Alumit, Noel, “Talking to the Moon”. Carroll & Graf, 2007.
An International Affair
Noel Alumit’s new book “Talking to the Moon” is quite a winner. It has something for everyone: the life cycle of birth and death, crime, intrigue, love, coming-of-age, mystery and above all else a solid plot that will keep you turning pages.
It is about the struggles of a Filipino family has while living on the west coast of America and tells the story of persistence. Jory Lalaban is a postman who is Filipino. When he finds himself to be the target of a shooting based upon racial motivation, he is forced to face some issues that he thought he had left behind in the Philippines. He had been raised in an orphanage during World War II, entered the priesthood afterwards and then suddenly left in order to worship the Moon and for some reason forced to flee his homeland with his bride, Belen,
His shooting became an international news item and tore his private life asunder and ultimately forced Jory to face his greatest fears. We meet in the book, Emerson, Jory’s son, who talks to his dead brother on the phone but is unable to communicate his true feelings to the man he loves, Michael. Michael is from Taiwan and his relationship with Emerson sours him on American men. Belen, Joey’s wife, claims to hear the voice of the Virgin Mary is another memorable character. Then there is William the shooter who is inspired by racism and demands to be heard.
The book is based on actual events and the novel deals with some of the hot topics of the world today—race and religion, sexuality and diversity. Alumit has written an amazing book that cries out to be read. In the fashion of thrillers, “Talking to the Moon” is enhanced by lovely prose, realistic characters and everyday run-of-the-mill events. When a shot at one of the characters occurs, lives are changed and reality is questioned
Lalaban and his wife came to America to escape the tensions they faced because their love crossed class-lines. She had been a rich debutante and he was a poor seminarian. When they are three years short of paying off the mortgage on their home, Jory is shot by a white supremacist. The inner lives of the couple and Jory’s memories of the Philippines are meshed and the shooting incident begins to cause an unraveling of their relationships. The results are fascinating to watch as they unfold before our eyes.
A lot happens in the novel but it is easy to follow and even easier to become a part of. Alumet has a knack for incorporating the reader into the plot so that he is not just looking in but can actually feel the events as they happen. This is a book that is multifaceted and mutli-dimensional. Above everything else, it is an interesting story and an excellent read.