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Extended Audio Sample Ilustrado: A Novel, 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:
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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.”


  • 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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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 "

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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.