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Extended Audio Sample Ilustrado: A Novel Audiobook, by Miguel Syjuco Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (915 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Miguel Syjuco Narrator: William Dufris Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2010 ISBN: 9781400187201
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Garnering international prizes and acclaim even before its publication, Ilustrado is a daring and inventive debut novel that explores the hidden truths that haunt every family.

Ilustrado opens with Crispin Salvador, lion of Philippine letters, dead in the Hudson River. His young acolyte, Miguel, sets out to investigate the author’s suspicious death and the strange disappearance of an unfinished manuscript—a work that had been planned not just to return the once-great author to fame but to expose the corruption behind the rich families who have ruled the Philippines for generations.

To understand the death, Miguel scours the life, charting Salvador’s trajectory via his poetry, interviews, novels, polemics, and memoirs. The literary fragments become patterns, become stories, become epic: a family saga of four generations tracing 150 years of Philippine history forged under the Spanish, the Americans, and the Filipinos themselves. Finally, we are surprised to learn that this story belongs to young Miguel as much as to his lost mentor, and we are treated to an unhindered view of a society caught between reckless decay and hopeful progress.

In the shifting terrain of this remarkably ambitious and daring first novel, Miguel Syjuco explores fatherhood, regret, revolution, and the mysteries of lives lived and abandoned.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Spiced with surprises and leavened with uproariously funny moments, it is punctuated with serious philosophical musings.”

    New York Times

  • “Wildly entertaining…[An] extremely enjoyable novel.”

    Washington Post

  • “Dizzying and ambitious…A satisfying, meaningful story.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “[Ilustrado] dazzles as brightly as Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated…First novels rarely show such reach and depth.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “William Dufris performs a feat of wonder…When speaking lines from Salvador’s books, journals, and letters, Dufris knows just when to lay on an over-dramatic tone that is reminiscent of old-time radio announcers. For Syjuco’s bitter and cynical views, he adopts a jaded tone.”

    AudioFile

  • A 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize Winner

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael Lauro | 2/4/2014

    " Miguel is a major talent. This is a great debut novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Teddy | 2/4/2014

    " I have not finished some chapters of his book. I can't read it. It's a great piece of work but certainly not for me. Maybe it was written this way because it contains sensitive information. I wish I can read this book... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Michelle | 1/22/2014

    " I really wanted to like this book. I live in the Philippines, and am interested in local authors. But the stories within the story made the book choppy and hard to follow. It's like it was just trying too hard to be clever. The book received a Man Asia Prize, so someone out there liked it...but it just wasn't for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Roger Parfitt | 1/4/2014

    " Modern Phillipines as seen through the eyes of an expat. Lots of great scenes that I enjoyed as short stories but didnt quite accept (or understand) the book as one long, connected narrative.m "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mimi | 1/3/2014

    " this is not an easy book to read, switching as it does from character to character, excerpts from different writings by one of the main characters and interviews and even different versions of events. There are two main characters, the one who is supposedly doing the writing about his mentor who recently died, and that mentor, a writer and professor at Columbia. Both men are expats from The Philippines, the other main character in the book, both from political powerful families, both have abandoned daughters back in the Philippines. I think this is a good book to read twice, just to get things twice, probably a 3.5. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Glennsky | 11/29/2013

    " Wow lalim! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen Aurandt | 11/18/2013

    " Wow! Totally unexpected ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alison | 11/9/2013

    " This book was interesting and I felt like I learned about modern Filipino politics. I have to say that I was not crazy about his writing style although some parts were hilarious. I felt a lot of the book was lost of me and geared towards Filipinos/ Filipino-Americans. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rav De Castro | 11/9/2013

    " This is some serious crap and waste of time. It's like a know-it-all classmate who just transferred to your esteemed university from a small-town community college who wants to show the world that he knows about stuff. I can believe it won an award. I mean, the Syjucos have money. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vicente M. | 11/9/2013

    " I don't know why I'm slow at finishing this book? Is it because I have read it somewhere that the author is unbeliever? I'm somekind of personal when it comes to reading books. I bought the book because it's written by a Filipino and Iligan is mentioned here and I have fond memories of this city. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ramon Totañes | 3/29/2012

    " I just liked the way it was written. It's like combing through a box full of notes on somebody else's life. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mei | 9/8/2011

    " Much hyped with nothing to show for it. Pretentious. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kaisabebe | 5/18/2011

    " I didn't get this book because A. it's lyricism is just so breathtaking that I get carried away and B. it's mainly about things that don't interest me (read: feudalism, imperialism, elitism, etc) but I have to say, it's one hell of a book. I'm really proud of this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erica | 3/10/2011

    " I mean, I can't...I can't even. I don't fully understand what happened, which is what I like. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Meredith | 1/1/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book at first, but about half-way through it just became a chore to read. The somewhat gimmicky way that it's written begins to wear on you and makes it very difficult to enjoy the main story. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ulrika | 12/18/2010

    " This was supposed to be a good book. Not at all, actually. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 JAK | 12/16/2010

    " Great idea...too slow and bogged down in details...when you just want to know WHO DID IT. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason | 12/13/2010

    " Unnecessarily convoluted and talkative in a lot of places, but Syjuco is a solid and talented writer. I definitely await more works from him. "

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About the Author
Author Miguel Syjuco

Miguel Syjuco received the 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize and the Philippines’ highest literary honor, the Palanca Award, for the unpublished manuscript of Ilustrado. Born and raised in Manila, he currently lives in Montreal.

About the Narrator

William Dufris attended the University of Southern Maine in Portland-Gorham before pursuing a career in voice work in London and then the United States. He has won more than twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards, was voted one of the Best Voices at the End of the Century by AudioFile magazine, and won the prestigious Audie Award in 2012 for best nonfiction narration. He lives with his family in Maine.