loving, or at least liking oneself. This short...scorching work whets our appetite for Sionil Jose's masterpiece, the five-novel Rosales saga. Joseph Coates Chicago Tribune

...[Jose] never flattens his characters in the service of rhetoric...more impressive is Jose's ability to tell important stories in lucid, but never merely simple prose...It's refreshing to see a politically engaged writer who dares to reach for a broader audience. Laura Miller San Francisco Chronicle

Jose's writing is simple and direct, appearing deceptively unsophisticated at times. But the stories ring true, and taken together, they provide a compelling picture of the difficulties of modern life and love in this beleaguered island nation. Chronicle San Francisco

The foremost Filipino novelist in English...his novels deserve a much wider readership than the Philippines can offer. His major work, the Rosales Saga, can be read as an allegory for the Filipino in search of an identity. Ian Buruma New York Review of Books

Jose's collection is an incisive comment on the Philippines powerful matriarchal foundation. ...His reputation was built largely on the marvelous "Rosales Saga"— a series of novels published in the Philippines spanning nearly a century— "Three Filipino Women" represents slight shift...a contemporary, introspective, and "quieter" work, where history and politics—the manipulation and oppression of the poor by generations of elites—although present, are less pronounced. Peter Bacho, The Christian Science Monitor

Marvelous. Peter Bacho

Jose's identity had equipped him to be fully sensitive to his nation's miseries without succumbing, like many of his characters, to corruption or despair. James Fallows, The Atlantic

America has no counterpart...no one who is simultaneously a prolific novelist, a social and political organizer, an editor and journalist, and a small-scale entrepreneur...As a writer, Jose is famous for two bodies of work. One is the Rosales sequence, a set of five novels published over a twenty-year span which has become a kid of national saga...Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere, published in Spanish (despite its Latin title) in the late nineteenth century, was an influential Uncle Tom's cabin-style polemic about Spanish rule. The Rosales books are a more literarily satisfying modern equivalent. James Fallows

...I like to announce that we have among us the first great Filipino novels written in english and that the author, Francisco Sionil Jose, has spoken the awful truths and grappled with the fearful realities that centrally confront us, not in just one novel but in five books which, taken together, are the most impressive legacy of any writer to Philippine culture... Ricaredo Demetillo , University of the Philippines , Diamond Jubilee Lecture

...one of the best and most active writers of contemporary Philippine literature in English. His touch with language is rivaled, perhaps, only by N.V.M. Gonzalez or Nick Joaquin among contemporary writers in English in the Philippines and his stories are moving portraits of Philippine society. Joseph A. Galdon SJ, Philippine Studies

Sionil Jose writes English prose with a passion that, at its best moments, transcends the immediate scene. (He) is a masterful short story writer.
Christine Chapman, International Herald Tribune, Paris

One of the [Philippines] most distinguished men of letters...

F. Sionil Jose writes with an urgency that recalls D.H. Lawrence and preoccupations resembling those of Hemingway. (His) prose has, at its best sustained intensity that is highly impressive. His work is an important part of the Filipinos' search for a nobler sense of themselves.
David Burleigh, Mainichi Daily News , Tokyo

His stories truly carry the reader into the petty, debilitating, nepotistic and often nightmarish world of politics and power.
David McElveen, Asiaweek , Hong Kong

In Filipino literature in recent years, the creative work of Francisco Sionil Jose occupies a special place...the advocate of Filipino originality (he) is a master not so much of cultural as of social analysis, uncovering the essence of contemporary processes in the Philippines... Jose is a great artist...as is often the case, the creative work of the artist is broader and deeper than his rigid artistic declarations. Igor Podberezsky, Institute of Oriental Studies , Moscow

Readers will be tantalized by these glimpses of lives...Joses elegiac tone complements his narratives...
Publishers Weekly

Francisco Sionil Jose is perhaps the most prominent contemporary Filipino novelist, as well as a noted journalist, editor, publisher and political activist... Jose's writing is simple and direct, appearing deceptively unsophisticated at times. But the stories ring true, and taken together, they provide a compelling picture of the difficulties of modern life and love in this beleaguered island nation. Steve Heilig, San Francisco Chronicle

He has readers in 22 languages, with his popularity greatest in Russia and the Netherlands, where his novel Mass was a bestseller. Vernon Loeb, Philadelphia Inquirer

The only writier who had produced a series of novels that constitutes an epic creation of a century of Philippine life...a rich, composite picture. Contemporary Novelists

I am impressed with the complex interweaving of the personal and the public in these stories...I admire the vigor of the writing.
Kathye S. Bergin, Houston Chronicle

The reader of this slim volume of well-crafted stories will learn more about the Philippines, its people and its concerns than from any journalistic account or from a holiday trip there. Jose's book takes us to the heart of the Filipino mind and soul, to the strengths and weaknesses of its men, women and culture. Lynne Bundesen, Los Angeles Times

(Sionil Jose) captures the spirit of his country's sullen and corrupt bureaucracy (and) tells the readers far more about Philippine society than many, far lengthier works of non-fiction... Steve Vines, South China Morning Post , Hong Kong

If we had to choose only one set of literary texts to represent the 20th century, it might arguably—vociferously arguably—be the only prose epic of our time, F. Sionil Jose's Rosales Novels and perhaps Viajero the only sustained modern narrative in novel form, following and keeping alive the ancient epic tradition of heroes unable to achieve heroism without the active help of the community, an achievement that in small measure owes its success to its continuing the Rizal tradition of romantic realism or realistic romanticism. Isagani R. Cruz , Playwright, critic

VIAJERO...is a moving account of Filipino history and as such, a valuable contribution to the French-speaking world. Fernando Ainsa, UNESCO, Paris

By remaking the history of the Philippines, Jose (in VIAJERO) remakes the history of modernism to allow a place for Filipino identity. John McLaren, Editor, OVERLAND, Melbourne

Seldom has a writer reflected so well the qualities and the failing of his people. Francisco Sionil Jose is one of the best-known writers in his country and abroad. He crossed this century embracing the hopes and the disillusions of his land: his essays and his articles as well as his novels are inseparable from the modern history of the Philippines. Philippe Pons, Le Monde des livres , Paris

What surprises at first glance is the historical density in Francisco Sionil Jose
ճ writings, as if his aim were to write a fragmentary chronicle of the history of the Philippines. Didier Garcia, Le Marticule de anges , Paris

My Brother, My Executioner (of the Rosales Saga) stands out as, perhaps, the most politically sophisticated Filipino novel in English...
Bienvenido Lumbera, Magsaysay Awardee in Literature

The (five-novel saga) about the people of Rosales is the closest you can get to a Filipino national epic. Jan Eklund, Dagens Nyheter

Moving and richly textured, this great Philippine novel (PO-ON) is possessed of a grand, brooding material and metaphorical imanence that seems to guide all of Sionil Jose's work...the tale is suspenseful and gripping, invested as it is with an Old Testament sense of tribulation and destiny... Reamy Jansen, The Bloomsbury Review

Don Vicente' is)...accessible...vivid David Walton, The New York Times

Like Dickens, Jose is a master storyteller, breeding characters from setting and social condition. Like Donne, Jose is a poet, seeking the spiritual ramifications of his subjects. (In Don Vicente) so powerful is Jose's sense of soul that he infuses not only his characters with it, but his readers as well. The Baltimore Sun

Fascinating and worthwhile introduction to a culture and history too often ignored in the West. Christopher Atamian, The New York Times Book Review

The mere mention of his name provokes the most partisan debates, but because of his prodigious output and the singeing social and moral vision that animates his best fiction, Jose (born 1924) is deserving of the National Artist Award. No Filipino novelist in English has written as adeptly, movingly, and in a language that is its own sole, freshly created universe about the Filipino's quest for a just moral order. Jose's fiction—limn and define a shining vision of today's Filipino: a future that is more fair, more just, more caring and ultimately more creative. Editorial, Philippine Daily Inquirer

With the novels of Graham Greene, Andre Malraux, Joseph Conrad, Han Suyin, Yukio Mishima, F. Sionil Jose's Ermita is "one of the top ten novels written in Southeast Asia." Ron Rennard, Discovery Magazine, March 2002


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