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Baby Jesus Pawn Shop.

Lucia Orth; BABY JESUS PAWN SHOP; The Permanent Press (Fiction:Historical) $29.00 ISBN: 9781579621704

Like Isabel Allende who has written about Chileans trying to survive the Pinochet dictatorship Lucia Orth writes about ordinary Filipinos trying to survive under Ferdinand Marcos's martial law. Orth who lived in Philippines for five years and like her heroine worked for a non-profit organization opens her story with a night of torture and murder. Doming is not at home that night; he later escapes to Manila where he buys a new name that has no history and eleven years later finds work as the driver for Trace Caldwell an American counter-insurgency specialist and his wife Rue. In the 1980s with the cold war still hot the Reagan administration supported dictators like Marcos; they were villains it was explained but at least they were "our villains." Doming becomes part of the insurgency and slips cables he copies from Trace's briefcase to the New People's Army. He is reluctant however to take part in assassi-nation: "Doming wasn't sure if in his hesitation he was a coward afraid of doing what they asked or a good man tempted or simply made of anger clay baked and hardened to stone. And God? God must be blind what had He noticed on this dead star..."

Set against this background is the love story of Doming the reluctant Filipino insurgent and Rue the American wife. The plot is enormously complicated as Orth describes in heartbreaking detail the terror and poverty that fill Manila and the love that cannot be extracted from the politics. One of Doming's best friends is wounded and dies another other is arrested and tortured an American journalist is killed and these events lead Doming to become more active in the resistance. He drives Trace and another American operative to a fortune-teller favored by Imelda Marcos. The fortune-teller persuades Doming to write an oracle for Imelda that will lead to the death of Benigno Aquino upon his return to his homeland. This is one death that will lead to the downfall of the Marcos regime.

Love poverty mercy terror revenge the corruption of a dictator's regime the complicity of a U.S. government revenge terror mercy poverty today's world has anything in this circle changed?

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Article Type:Book review
Date:Aug 19, 2009
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