Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Awaiting Trespass (A Pasion) by Linda Ty-Casper (Readers International, P.O. Box 959, Columbia, La. 71418: $14.95, hardcover; $7.95, paperback; 180 pp.)

February 02, 1986|Jeff Dietrich | Dietrich lives and works at the Los Angeles Catholic Worker, a community that provides services to the Skid Row population. He is an editor of their publication, The Catholic Agitator

Like the private gardens and walled estates in which they reside, the rich and powerful are often separated and detached from the world. "Awaiting Trespass" recounts the breaching of those walls around the private lives of an affluent Filipino family as they respond to the reality of suffering and injustice in their native land.

The death of family patriarch Don Severino Gil is the occasion for a gathering of the entire Gil clan. In scenes reminiscent of the films of Luis Bunuel and "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Linda Ty-Casper involves the surreal as well as the poetic to satirize and criticize contemporary Philippine society.

Through the eyes of Gil's favorite niece, Telly, we see the family, especially the three elder sisters, struggle to maintain a facade of order and decorum amid the decay of martial law. This conflict is symbolized even more deeply in Telly's own life: neurotic, suicidal, creative, affluent and alluring, at once vacuous and substantial, she has wasted her days and energy struggling against the constraints of upper-class expectations, a rebel without a cause.

Now she has found a cause worth breaching the walls around her affluent life, risking both her security and comfort. Precipitated by the death of her uncle and by her amorous attraction to his son, Father Sevi, a Catholic priest, Telly experiences a kind of rebirth at Gil's burial.

Recognizing that 29 of her 49 years have been wasted on self-pity, she resolves to struggle against the injustice of her nation by using her creative abilities as a writer. "She wants to find what life cannot exhaust, and to which it returns from death; to know all the things she has resisted knowing."

If there is a flaw in this powerful and poetic depiction of Philippine life, it is that it attempts too much. The characters cry out for further development. The interplay between religion and politics, and the conflict between suffering reality and bourgeois escapism demand a grander scale. Unfortunately, this is a tiny book that deserves to be an epic novel.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|