Read: The Hour of Daydreams by Renee M Rutledge

the-hour-of-daydreams

About the Author

Renee was born in Manila, Philippines, and raised in California from the age of four. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two daughters.  Renee received her Bachelor of Arts in English from UC Berkeley and Master of Fine Arts in English and Creative Writing from Mills College. Her reporting on minority issues facing Filipinos was nominated for a New American Media Award and New California Media Award by the editors of Filipinas Magazine. Renee works as a nonfiction book editor for Ulysses Press. She is currently writing her second book.  Author Website

About the Book

Publisher Summary: At a river near his home in the Philippine countryside, respected doctor Manolo Lualhati encounters the unthinkable—a young woman with wings. After several incredible visits, he coaxes her to stay behind—to quit flying to the stars with her sisters each night—so they can marry. Tala agrees, but soon finds herself grounded in a new life where she must negotiate Manolo’s parents’ well-intentioned scrutiny. As Tala tries to keep long-held family secrets from her new husband, Manolo begins questioning the gaps in her stories, and his suspicions push him even further from the truth. Weaving in the perspectives of Manolo’s parents, Tala’s siblings, and the all-seeing housekeeper, The Hour of Daydreams delves into contemporary issues of identity and trust in marriage, while exploring how myths can take root from the seeds of our most difficult truths.

270 pages, publication date March 2017

My rating: 3.5 (out of 5)

My review: I received an advance review copy courtesy of NetGalley and Forest Avenue Press in return for an honest review.

The author weaves fantasy and fable into the story of Tala and Manolo’s meeting and marriage. The writing has a lyrical, fairytale quality which at times is mesmerising (“He began walking along the lip of the water, where it saturated the sand with kisses”) and the author has some imaginative metaphors/similes (“They talked rapidly and their conversation was like a dance; as one took the lead, the others were eager to follow. It was a meandering dance, circling from place to place…”). However, at other times, the language was surprisingly clunky (“Cigarette in hand, he assessed the scene in front of him with some degree of calm.” or “Your mother’s anguish invoked you from sleep, and we combined our efforts to pacify your discomfort.”) There are keenly observed descriptive passages of everyday life (the market, the quayside) but I found some of the author’s extended metaphors baffling, such as pretty much the whole of Chapter 6. The supporting characters are well-drawn and the importance of food and sharing communal meals is lovingly described. I enjoyed the story of the main characters but found that, for me, the fantasy element confused rather than enhanced the narrative.

In three words: Lyrical, imaginative, uneven

 

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