In her first novel sinceInsurrecto,Gina Apostol assembles a vision of Philippine history from the 19th century to present day in the fragmented story of the Delgados, a family surviving across generations of colonization, catastrophe, and war.
Rosario, a Filipina novelist in New York City, has just learned of her mother’s death in the Philippines. Instead of rushing home, she puts off her return by embarking on a remote investigation into her family’s history and her mother’s supposed inheritance, a place called La Tercera, which may or may not exist. Rosario catalogs generations of Delgado family bequests and detritus: maps of uncertain purpose, rusted chicken coops, a secret journal, the words to songs sung at the family home during visits from Imelda Marcos.
Each life Rosario explores opens onto an array of other lives and raises a multitude of new questions. But as the search for La Tercera becomes increasingly labyrinthine, Rosario’s mother and the entire Delgado family emerge in all their dizzying complexity: traitors and heroes, reactionaries and revolutionaries. Meanwhile, another narrative takes shape—of the country’s erased history of exploitation and slaughter at the hands of American occupying forces.
La Tercerais Gina Apostol’s most ambitious, personal, and encompassing novel: a story about what seems impossible—capturing the truth of the past—and the terrible cost to a family, or a country, that fails to try.