Article and Essay

Gina Apostol: ‘Memory is deception’

Via The Recorder:

‘Memory is deception’

Story by Trish Crapo
Wednesday, October 17, 2012

“Memory is deception,” Sol, the young narrator of Gina Apostol’s new novel “Gun Dealers’ Daughter,” muses. “There’s a pall under which intentions lie, gross as an astrologer’s ball.”

To figure out how memory works is not just a passing fancy for Sol, the daughter of wealthy Filipino gun dealers. She needs memory to jog her out of a deep amnesia brought on by traumatic events she helped to instigate in Manila during the 1980s when Maoist insurgents were fighting to bring down dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Apostol, who, like her character, attended the University of the Philippines during the 1980s, drew from newspaper accounts of the time as well as her own experiences as a student protester to write her novel. She described the period of unrest the book is set within as “terrifying but at the same time, it was very exhilarating.” Apostol joined the Maoist street demonstrations because, in the face of the oppression of the Marcos dictatorship, she felt compelled to act.

“What are you going to do?” Apostol asked. “Are you just going to sit there? … If there is constant violence against the farmers, against the students, if people are being killed, it’s not enough to just sit there and read your books!”

Some of her friends ridiculed her for taking part in the demonstrations, telling her that she didn’t look the part of a radical. “It’s like you have to be a particular kind of person (to be politically involved),” she said. “You have to look like riff-raff to be thoughtful. You have to go and dress in hemp or something … So I would always have arguments. I’d also have arguments with the Maoists. I’d say, ‘Just because you believe in these kinds of things doesn’t mean you can’t read Virginia Woolf.’”

Read more. And don’t forget to RSVP for Gina’s 10/26/2012 San Francisco event at the Philippine Consulate!

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