Sunday, June 24, 2012

Spilt Milk (Book Review: Leche by R Zamora Linmark)

There is a famous desert in The Philippines called "halo-halo," which strictly translated is "Mix-Mix." It is a sweet concoction based with milk, and like the Cobb salad, is a mix of different types of sweets. It's texturized - you get gelatin, rice peal drops, beans, ice cream, coconut, and is sinfully delicious. I liken R. Zamora Linmark's novel "Leche" to it: the book is a collage of different things: fantasy, reflections, "Tourist Tips," postcards. It is also unfocused, and quite untrue. I don't buy that this book is an ode to Linmark's country of youth: I get the sense he does not even like the country, or its people. Filipinos are fiercely nationalistic, and I suspect would be not be happy with the way they are represented here. The Philippines most famous first daughter of the 90s, Kris Aquino, is definitely a mine for satire, but she gets him (and his satire of her) all wrong here. Worst of all, there doesn't seem to be a cohesive narrative here. I thought the main character, Vince, was unlikeable, and minor characters come and go with no rhyme nor reason for you to care about anyone. All, in all, I think it's a missed opportunity. 


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